With all the fuss over deadline day, I almost forgot there was a round of internationals to be played last night. Several of our new boys were in action, with strike pairing Robin van Persie and Park Chu-Young grabbing the headlines. Park scored an excellent hatrick against Lebanon, before RVP went one better by netting four in the Netherlands’ 11-0 win over San Marino. Follow the links for video clips.
Whilst the level of opposition has to be taken in to account, it’s always good for a striker to score goals, and Park showed his potential with a variety of finishes: a stretching volley, a powerful header, and a neat finish across the keeper. He looks like he can score all kinds of goals, which is more than can be said for Marouane Chamakh – who, at the moment, can’t score any.
As a rule, it seems our players have been more successful in their internationals than in their recent club form – and the good news is that so far I’m yet to hear of any injuries. English fans will have enjoyed watching Theo Walcott give an impressive performance on the right-hand line of Fabio Capello’s new look attack, with his driving run helping to create the third goal for Wayne Rooney. In the same group another Brit, Wales skipper Aaron Ramsey, scored in a 2-1 win over Montenegro.
Andrey Arshavin‘s impressive dribble set up Russia’s winner against Macedonia, whilst Bacary Sagna and Laurent Koscielny only made the bench for France as they saw off Albania.
The same was true of Per Mertesacker, which is fine with me – I’d rather him rest than run the risk of injury. The other two new boys, Mikel Arteta and Andre Santos, are not on international duty, so should arrive at London Colney in the next couple of days to join the rest of the squad for training.
There’s a lot of debate about whether or not Arteta can match Cesc’s class on the pitch, but he’s certainly very classy off it. Yesterday he spoke to Sky Sports News about his transfer. He spoke with great humility and honesty about his departure from Everton – it was clearly a difficult decision for him, somewhat akin to Cesc’s departure from Arsenal. Hopefully he will show the same loyalty and commitment to us as he did to Everton. You can see the video here.
The night before the senior internationals, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made his debut for the England U-21s, and impressed, setting up a couple of goals including this beauty from loanee Henri Lansbury. Now that we’re almost a week on and I can mention the game without wanting to cry, I ought to say that I was quite impressed by his little cameo at Old Trafford. Despite the circumstances he showed some real guts, going on a couple of mazy runs and spraying one nonchalant fifty-yard pass across the pitch. Although the signing of Yossi Benayoun (who captained Israel in a 1-0 defeat to Greece) will nudge him a little down the pecking order, he looks like he’s ready to fight for this place. The Carling Cup tie with Shrewsbury on the 20th looks like a chance for him to make his first start as an Arsenal player.
Yesterday the club named their 25-man squad for the Premier League. I say 25; it was actually 22. Chamberlain is one of several players who do not have to be named due to their age. The only surprise is that Manuel Almunia is a) included and b) still here. I’m guessing he couldn’t find a club to match his wages. Still, at least it means we have plenty of depth in a position that provided us with no end of trouble last season.
There are a couple of transfer stories doing the rounds, suggesting we made enquiries for Yoann Gourcuff and Clint Dempsey. I’m sure that’s true: Arsenal clearly had an extensive list of targets and had to explore them all. I don’t know about you but I’m still recovering from the madness that was transfer deadline day. There was no blog yesterday, and if it’s alright with you I might take Sunday off too. To be honest, I’ll probably do it even if it’s not alright with you, because I’m just horribly inconsiderate. I’ll be back in force next week with some in-depth pieces on our new players ahead of the Swansea match.
Only a week until we get to see the new boys in action…