Morning, a very quick Interlull Saturday round-up for you.
Some of our players were in action last night. Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny played for France as they beat Sweden 2-1. As of this point there are no reports that their legs have been amputated post-game. Next week France have a friendly against the Ivory Coast and Arsene Wenger is hoping that Didier Deschamps shows some common sense and gives Koscielny a night off.
The centre-half has played almost every game for us apart from the opening day, and Wenger believes there’s nothing to be gained, and a lot to be lost, if he plays in a game that is essentially meaningless. He said:
When it’s a competitive game I never intervene. France plays a friendly with Ivory Coast in the second game on Tuesday night. I can’t see the purpose of Koscielny playing the second game, because afterwards we play at Manchester United and then Paris Saint Germain.
I guess there aren’t such concerns over Giroud, because he could probably use the minutes to get properly match fit, but depending on the news from Chile, he might well be our only fit striker for these two crucial games, so there’d be some anxiety that he doesn’t pick up a knock along the way.
England beat Scotland 3-0 but there was no Arsenal involvement. Theo Walcott was named on the bench but was not called upon. As of this point there are no reports that he got a splinter in his arse from the bench which has become infected and requires the immediate amputation of his left buttock.
Meanwhile, former Arsenal player Serge Gnabry got a hat-trick on his full debut for Germany. Ok, it was against San Marino and all, but that’s still pretty impressive. I have to say, he’s a player I wouldn’t have minded having in the squad this season, but in the end he was the one who wanted to leave. Arsenal offered a new contract, Wenger spoke more than once about how he wanted to keep him, but when a player wants out – and it’s a player who hasn’t played in over two years – the manager rarely stands in his way.
By all accounts he’s doing ok at Werder Bremen, with four goals to his name, but they sit third from bottom in the Bundesliga and they’re going to be involved in a relegation scrap all season by the looks of it. It’ll be interesting to see if the reports that Bayern Munich were in some way involved his transfer have some merit. What happens to him next summer might well something to keep an eye on.
As far as I can make out, the only Arsenal involvement tonight is Aaron Ramsey as Wales take on Serbia. He goes into the game with the praise of manager Chris Coleman, who says his European Championship performances are a true measure of his quality:
There’s not a team on the planet he couldn’t play for when he’s at his best. That’s not a biased opinion because I’m a Welshman and we all love Rambo. I’m looking at it clinically. Playing in a tournament against the top teams, he was head and shoulders above. He could play for anyone.
People often wonder why Arsene Wenger tries to get Ramsey in his team when he’s fit, and it’s probably because he thinks along the same lines as Coleman. Unfortunately, for various reasons, we haven’t see him at his best for quite a while. Injury, being played out of position, playing in a team that’s not functioning the way it should, and maybe just a little loss of form/rhythm have all played a part.
If he stays fit though, I think he’s going to be given every chance to cement a place in the Arsenal midfield. We’ll see if my theory that Xhaka has been bought as the perfect foil for him is accurate or not. There’s a reason Wenger loves him, and it’s not because of his hair or because he thinks he’s ever such a nice young man who represents the values of the club well. There’s no doubt, however, that he’s got to take his chance when it’s handed to him in central midfield, because there’s a lot of competition in there these days.
Update: Iwobi and Monreal could also be in action for Nigeria and Spain respectively.
Right, not a lot else to touch on this morning, bar the slightly good news that Lucas Perez might be ahead of schedule with his injury. He still looks a little way away from a return, but any slice of something positive on the injury front is to cherished.
Finally, a reminder to check out this week’s Arsecast, and my interview with former Gunner Stephen Bradley. Thanks for all the great feedback on it yesterday, if you haven’t already had a chance, it’s below.
Right, have a great Saturday. Till tomorrow.