Daily Archives: September 13, 2023
The final set of international fixtures took place yesterday and early this morning and most importantly, there were no Arsenal injuries, which warms my heart ahead of the all-important clash against Everton on Sunday.
Despite being an injury concern following Brazil’d resounding win over Bolivia, Gabriel played all 90 minutes for Brazil in the narrow 1-0 win over Peru. Richarlison started as the center forward and continued his wretched form before he was yanked off for Gabriel Jesus in the 64th minute. Gabriel Martinelli also got some minutes when he came onto the pitch for Raphinha in the 85th minute.
England wasn’t involved in a competitive Euro qualifier, but they locked horns with the old enemy, Scotland, and I started having thoughts of Kieran Tierney painting his face blue like William Wallace ahead of an intense battle with Longshanks. England earned the victory with goals from Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane, but there was still time for some good ol’ banter as Harry Maguire came on as a substitute but still managed to score an own goal.
In terms of Arsenal contingent, Declan Rice, Arsenal’s Player of the Month for August, played all 90 minutes alongside Aaron Ramsdale, who was favored ahead of Jordan Pickford for the friendly match. Bukayo Saka got 20 minutes under his belt, coming on as a sub for Foden, who had taken his spot on the right wing. Sadly, there was no fairytale England cap for Eddie Nketiah, but I’m sure he has relished the experience of getting a call up for his nation. Age is certainly on his side, but he just has to continue working hard at Arsenal and this opportunity will come again.
To the Vikings, Martin Odegaard got in on the scoring act, scoring the same type of goal at the center of thr box a la Chelsea and Manchester United at home, when Norway hosted Georgia. The Viking drengrs opened the scoring from a familiar source in Erling Haaland and Odegaard made it two but a late goal from Dudu Zivzivadze ruffled some Norwegian feathers but they held on for the three points.
Oleksandr Zinchenko played 75 minutes as Ukraine lost to Italy, throwing their Euro championship qualification hopes in turmoil. England tops that group with 13 points, but Italy, Ukraine and North Macedonia have seven points, making the final set of qualifying matches six pointers.
Leandro Trossard got his scoring boots on as Belgium ran out as 5-0 winners against Karl Hein’s Estonia. I expected the match to be a goalfest and the Belgians didn’t disappoint. Trossard clocked in 66 minutes before he was replaced by Charles De Ketelaere.
Takehiro Tomiyasu and his Japanese Blue Samurai cost Hansi Flick his job, but the Japs continued their impressive form with a 4-2 win over Turkey. Tomiyasu came on as a sub in the 79th minute for Koki Machida.
Finally, Rudi Voeller made his first start as Germany’s caretaker coach with a win, as the Germans returned to winning ways with a victory over France. William Saliba played 90 minutes in the heart of the defense for France, while Kai Havertz came on as a substitute in the 64th minute for Thomas Mueller and created the match winning assist with a sumptuous pass for Leroy Sane. Hopefully, Havertz builds on this with a better showing against Everton this weekend.
All Arsenal players called up, with the exception of Eddie Nketiah and David Raya, got some valuable game time and built some fitness and they will be expected back in London Colney to prepare for what will be the start of two other tournaments with Champions League and Carabao Cup football taking center stage alongside the consistent Premier League football.