A very quick Sunday round-up for you. It’s been a busy old week and I think we need a day off (of sorts).
Bukayo Saka scored for England as they beat Andorra 5-0 in a World Cup qualifier last night. It came from a smart run, a lovely pass by Phil Foden, and a good finish at the near post. Watch it here.
I do worry about him, because he looked particularly tired during the Brighton game, and some way off his best. He went down with what looked like an injury at the end but obviously he’s fit to play for his country, so with that in mind, making a positive contribution can only be a good thing. He played the full 90 minutes too, so there can’t have been too much caution over him.
We’ve seen international managers before who don’t really care what happens to their players when they go back to their clubs, and while I might be wrong, I don’t think Gareth Southgate is that kind of guy. So, if we’re looking for signs that Saka is in decent shape, perhaps that’s it.
All the same though, a graphic flashed up on the screen during the Brighton game which told us Saka was the only Arsenal player to appear in all 9 games this season. Maybe he just had a non-fatigue related off day at the Amex – he certainly wouldn’t have been alone if that were the case. However, when you see a 20 year old struggle, after a long season, after a long international tournament (that ended quite traumatically), with a truncated pre-season, it’s hard not to worry about the load he’s under and that being the root cause.
England play again on Tuesday, taking on Hungary at Wembley, let’s see if he plays in that one. I suppose the one thing that should allow some leeway with heavy international involvement is our lack of midweek European action, so hopefully it all balances out without any major issues.
Elsewhere, Thomas Partey scored for Ghana, and a very nice goal it was too. Watch it here.
He has a good goalscoring record at international level, got 18 goals from 188 Atletico Madrid appearances, but has yet to get off the mark at Arsenal. It’s not even as if he’s getting closer. When he lines up a shot, people in the back row duck. I know it’s not the main reason we bought him, but it’d be nice if he could find his range sooner rather than later. It’s been quite some time since we had a central midfielder who could chip in with a handful of goals every season, and of the ones currently in our roster, he looks to be the most likely.
Fingers crossed that goal against Zimbabwe will see him return to Arsenal full of confidence, and he can whack one into the top corner in our next game. Either that or mishit a shot which scuttles in off someone’s backside. They all count. Then we can all get the headlines going:
Thomas gets the goalscoring Partey going.
Er … that’s all I’ve got.
Right, let’s leave it there. I think today is going to be a lazy day, with dog walking and then Playstation. Then I’m going to make some bread and possibly some pasta and cook up some kind of tomato based sauce, with pancetta and chilies, and drink some Sicilian wine.
Whatever you do, have a good one.