International Watch: Round-Up Of All 11 Gunners In Action


The international break never really gives us much excitement until it comes round to a major tournament, but there was plenty going on for Arsenal’s stars this week.

Despite there being several names missing from international selection, the Gunners were represented across the globe as countries began their World Cup qualification.

We’ve taken a little look at how each of the 11 players have got on during the week, with no fresh injury concerns to deal with as we look to welcome Southampton to the Emirates.

Granit Xhaka – Switzerland

  • Played Against: Portugal
  • Minutes Played: 90
  • Key Moment: Red Card
  • Final Score: Won 2-0

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It’s been a massive week for Xhaka, who after making a terrific start to his Arsenal campaign was under the pressure of switching nationalities to his native Kosovo.

The defensive midfielder was tied up with the decision of whether to play for the newly formed national side, but it turns it regulations officially stopped him from making that change.

However, on the pitch things were pretty good and Xhaka put in a whole-hearted performance to show Wenger why he deserves to start again this weekend against Southampton.

Two clumsy tackles earned him a series of yellow cards despite being given a number of chances for the referee, a red card in the 91st minute took attention away from his super performance.

Alexis Sanchez – Chile

  • Played Against: Bolivia
  • Minutes Played: 90
  • Key Moment: Captaining his country for the first time
  • Final Score: Drew 0-0

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It was a disappointing night for Alexis who failed to break down a resilient Bolivian defence during the start of their World Cup campaign.

The Copa America champions will be eyeing success in Russia following their rise to superb form, and Alexis will now be hoping to captain his side when they head to Russia.

Last night was the first time the winger has taken up captaincy duties for his club, so we can add leadership qualities to his ever-growing list of talents.

Mesut Ozil – Germany

  • Played Against: Norway
  • Minutes Played: 90
  • Key Moment: Assist to Thomas Muller
  • Final Score: Won 3-0

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It was business as usual for Mesut on Sunday night as Germany cruised their opening qualifier game thanks to a brace from their veteran striker Thomas Muller.

It took just 15 minutes for Ozil to make his mark, teeing up Muller who managed to slot home from close range, giving Germany the freedom to go on and play football.

After starting the Watford game it certainly looks as if the playmaker is back to full fitness which is great news as Arsenal have a busy schedule coming up.

Shkodran Mustafi – Germany

  • Played Against: Norway
  • Minutes Played: 0
  • Final Score: Won 2-0

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Mustafi was an un-used substitute in Germany’s victory as they go one step closer to Russia, but there were a lot of positives to take from Arsenal’s new boy.

Just being in and around that camp with players of that calibre is great experience for Mustafi and at just 24 he’s still got loads of time to become a defensive regular.

He did however start for Germany in their friendly against Finland, and kept a clean sheet as they won 2-0 with Mesut Ozil bagging one of the goals.

Olivier Giroud – France

  • Played Against: Belarus
  • Minutes Played: 83
  • Key Moment: Missed a sitter from Griezmann’s perfect pass
  • Final Score: Drew 0-0

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It was a night to forget for Giroud who was faced with sever frustration as he kept firing blanks at a plucky Belarus defence as France settled for a point.

You’ll probably have seen his miss on Twitter, and after being set up perfectly all Giroud needed to do was round the goalkeeper, his shot ended up going horribly wide.

He did have something to cheer about though as grabbed a goal to take France into the lead against Italy during their friendly earlier in the week, which they ended up winning 3-1.

Laurent Koscielny – France

  • Played Against: Belarus
  • Minutes Played: 90
  • Key Moment: Getting a clean sheet
  • Final Score: Drew 0-0

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It’s been a busy week for Koscielny, who when counting his involvement in their friendly has racked up 172 minutes from a possible 180 during international duty.

Whilst that won’t impress manager Arsene Wenger, Koscielny got through the week with no injury concerns and a clean sheet to his name.

Theo Walcott – England

  • Played Against: Slovakia
  • Minutes Played: 19
  • Key Moment: Disallowed goal
  • Final Score: Won 1-0

It was always going to be tough to get into the starting XI for Walcott, who was axed from Roy Hodgson’s side during Euro 2016 earlier this summer.

Sam Allardyce cancelled the countries friendly in the week to concentrate on training time, giving Walcott less of a chance to show us what he’s got in his locker.

He did manage to come on and things were positive, his ability to whip a ball into the box is gradually getting better and he showed great reactions to knock home a quick goal before it was ruled for offside.

David Ospina – Colombia

  • Played Against: Brazil
  • Minutes Played: 90
  • Key Moment: Denying multiples of chances
  • Final Score: Lost 2-1

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Sadly Ospina was the only Gunner to suffer defeat during the international break, but he couldn’t help but stand and admire the goalscoring ability of Neymar after the final whistle.

The Barcelona striker has now equalled Zico’s Brazilian record of 48 goals, and he’s done it in just 72 games for his country whilst still being just 24 years of age.

Ospina will now continue to work on his individual game in training as he waits for either cup action or a Petr Cech injury to be given his big chance to impress.

Chuba Akpom, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding – England

Each of these players needed some game time away from their club, with Holding set to drop down to the sidelines following the arrival of Shkodran Mustafi.

On-loan Calum Chambers managed to feature for the whole 90 minutes as England Under 21’s pulled off a sensational 6-1 win over Norway, with Marcus Rashford grabbing a debut hat-trick.

After getting a surprise call-up to the squad following a late injury, Akpom was also used with six minutes to spare in the game, he made very little impact but has shown promise in training.

Rob Holding was an un-used substitute.

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