Domestic football bliss is about to recommence and I, for one, cannot wait to see the boys in red and white strutting their stuff again. It’s been a long wait, and boycotting the WC was not easy I can tell you, but Boxing Day is almost here and the real, winter club football is of course no match to the average football on display in most WC games.
Arsenal’s players have come through the WC games more than reasonably well, I think. Of course the loss to injury of the (perhaps) too eager Gabriel Jesus, is a big loss to us. Eddie will get his chance and he will score goals, no doubt, but what we really need him to do is make us play with the high tempo and unpredictability that the Brazilian offered to us so incredibly enthusiastically during the first fourteen games. Is that Eddie’s game? I hope so.
But other than Gabriel’s painful loss, we may have actually benefited from the WC shenanigans in the big sandpit:
Aaron will have learned a lot from being part of the England squad for so long. He stayed fit and did not get injured. The same goes for Ben White and our French Tequila CB. They will come back fresh, rested yet fit, and eager to kick a ball properly again.
Bukayo got through the tournament uninjured and by all reports played very well. He will have matured again. Young Martinelli will have had a great experience and I also expect him to come back more mature and ready to show everyone how good he really is.
Xhaka and Partey played all available games and came through unscathed. They had plenty of rest since then, so I expect them to hit the ground running again. To have our central midfield pairing back is a huge bonus. Tomiyasu also played some national team footie and he will be ready to rock, if required.
And then of course, Arteta had the chance to rest a bit and work with all those really good players who did not make it to the WC. It is great to have the likes of Gabriel, Tierney, Elneny, the Zinch, Eddie, Vieira, Nelson and the Ode available to fight for every three points again from Monday onward. Mikel now also had proper time to work with the youngsters and let’s see who will get some PL minutes in the remainder of the season.
Finally, the really good thing is that A&E have the whole of January to seek reinforcement for our attack. Any further injury to Eddie, Martinelli or Saka would really see us short in attack, so a loan or permanent deal is surely highly likely.
But first we need to beat the Hammers and the Seagulls, on Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve respectively, and that will of course not be easy. So let’s go back to OGAAT – one game at a time – and forget about the rest. The boys are ready; I have no doubt about that. Let’s hope the team will gel really well again and pick up where they had left things before the WC.
Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!!!