Morning you lovely lot. Happy Wednesday from a tired Gooner hurtling his way towards central London on the Metropolitan Line for an all day strategy session. Could life get any more exciting, eh?
Still, at least I’m not in Harry Maguire’s position, because he can’t get anything right, eh? I mean don’t get me wrong, the millions of pounds he earns and the fact he gets to do football for a living means I still wouldn’t mind having a go at being in his shoes, but having heard that he put in another disasterclass last night, it can’t be much fun waking up this morning as you prepare to head in to a United training ground that he probably feels doesn’t really want him that much either.
Still, he’s another teams problem, because the only issues we all really concern ourselves with are Arsenal players and by all accounts it sounds like it’s been a good 24 or so hours for most of them. Gabriel played the full 90 minutes for Brazil in the early hours of the morning, which should mean he can head back to England at some stage today to check in with the club at London Colney and see how he’s doing ahead of Sunday’s game. First ‘tick’ of the international break box. Then I read that we had appearances for Ramsdale, Rice and then a 20 minute cameo for England last night. Another ‘tick’ in the box, especially if Bukayo wasn’t over-exerted and hopefully those England players all report back tomorrow with a clean bill of health.
Saliba and Havertz lined up against each other and I’ve seen the assist that Havertz made for the Germany goal, which let’s hope gives a guy short on confidence the boost he needs. I’ve been listening to a few of the international break Arsenal pods as they talk about a few of the bits and bobs going on at the moment and I can’t remember which one, but there was a discussion I listened to which talked about whether or not he should play against Everton this coming weekend. I’m torn on it because his form would suggest ‘no’, but perhaps a performance like last night’s (and I don’t know if anything else was good about his game to be honest) will be important to help, then he can follow it up by a performance against a robust and clearly physical Everton team who will fancy ruffling a few Arsenal feathers for the Sunday 4.30pm kick off on Sky Sports.
But it seems as though both of those players in that game came through it, as did Martin Odegaard for Norway and Leo Trossard for Belgium, both of whom scored for their respective nations and again, we’ve got yet more confidence boosters for Arsenal players, so that is all good.
All in all we’ve had 16 Arsenal players in action this break, which I read somewhere that it’s the second most of any Premier League team aside from, oddly, Nottingham Forest, of all sides. Mind you they buy players like Chelsea so they’ve probably got a squad of 50 they’re picking from. But I guess the main point is that from three year’s ago when it seemed like we barely had any international players, we now have a litany of them to worry about. Which of course is a concern because it increases the probability of losing some to injury, but at the same time it is also a positive testament to the work that is happening at The Arsenal in trying to raise the quality of the overall first team squad. And you can’t argue that the quality level hasn’t drastically increased in the last two to three years, that’s for sure.
We won’t get full confirmation of whether we have – Thomas Partey aside – a full clean bill of health just yet, but when you look at the minutes of most of the key Arsenal players played over the last 48 hours, it does feel as though we look ok right now. Let’s just keep those fingers crossed though, eh?
The only player who I think most of us would have been happy to at least get on for his first cap would have been Eddie Nketiah, who has worked hard in pre season, has been in the goals, is looking like he’s in some decent form and yet still didn’t get on last night in the friendly against Scotland. You have to feel for Eddie; with any other half decent manager who didn’t just dish out caps for his mates – wherever they are playing or even if they’re not playing – we’d probably see the next generation coming through. But instead Eddie has to wait in line behind Stat-Padder-McGhee up front who is now plying his trade in the Bundesliga. Quite why you would leave a guy like Kane on in an international friendly seems a bit weird to me, but that is Gareth Southgate for you. I didn’t watch it, it’s an international friendly, so I couldn’t really give a monkey’s about some elements of England, but it would have been a nice little tip of the cap to a guy who has been known amongst the Arsenal fanbase for quite some time as a proper grafter. You only have to look at his interviews, see the All or Nothing documentary, as well as listen to him in videos and podcasts, to see that he is a guy who is a relentless trainer, a ‘beast’ as Mikel calls him, and is starting to win over even people like me, who I’ve been sceptical about for a few years now.
Good on you Eddie. Hope you get your England chance in spite of Southgate. You deserve it.
Right, that’s me done for today I think. We probably won’t get any Arteta air time until Friday so I’m going to save any pre Everton chatter for when we do. You have yourselves a good one and I’ll catch you all in the Steve Morrow.