The international break is over, and it seems we survived it without any players falling out of an aeroplane or chocking on some jagged foreign food. It’s a treacherous time for Arsenal as we have a host of international players, and it’s only going to get worse with the news that Japan and Ghana are considering calling up Ryo Miyaichi and Emmanuel Frimpong respectively. To be fair, that’s the only way it’d work: relaxed though FIFA rules have become, there’d be a few raised eyebrows at the sight of Frimpong in a Japan shirt.
Anyway, in this instance we seem to have been lucky enough to avoid major injury scares from our travelling posse, with even Theo Walcott expected to be fit for Saturday. At some point today Arsene Wenger should appear on Arsenal.com to update us on the availability of the likes of Kieran Gibbs, who will be keen not to fall behind new boy Andre Santos in the race for the left-back spot.
Mikel Arteta has asked not to be called ‘Cesc’, which for a man called Mikel seems very reasonable. I see his point though: despite being Spanish and having played at Barcelona, it’s plain unrealistic to expect him to be a like-for-like replacement. Andrey Arshavin’s comments about Arsenal having to play “different football” now that we’re without Cesc and Nasri seem to have been widely interpreted as him saying we’ve gone backwards. I don’t think that’s necessarily true. It’s worth remembering the slower, shorter passing game favoured by the two playmakers hasn’t delivered much in the way of trophies. An evolved strategy that makes the most of the blistering pace of our counter-attacking wingers, Gervinho, Walcott, Chamberlain et al might prove more productive. And, having played in a far more direct Everton side, Arteta could be a useful part of that.
“We’ve had a good think about stuff (during the break).
We’ve brought in some new players and I think everything is going to be sort of a fresh start now so hopefully we can just get the three points and build on that and get ourselves back into the race.”
I think that whilst we all have grievances about the way the summer was handled and don’t want those lessons to go unlearned, it’s important that we let go of that now and focus on the task at hand: winning football matches.
I for one will be glad to put an end to the speculation and the sniping, and get back to getting behind the boys on the pitch.