Daily Archives: September 11, 2023

International Football: Second Phase Begins

16 Arsenal players were called up for the recent international football and the only casualty so far has been Gabriel, who suffered a thigh injury on his full Brazil debut.

With the first set of fixtures completed, Arsenal fans will be hopeful that the Gunners on international duty go through the second phase of games and return to North London unscathed.

One player that is already on his way back to North London is Gabriel’s backup left-sided defender, Jakub Kiwior. Kiwior played 180 minutes in left back for Poland, starting in the 2-0 victory over the Faroe Islands before suffering the ignominy of defeat when the Poles played against Albania. That defeat has thrown Group E into limbo, with Albania leading with 10 points, followed by Czech Republic with eight, Moldova with eight and Poland languishing in fourth place with six points.

The next set of international fixtures involving Arsenal players commences tomorrow with Takehiro Tomiyasu, triumphant from his team’s victory over Kai Havertz’s Germany, which cost Hansi Flick his job, take on Turkey in another friendly. Tomiyasu started at center back against Germany and tends to feature in that position when he plays for Japan, so he can be another alternative to Kiwior should Gabriel fail to get fit in time for the clash with Everton.

Oleksandr Zinchenko and the Ukrainian national team will want to build on their great performance against England when they travel to Italy to take on the Azzurri. Since Roberto Mancini ditched the team for the oil-rich greens of Saudi Arabia, Luciano Spalletti has taken over the reins but the 1-1 draw with North Macedonia didn’t inspire any confidence. Following their penalty winning success in Euro 2020, Italy shocked the football universe when they failed to quality for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and they are in the trenches in their Euros qualifying group, which might see them fail to qualify for the forthcoming tournament despite being the defending champion.

Martin Odegaard and his fellow Vikings had some fun decimating Jordan with six unreplied goals but it’s back to Euro qualifying business when they host Georgia in Oslo. I’m sure Erling Braut Haaland will be licking his lips with the prospect of playing Georgia after seeing them resoundingly beaten by Spain last weekend.

David Raya is unlikely to feature for Spain when they host Cyprus but he will be longing to get his chance to play for Arsenal in the coming weeks ahead with Champions League and Carabao Cup football on the horizon. With Arsenal playing against Brentford in the Carabao Cup, Raya is meant to be ineligible but i read somewhere that he might be able to play against his parent team this third round, which makes things all the more interesting. His battle with Ramsdale is one I’m looking forward to in the coming weeks, but the onus is on Mikel Arteta to manage both players effectively.

Leandro Trossard will be set to continue his creative role for Belgium when they host Karl Hein and his Estonia side in Brussels. With Estonia being one of the whopping boys in the group, I’d expect Belgium to knock a hatful of goals past them, and will be hoping for Trossard to get in on the scoring act. Since he joined Arsenal in January 2023, he has only scored only twice and we would prefer him to get more.

Kai Havertz and William Saliba will lock horns when Germany hosts France in a friendly game at the Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund. Following Flick’s sacking, Rudi Voeller has been temporarily put in charge of first team proceedings, while the higher ups at the DFB will be sourcing for the manager that will take the team to the next level and hopefully go all the way in the forthcoming Euros.

There will be fireworks when Scotland hosts England, and we will be expecting to see the likes of Declan Rice and Bukayo Saka take on Kieran Tierney. With Jordon Pickford being the twinkle of Gareth Southgate’s eyes, I don’t expect Aaron Ramsdale to play, but I hope that Eddie Nketiah might get a runout to make some history for himself and his family.

Finally, Brazil will visit Lima to take on Peru and we will expect the Gabriel’s to come out in full force, but with Gabriel suffering an injury as well as Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus not being regulars, I’d expect them to get a piece of the action.

In conclusion, I’d be following the games closely and sincerely hope that there will be no injuries.