Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Saturday round-up: Tomi and Turner play, Partey doesn’t


A very quick Saturday round-up for you.

I’m trying to see which Arsenal players have been involved during the Interlull, and Bukayao Saka played for England last night as they were beaten 1-0 by Italy. Matt Turner was in goal for the USA as they were beaten 2-0 by Japan – Takehiro Tomiyasu played 90 minutes at centre-half for his country.

There were some quotes during the week about how he was ‘not satisfied’ at Arsenal, but I don’t think it’s anything like a ‘Get me out of here’ complaint. He talked about working harder to win his place back, and it is something he’s going to have to do due to the good form of Ben White at right back this season. This is one of those good problems for a manager to have. The choice between two excellent players versus the ‘Oh crap I have to use this guy’ when someone’s injured is far preferable, and there’s going to be plenty of football to go around this season. Tomi getting a solid 90 minutes under his belt is a good thing as we head into October.

Thomas Partey was due to play for Ghana against Brazil, but missed the game because he reportedly ‘felt uncomfortable’ around his knee.

I do wonder what kind of discomfort around the knee makes you unavailable for a game on Friday but ok for one just a couple of days later. Fair play for the precautionary stuff, but it’s hard not to be worried all the same. His injury record at Arsenal is such that when he’s fit, you’re watching the clock to see how long it’s going to be before he breaks down again, and I think this is one we’re going to have to keep a close eye on.

To be fair, having missed a month due to a thigh problem, these minutes during the Interlull could well have been useful in terms of getting him fully match fit, so it’s not an issue of him being away. Also, Ghana – fully aware of his unreliability in recent seasons – could be playing it safe with the World Cup on the horizon, so let’s wait and see. However, as Arsenal plan for the January window, I hope that Edu’s white board in his office which lists the players for each position has a big red circle around the deep lying midfield area and note which says ‘Ask Big J for some money’.

Later on, Kieran Tierney could be in action as Scotland face Ireland, Norway play Slovenia so we’ll have to see if Martin Odegaard is involved, while Granit Xhaka’s Switzerland face Spain.

Finally for today, good luck to the Arsenal Women as we play the first of two North London derbies in a week. The game takes place at the Emirates, and over 50,000 tickets have been sold, which is absolutely fantastic – and hopefully the home fans have plenty to cheer about today.

Tim has his usual match preview here, and you can find all the post-game reaction and analysis from him and the team over on the dedicated Arsenal Women section on Arseblog News. Genuinely, it’s the most comprehensive coverage of the team you’ll find anywhere, so make sure it’s bookmarked if it’s not already.

Right, that’s your lot for this morning. Have a good Saturday.

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