Arteta the Leader and Gunners on International Duty
After the long wait for some international football action, the interlull has finally come and many fingers will be crossed as Arsenal’s ambassadors strut their stuffs for their respective nations with the hope of winning a cap, scoring a goal or two and most importantly, avoiding an injury.
There’s some good news from the French camp as it’s believed that Laurent Koscielny has recovered from that injury scare and he had a full training session as well. We’ve also learned that Koscielny was injured by that goblin from Bayern Munich, Franck Ribery. France plays Japan in a friendly tonight but all eyes are firmly fixed on Tuesday’s crunch encounter against Spain.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo “Sign da Ting” Walcott will also be in action tonight against minnows San Marino and I can assure you of one thing – there will be goals, many goals. After the match against San Marino, Woy Hodgson and his English charges will travel to Poland to play the co-hosts of the last Euros. The Poles aren’t football superpowers but they’ll surely pose a threat with a certain Robert Lewandowski in their ranks.
There are so many other Gunners away on international duty but I want to focus on those sets of players that will be watching these games from their TV sets, instead of playing on the pitch.
Firstly, the injury returnees, Jack Wilshere, Emmanuel Frimpong and Bacary Sagna are no way near fit enough to play for their clubs, yet alone their countries but Arsenal is organizing some matches during this international break to get them up to speed with the game in their bids to be fully fit enough to play for Arsenal, as they’ve been missed.
Taking a vivid look at the first team, two players stand-out as surprise omissions from the international scene. There’s Carl Jenkinson, the English-Finn that has a bright fledgling future ahead of him. At such a young age, he has achieved so much and he has certainly made his grandfather proud.
However, I don’t think that Jenkinson is ready to play for England yet, and this good article by Gambino Snitch, shares the same sentiment. With so much media hype around Lil’ Jenko, it may get to his head and he may end up like the rest of the over-hyped lot that failed to make their marks on the international scene, and it’s also worth noting that these players were crucified by the same media Vultures that sang sweet tunes about them.
David Bentley, anyone? The next David Beckham my foot (-____-)
That’s why I was proud of Jenkinson when he stated that he wants to concentrate on his football with Arsenal, so international football can like to look bush. Another thing I know for sure, is that Carl Jenkinson is a thorough-bred Gooner,
The other surprise omission, is the Lego haired Spanish star and Arsenal’s present vice-skipper, Mikel Arteta. Senor Arteta’s career saw him plunge out from Barcelona’s Mutant Academy before he went ply his trade in Scotland with Glasgow Rangers. After a spell in the Northern part of Great Britain, Arteta went back home to Spain, where he played alongside his pal, Xabi Alonso, before Liverpool came calling for the football quarterback.
Arteta on the other hand, was snapped by Liverpool’s rivals, Everton, in a football coup and he endeared his heart into the Evertonian faithful notching up the Player of the Season award twice. At a pivotal stage in his career, he joined Arsenal on the transfer deadline day of 2011 summer window and he has grown to become a vital cog in Arsenal’s midfield engine.
Last season, his experience, calmness, balance and maturity played a key role for the Gunners and his absence was deeply felt when he was out injured as Alex Song had no one to cover his tracks when he made his countless forays forward.
For reasons best known to that King Cobra that died five days after biting Chuck Norris in the Expendables 2, Mikel Arteta hasn’t still won a friggin’ cap for Spain and his new teammate, Santi Cazorla, can’t understand why. I’d joked in yesterday’s post that it’s probably his perfect hair or his beautiful wife, Bernal Lorena, but the truth still remains that Spain is blessed with so much footballing talent, that there’s no space for the likes of Arteta.
Thanks to Arseblog, I read an article where Arteta and Cazorla interviewed each other and some interesting stuff was unveiled. Arteta asked his chum how he was acclimatizing to his new life in England and Cazorla said a thing or two, but my pick of the bunch remained this statement from Cazorla,
“Here at Arsenal you’re a real leader. When I arrived, I was a little surprised at the level of respect that you have in the dressing-room. But when I saw you with the group and on the pitch it’s obvious that almost all consider you the Captain. You are a leader. I’m no good at that, nobody would listen to me! But when you talk they listen.”
Arteta has responded to that by saying that he tries his best to be a good example to others and his exploits on and off the pitch has proved that. In regard to his exploits off the pitch, you don’t need any soothsayer to tell you that Arteta has played a key role in settling Santi Cazorla in Arsenal. The end results of Arteta’s good work off the pitch to his compatriot has seen Cazorla play like he has been at Arsenal for ages.
On the pitch, no one can doubt Arteta’s influence, and even if he doesn’t wear the captain’s armband week-in week-out, Arteta has been an exemplary leader on the pitch.
For starters, he sacrificed his attacking verve to play as Arsenal’s primary holding midfielder after the acrimonious exit of Song. When he was asked about the role change, he simply stated that he was instructed by his boss and he’s doing it for the team.
Theo Walcott, on the other hand, has been whining like a bitch about playing in the centre forward role, when his four goals this season have come from the wing positions.
Arteta’s newly-found defensive role has seen him stamp his authority on the middle of the park and for those that don’t know, he’s the second highest player with most completed passes at a stageering 93.8% behind the legendary maestro, Xavi Hernandez. Arteta has also won 31 tackles this season, more than any other Arsenal player and I intend to focus on the season so far in tomorrow’s post.
Despite the fact that I’m not happy that Arteta hasn’t played for Spain yet, I’m also happy because he’s going to get some deserved rest as he and Carl Jenkinson have played every match for Arsenal this season, with the exception of the Carling Cup encounter against Coventry City.
I’ll keep half an eye on many Gunners tonight and for those that can see some specific matches on TV, you can stream them from my partners, Arsenal Live, Live Football Streaming and Live Sports Streams.
Have a great Friday.
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