Morning all.

International breaks are boring. Even though Arsenal seem to have a few problems, i miss watching them. No doubt like the rest of Arsenal fans, I’m desperate to Mikel Arteta rectify whatever it is preventing Arsenal playing much better than they have been, especially at The Emirates where we’ve lost twice. Leicester City parked the bus but even so we should have beaten them in the first half but Aston Villa played in a very different way and battered us.

As many football managers both past and present have said, the best way to put things right is by playing much better in the next game and winning. Man Utd did that as after we beat them they went to Everton and gave them a good hiding. OGS and his players were given a right verbal going over in the media as have Arteta and his players, albeit not quite as cutting. Arsenal really could have done with having a game soon after last Sunday’s pathetic performance.

Not every Arsenal is away on international duty and those who aren’t, continue to work hard in training. From Jeorge Bird:

Mikel Arteta called upon some of the club’s prospects, including Swedish striker Nikolaj Moller, who has produced some impressive performances since joining the club. All-action midfielder Mauro Bandeira also trained with the squad along with Ben Cottrell and new arrival Joel Ideho. Left-back Joel Lopez and midfielder Tim Akinola were involved, as was goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo. Catalin Cirjan, Joseph Olowu and Jonathan Dinzeyi were also called upon. First-team players involved in the session included Alexandre Lacazette, Dani Ceballos, David Luiz and Emile Smith Rowe.

One or two of them might fancy their chances of a first team call up too. It must be tempting for Mikel Arteta to dump the under performers in favour of playing the younger players who might be raw but are full of energy and enthusiasm. But of course, it’s not quite as simple as that.

Training with the squad is a very different proposition to playing competitive matches for the first team. The physical side of the game can cause all sorts of problems for a young mans body. Jack Wilshere is proof of that. I’m sure I felt little different to most Arsenal fans when he made his debut under Arsene Wenger but over time, injury after injury had a detrimental effect on his career both for Arsenal and England.

Jack was one of the few Brits who could have made it big time at Real Madrid or Barcelona. Same with Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale – he could have been a proper English legend. He was just 16 when he first came to train with us and I was like “wow this guy is good, strong, sharp.” It’s a big shame what has happened to him, I feel sorry because he could have been a proper English legend of the game. – Cesc Fabregas.

Well Cesc, the other two are Welsh but even so, I get his point. Jack was a real talent, a cracking player who had his career ruined by injury. Maybe he played too much competitive football when he was young, maybe his style of playing didn’t help but even so, once his ankles became weaker, he was an easy target. Abou Diaby suffered similar injury problems, none of his own doing and Arsenal and France were deprived of seeing him become a great player.

Emile Smith Rowe. So much has been written about him. The player who could perhaps slot into the role Ozil once played, or Jack for that matter but already his injury numbers are totting up. I think Reiss Nelson has had a few injuries too, the latest of which kept him out of Europa League fixture against Molde so as much as some of us might want Mikel Arteta to ditch the underperforming experienced players, finding the right replacement is not always easy.

I wish Lacazette could be dropped but for who? Nketiah is struggling to make an impact in the first team and Balogun would be a risk. Willian and Pepe wouldn’t be missed by me either but who replaces them? Nelson is injured, or recovering from injury. If Partey doesn’t recover in time for the Leeds game, who replaces him? Xhaka I guess yet he’s hardly a fans favourite. I certainly hope Elneny has steered clear of Salah whilst he’s been away with Egypt. Heaven forbid Gabriel gets injured, or Tierney for that matter.

A week tomorrow we’re back in action against Leeds Utd who I imagine will play in a similar fashion to Aston Villa especially as they are the home team. Somehow, in the short space of time Mikel Arteta will have with his squad later this week, his job is to get a response from his team. To me it seems like mission impossible, not because he’s incapable but as Potter suggested on here yesterday, he’s having to work with players who perhaps don’t want to be at Arsenal, or simply can’t be bothered to put a shift in each week.

Mikel is reported to have once said he wants to emulate what Pep has done at Man City. I’d imagine the first thing Pep would do is sell half of the players Arsenal have on their books. In time, I strongly suspect Arteta will too.

Finally, well done to Bukayo Saka who won the man of the match award for England a couple of days ago. How old is he?


See you in the comments.