The international break is one week old, so we’re all probably getting a little crazy. Fortunately this is the final interlull of 2017 (good riddance!) so our suffering will be over soon.
To go along with the bittersweet feelings that the team will be in action again soon, though against a ‘top’ team, is the injury news from the internationals. Two Arsenal men are questionable for Saturday’s derby after serving their country, but at least one is coming back.
So, much like a schizophrenic off his meds, there are some ups and downs to discuss as we look ahead to the biggest match of the year.
The bigger of the two injuries affects Olivier Giroud, as the Frenchman had to withdraw from his team’s clash with Germany after picking up a knock on his thigh. Oli hasn’t been as influential as last year, probably due to Lacazette’s presence, but he does give the team a bit of a different look.
He’s netted three times this year, not his best haul ever, but did grab a goal for France last time out.
Arsenal, or France for that matter, haven’t revealed very much about the injury, probably because of how new it is, so we’re just not sure when to expect him back.
Speaking of France, they beat the Welsh 2-0 in a match that saw Aaron Ramsey line up against his teammate. Wales coach Chris Coleman, after giving Ramsey the start, then sent the midfielder back to London before the game against Panama.
This story made waves on social media, though the coach insists the plan was to always give Ramsey a rest for game number two. Speculation holds that if this was already the plan, no replacement would have been called up, as they would have already been there.
Coach Coleman went as far as telling the media, “He’s available for them (Arsenal) at the weekend“. So, this is just one of those stories where it only matters who you believe, as no one seems to be making sense.
Right now it seems Giroud will miss the NLD, unless he makes a quick recovery. Normally this would worry a supporter, but we’ve been told for a few weeks now that Danny Welbeck will make a comeback after the interlull, just days away now!
Even better is that Welbeck has had a great year so far, playing extremely well against Chelsea at the Bridge alongside Lacazette. Alexis and Ozil’s form dropping off could also be remedied by the return of the former Manchester United man.
While Welbeck doesn’t always play as a striker, Wenger does like to give him minutes when fit.
Our back line may also get a boost, as another injured player who is supposed to be coming back is Shkodran Mustafi. He hobbled off the field during the last international break for Germany, dooming the likes of Francis Coquelin to deputize.
As always, we’ll have to wait until after the training staff evaluates the players, but the team should be just about flush after the break, barring any more knocks.
Over on the evil side of North London, Pochettino has told the media that Harry Kane will be ready for the weekend, so hopefully Mustafi, if he does come back, and the rest of the defense will be in good form.
However, there is hopeful news. Toby Alderweireld is questionable for Hots*** to begin the week, so their attack will be potent, but their defense may be lacking.
Let’s not forget what happened last season when the defender was absent for his team, it just about cost them a title challenge.
With the comings and goings for Arsenal’s injury corps, the team selection will be a bit muddled for Saturday.
Lacazette didn’t get the start against Manchester City, so that casts a doubt over his selection in the NLD, although without Giroud to replace him at exactly 75 minutes he may also finally get his second full match of the season.
Ozil and Sanchez have all but checked out mentally, so that opens the door for Welbeck to make a full comeback, or perhaps one Jack Wilshere. Wenger seems keen on playing Wilshere in support of the striker, so if Arsene decides to drop the want-aways, the Englander would fit in nicely.
Right now I assume Ramsey will be fit, although the only thing we can say for sure is that if he is ready he will play, same with Xhaka.
So, the only other real question mark is who will start alongside Monreal and Koscielny in the back three? Mustafi has been out a while, so Wenger may save him for the Europa League to rebuild fitness. Then again, Mertesacker is slow, Chambers has hardly played at any level this year, and neither Elneny or Coquelin have been overly-impressive so far.
I could just see this turning into a frenzy of goals.