Afternoon Fellow Gooners, and it’s a miserable and rainy Saturday in London today. The roads have been quite busy with Millwall and Swindon going head to head at Wembley (Millwall scraped through by one goal to nil)… but the main thing on my mind is the World Cup and the key Arsenal men who are going to the competition, what we’ll expect to see and of course, the ones to watch…
We won’t have any keepers at the World Cup and to be honest, that’s not a great thing. We’ve seen the likes of Fabianski and Almunia have poor form this season and it would have been advantageous for those two to have some International experience. For Fabianski, a few games for Poland would have seen his shake off the Arsenal nerves.
Ones to watch: Hugo Lloris – he cost Lyon £8m from Nice last summer, he’s excelled for the French team this season and may be the number one for the tournament.
We have four of our team going to the World Cup, our two full backs and our central defender (is he still ours?) – that’s Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna and William Gallas. Sagna is now officially the number one right back, so we will see a lot of him during the World Cup, whereas Gael Clichy was third choice behind Abidal and Evra – but with Abidal being moved into a more central role, he’s now second choice. Apparently Evra is a favourite of the manager, but apparently Clichy has been very impressive. William Gallas is first choice for France and I’d expect him to recover from his injury to be paired with Abidal. Unfortunately for Thomas Vermaelen, he wont be going to the World Cup – but in one way that’s a good thing, as he will be able to rest after a busy season down at the Grove.
Senderos and Djourou will be lining up for Switzerland, and it will be good to see Djourou in action as first choice as we’ll be looking for big things from him next season.
Ones to watch: Nicolas Otamendi, a 21 year old defender who is supposed to be one of the hottest properties in world football. He plays for Argentina, and can play central or left.
Abou Diaby – quite an inconsistent player for us – looks likely to be a starter for France in midfield – especially with the absence of Diarra and Vieira. Toulalon as DM, Gourcuff as RM and Ribery as LM will make up the rest of the midfield. For me, the absence of Samir Nasri is a massive shock. His goal against Porto was worth the call up alone. Just imagine if Nasri was English, he’d be one of the first players on the team sheet. Nasri is a player of immense quality and for Arsenal, his rest could help him bulk out and rest up.
Alex Song and Cesc Fabregas will be two instrumental midfielders for their respective countries, Cameroon and Spain respectively. Song will most likely play in defence, a quality of his game that is very impressive. He’s played for us in that position before and it’ll a good role for him to play more of. Cesc will be playing alone Xavi for Spain with Xabi Alonso behind them and Iniesta on the right. It’s a reason why Cesc head sometimes turns when he’s away with the national side as he is surrounded with Barcelona based players.
Theo Walcott will play for England and it looks like he will be first choice, and that will be an awesome experience for him – very much needed to help his club career. Rosicky and Denilson are not going and they both very much needed the experience. Maybe a rest will do them well.
Ones to watch: Mesut Ozil, a German left winger, a very tricky and pacey left sided player, and down in Deutschland, they have a lot of hope for this budding player…
[Update - Indeed I forgot to mention our star player, Emmanuel Eboue, who will be playing for the Ivory Coast in the group of death with Brazil, Portugal and of course Korea Republic - he is a special player and could of course set the tournament alight.]
The next piece will be all about the strikers and the World Cup… until then…