Good morning to you.
I haven’t mentioned international football that much during this break, mostly because I can’t sit here and pretend I am hugely affected by it. However, Ireland losing to Luxembourg was a bit embarrassing.
So, thank you to Germany for taking the spotlight off us with a 2-1 defeat to North Macedonia. Which is to take nothing away from the players/staff of a nation which only gained independence in 1991, but a four-time World Cup winning country being beaten like that … ooof.
It also produced this incredible miss from a Chelsea player, so get your rewind/play fingers working because it’s funnier every time you see it.
Kieran Tierney played for Scotland last night. And he was one, twice, three times an assist maker as they beat the Faroe Island 4-0. Two of them were well and truly ‘proper’ assists as well. None of this playing a five yard pass to a player who then has to run 40 yards, beat a couple of players, unleash a triple-salko how-do-you-do to find space and then score nonsense.
The first came from an overlap on the left, and a cutback for John McGinn to shoot home low into the bottom corner. The second a pinpoint cross which McGinn headed home. And the third required a bit more work from Che Adams, but it was a good incisive pass which saw the Southampton man take a smart touch and rifle home from distance. Oh, and KT was playing at centre-half, not left-back. Blimey.
He also played 256 of the 270 minutes Scotland played during this Interlull, so hopefully he’ll be ok for the weekend. I know we’ve got Cedric who can fill in there when required, and I suspect it’s something we might see a bit between now and the end of the season for some Premier League games. If we make progress in Europe, we have to start thinking how to protect our most important players, and while everyone – and with good reason – thinks first of the likes of Aubameyang, Odegaard, Saka, Partey etc as key to any possible success, for me Tierney is 100% in the same bracket.
For those other positions we have options and numbers, of varying quality obviously, but they’re there. We don’t have a natural left-back, and it has to be one of the things we address during the summer.
Granit Xhaka came on at half-time for Switzerland in their 3-2 win over Finland and still managed to play 643 of the 90 minutes. Well done that man.
I also noticed that Finland have a player called Daniel O’Shaughnessy. Man, I really dig those Nordic names.
Emile Smith Rowe did not play for England U21s as they crashed out of the European Championships.
Now, we sweat over his injury. Fingers crossed.
Big news with regards to the Arsenal Women, with manager Joe Montemurro announcing his decision to leave at the end of the season. He said:
The decision was made in February, when we returned for this season, to be honest, there were some things I probably needed to resolve and look at. The decision happened in February and we decided that this was the best time to announce it. I told them (the players) myself today, just after training, with Vinai and Clare Wheatley. We felt it was important to tell them before anything came out.
It’s been an amazing journey but it just feels like the right time. Arsenal will go to the next level too, they will appoint someone fantastic and go from strength to strength.
The position has already been advertised, and Arsenal Chief Executive Vinai Venkatesham spoke about the process of finding a replacement:
We will be looking for someone who can continue to play the type of football Arsenal fans want to see their teams playing, and we will also be looking for somebody who will really respect the values of the club and be a positive ambassador for Arsenal both on the pitch and off the pitch.
Joe led the team to a Super League title in 2019, and a cup final win, and I know that during his time in charge he’s been really helpful and open with Tim Stillman whose coverage of the women’s team has really been outstanding over on Arseblog News.
So thank you, Joe, and the best of luck with whatever comes next.
Not a lot else happening, but if you haven’t already read Ian Wright’s letter to David Rocastle on the 20th anniversary of his passing, you need to do that asap.
Mikel Arteta meets the press this morning as attention now shifts to Saturday evening’s visit of Liverpool to the Emirates. This is always a big game, and even if both sides Premier League campaigns have been relatively disappointing, the respective European commitments won’t take the edge off this one.
We’ll have all the team news and other stories on Arseblog News, and I’ll be back with more here tomorrow, including a brand new Arsecast.
Until then, take it easy.