Alexis finally gets a rest + Christmas Eve fixture looks more likely

When Arsenal signed Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona in 2014, it was after a long season at Barcelona and a World Cup summer which saw Chile reach the Round of 16.

The following year he went all the way with his country to win the Copa America, and in 2016 there was centenary Copa America that saw Chile retain the trophy. This summer just gone he played in the Confederations Cup, reaching the final but losing 1-0 to Germany.

So, it’s kinda ironic, that next summer he’ll be free and easy, with no summer commitments, after Chile failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia. We all know his contract is running out next June, so wherever he ends up when he leaves on a Bosman his new club will have the benefit of a well-rested (for once) Alexis Sanchez – something Arsenal never had the good fortune of for the duration of his career in North London.

It’s just so typical that if it came to life it would be a person called Bob Typical who would do exactly what you expect him to do in every situation. And you’ve got to wonder how it’s going to affect him. The idea of some weeks without competitive football will probably drive him absolutely nuts and, as we touched on yesterday, players who are as hugely invested in their national sides can take a while to get over stuff like this.

It might also be a case that training is a bit awkward, because despite losing to Brazil, Chile would have gone into the playoffs if not for a bizarre Peru goal. A goal scored against Colombia, with David Ospina in goal. The Arsenal goalkeeper was facing an indirect free kick in the 76th minute, their fella put it on target but it the goal wouldn’t have stood without a completely unnecessary touch from Ospina. See below.

Maybe it was simply his goalkeeping instincts kicking in, but had he just let the ball go into the net it wouldn’t have counted, and if Peru had failed to score then Chile would have still had a World Cup chance. The fact that Colombia have qualified will ensure that Ospina probably doesn’t care – despite a pretty terrible international break – but you can’t help but wonder what Sanchez will be thinking.

Will he like it, or shwoar it? That is the big question. I suspect he’ll be more focused on what his own side failed to do during qualification, to be fair.

In Europe, Olivier Giroud scored to ensure France’s qualification, while Switzerland become the first ever country to win 27 points in a group and not qualify automatically. They go into the playoffs which take place in November, after a run of seven Arsenal games in the next three weeks.

So, now the players return, they’ll be assessed in terms of their fitness, general mood (Sanchez and Ramsey to spend two hours each day with comfort dogs), and the manager will have to pick his team for Saturday’s early evening trip to Watford. More on that in the days ahead.

Speaking of the days ahead, we’re still awaiting confirmation of what’s going to happen with the Arsenal v Liverpool fixture scheduled for December 23rd but which Sky want to show on Christmas Eve. There’s been something of an update via the FSF (Football Supporters Federation). With fans from all clubs represented, the Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore made a commitment that there would not a be 4pm kickoff on Christmas Eve, which I think tell us what we need to know.

I now fully expect the game to take place on the 24th, sometime earlier in the day, despite the fact it’s not what fans of either team want, nor should they have to be asked to make that kind of a choice in my opinion (on that there’s more from Daniel Storey on Football 365 which is worth a read).

I think it’s a terrible idea, for fans who go to games and for fans around the world. When you take into account time zones, and the fact that the 24th is the day on which Christmas is celebrated in some countries, it’s also a terrible idea for television ratings. I think we might see a backlash, even more empty seats, and low ratings, but we won’t know until October 19th when the picks for December are released.

It will then take a further week to make a final decision on the Christmas Eve games, which is just another show of contempt for fans when they could every easily use some common sense decision, and give everyone plenty of time to organise themselves at what is a very busy time of the year. Anyway, let’s see what happens, but I’m fearing the worst at this point.

So, the players will filter back, we can start to concentrate on Arsenal again, and there’s plenty ahead of us in the next few weeks as the fixture list shows. We should get some clarification on Mustafi’s injury before the weekend, and hopefully there haven’t been any other aches, strains, niggles, tweaks or wrenched gooches that we don’t know about.

Finally for today, in news that will please some of you, we have comments back on the site. It’s not the arses, but it’s still a place to discuss all the blogs and whatever else springs to mind. The comments form is below each post, so have at it.

I have to go buy a fridge today. Have a good one.

48 COMMENTS

  1. Congrats blogs. Half bread and all that, at least we have somewhere to whinge and moan if Watford repeats the heroics of last season (God please no!). As for Alexis and his failure to qualify for Russia, I honestly don’t give a rat’s ass. I simply celebrate the goal when he scores or assists these days, unlike in the past when I took him as one of us. As for Ozil; couldn’t care less if his contract is cancelled outright by “mutual consent”. I’m much more sympathetic to Ramsey instead as he still represents the future.

    On a side note, with Mane hamstrung, we might get to see Ox create a goal for Rashford with a silly dribble and a fast counter attack!

  2. I find the way Usmanov is being portrayed a bit weird. I think we all know the issues with regards to sources of income… That’s the case for the vast majority.

    The current cunt is a donor for a supremacist ffs.

    The issue is who who would invest. Who would take a active role. Their is only one winner.

    “We don’t know that”

    What we do know is that Stan won’t invest a fucking penny. That’s the only certainty.

    Good Morning. Bring back the arses.

  3. If Sky do go ahead they should do the honourable thing and refund the ticket cost of this particular game to all the season ticket holders who decide that Christmas with the family is a bit more important than Sky’s short sightedness and greed and choose to stay home.

    Honourable? What the hell am i talking about? Sorry folks having a moment!

  4. ‘Difficult to know how Sanchez is gonna react to not making it to Russia next year. Will he throw an almighty season-long strop, or knuckle down and try to help us achieve something -as he’ll have nothing to look forward to ,football wise, in the Summer?

    As much as I’m aggrieved at their departure in the Summer. We need Ozil and Sanchez on-board for us to make top 4 and or win the Europa cup.

  5. Poor Ospina, he must have forgotten that the free kick was indirect, perhaps his Goalkeeping Coaches should explain the difference to him between direct and indirect kicks. He should have used Superglue on his Gloves, he can then change Gloves after the goal was disallowed.

  6. Andrew, Ospina dived for the ball because it toched James’ head before. That’s why the referee counted the goal in the first place.

  7. Glad to join this conversation. Nice work Blogs. I sure hope we are able to hold on to Sanchez though! He is so vital. Imagine his contribution to the team when well rested. But I guess that’s a long shot. I feel for other fans, but for me, an Arsenal match any time/day/month of the year is an absolute must watch for me. My sympathies though for other fans and the players. So 24th or 25th really doesn’t bog me as long as it’s an Arsenal match. Arsenal rocks in Nigeria!

  8. Andrew
    Being an everyday follower of your blog (thank you!) and a Colombian national I just came here to touch on a couple of things. The entire nation was not happy with Ospina goalkeeping for last week’s game against Paraguay. He is the best of the bunch for us and usually has very good games whenever he wears that national jersey. Now having said that and watching last night’s game on both Peruvian and Colombian streams and seeing the punditry after the game, it has been determined by the referee himself that on that free kick the ball touches a Colombian player’s hair (James Rodriguez’) on the way in (before Ospina tries to save it). I’m glad that you mentioned goalkeeping instincts because what is a keeper there to do? Had he not try to save it he would’ve looked as an idiot for staying put.
    Blogs, I know I get it you and James were never too fond of Ospina signing especially as y’all’s favorite left this past summer, I know that Ospina has had some iffy moments while wearing the prestigious Arsenal Jersey but sometimes we need to take a different perspective and not see things with our favorite or hate/dislike tinted glasses. There is no need to put more gasoline to the fire and lest we forget that South American qualifiers go on for 3 years at a very competitive level and the standings at the end are a result of what you did/didn’t do during that time and not because someone made a mistake. Quite honestly Chile has been playing very bad and should’ve never been up there or near qualifying if it wasn’t for the 3 points they robbed Bolivia off through litigation.

  9. A serious question:

    How do players (and we as viewers) know when a free kick is ‘direct’ or ‘indirect’? I’ve always assumed that when a free-kick is awarded, the free-kick taker is allowed to take it as he pleases. What are the rules on this?

    • The referee is supposed to raise his/her arm in the air to indicate an indirect freekick has been awarded, lowering it once the ball is played/touched by another player. Can’t say I’ve ever seen this happen in a ‘real’ game but that’s what they taught us in referee class.

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