Sure, the statement in the headline might be a bit of an exaggeration but here we are, halfway through the international break and I am yet to break a sweat. There was a little bit of tenseness in the stomach upon hearing the news of Bacary Sagna’s hamstring tweak but aside from that, nada.
With just nine Arsenal first-team regulars on international duty and heavyweights like Cesc Fabregas, Thomas Vermaelen and Robin van Persie sitting in bubble wrap at home, this international break has been less stressful than any other I can recall since the start of the Arsenal FC Blog.
What’s more, the extra rest and recuperation given to the injured players who have stayed in London means our squad will be in good shape come Birmingham in a week’s time and in arguably the best shape it has been in so far this season when we travel to Manchester City a week later. By then Fabregas and Vermaelen should be back while van Persie, Walcott, Gibbs and even Nicklas Bendtner will be knocking on the door.
It is not uncommon for twenty Arsenal players to go out on international duty, with Manuel Almunia and Denilson usually left behind, but this time things are different. Leaving aside the injured players our two first-choice goalkeepers have stayed in London, as have all of our central defenders. Alex Song has not traveled, Carlos Vela has not traveled and it all leads to a fresher-than-usual squad in a week’s time.
For the players who did travel the results have been spectacularly positive.
Rosicky’s Czech Republic edged Scotland 1-0. Arshavin captained Russia to a 3-2 win in Ireland. Nasri, Clichy, Diaby and Sagna’s France beat Romania 2-0. Eboue and his Ivory Coast buddies won 1-0 in Burundi. Chamakh’s Morocco beat Tanzania 1-0. Even Jack Wilshere and Henri Lansbury’s England U21 side beat Romania 2-1.
In other words: every single Arsenal player on display this week has been part of a victorious side.
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