With the international break finally over, we have the pleasure of returning to proper football this weekend. Arsenal take on Hull at the Emirates stadium in what should theoretically be three points in the bag.
Before normal service resumes however, I’m going to take a quick look at how some of our Gooners did across the globe while playing for their countries.
We’ll get the bad news out of the way first. Mesut Özil has picked up an injury that will most likely see him miss three months of action, while reports today also suggest that Tomas Rosicky could be set for a spell on the sidelines. Laurent Koscielny was also sent home from France duty with an injury, but is expected to be fit for this weekends game.
With the inevitable injury news out of the way, there are a lot of positives that can be taken from the international break, and we’ll kick off proceedings with a look at our English players.
Two slick, creative performances against San Marino and Estonia saw Jack Wilshere claim back-to-back man of the match awards, which he thoroughly deserved.
The ankle injury that hampered his career for years seems to finally be behind him and he is showing glimpses of the player we all know he can be. Jack took control of the midfield over the two games, combining his energy, vision and pinpoint execution. If Wayne Rooney hadn’t have been so wasteful in front of goal, Jack could have clocked three or four assists for his country.
Danny Welbeck continued his good form against San Marino, bagging another goal to help England secure a 5-0 victory and claim his third goal in two Euro qualifying games. He would have hoped to have grabbed a couple more against Estonia, but failed to have any real impact on the game. He picked up a knock in the latter stages of the Estonia match, but should be fit to start against Hull at the weekend.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain provided more cause for celebration following his introduction to the San Marino game in the second half. He made an instantaneous and noticeable difference to the team, increasing the tempo of the match and setting up Welbeck’s goal. He could have added a second assist when his long-range shot deflected off of Adam Lallana and went in, but Lallana was wrongly ruled offside.
To finish our England round up we look to the defence, where Kieran Gibbs was handed another chance to prove himself at international level and Calum Chambers was handed his first two caps.
Gibbs looked, calm, composed and certainly staked his claim for a place in the England back line. He wasn’t offered much of a challenge defensively, but going forward he looked bright and ambitious.
Calum Chambers took a lot of criticism for his two performances and although I feel a lot of it was unwarranted, he didn’t have the best games of his career. However, he is 19 years old and has only just started to become a first team regular in the Premier League. To write him off at this stage would be foolish. He is young and has already shown at Arsenal that he has bags of potential. He’ll be in the England team for years to come.
On to Poland now where Wojciech Szczesny took up his usual place as the Polish number one. The Poles enjoyed a historic win over their German rivals, with Szczesny keeping a clean sheet to help them overcome the Germans 2-0.
Poland had never beaten Germany before, and with the Germans on a 33 game unbeaten run in the qualifiers on top a World Cup win three months ago, Szczesny will be in great spirits when he returns to North London.
Representing a part of a South American contingent, Alexis Sanchez put in an impressive display against Peru. The new £35million Arsenal man got one assist and had a key part in creating another goal. In the latter stages of the game Alexis almost managed to force his way on to the score sheet when his free kick hit the woodwork.
Although he didn’t manage to score, he did manage to humiliate the Peruvian defence with some magical footwork, which I’m sure Arsenal fans will see a lot more of in the future.
Let’s hope the players bring their form home with them and put in a winning performance in the Premier League this weekend.