From a fan perspective, I didn’t mind the idea of a Winter World Cup and would be open to FIFA hosting another edition at this time of the year.
It’s a nice halfway break in the domestic campaign and I like the idea of after an international tournament having Xmas and lots of football to look forward too.
That’s better than watching England get eliminated in the summer and having weeks left till preseason even starts.
Best of all the big names didn’t show up complaining of being tired after a gruelling season, or rusty because they hadn’t played since their season ended.
Players took their form for their clubs and translated it over to their nation the next week.
Is it a coincidence that Messi and Mbappe were so good considering how they started the campaign with PSG?
Only time will tell how the Prem being put on pause for a month will impact certain teams?
Will it upset momentum or was it a good time for a rest?
Will players come back confident or having lost their mojo?
I looked at each Gunner who went to Qatar and scored them out of 10 to see what shape physically and mentally they might be on their return
England – Ramsdale might be quietly disappointed Southgate is staying as manager because I maintain there are other coaches out there who would rate our keeper better then Pickford?
Played his part though in maintaining a decent spirit in the squad with his presence on social media.
Ben White left after the Group stage due to personal reasons.
Unless we switched to a back 5 our defender wouldn’t have started any matches anyway.
For decades we have been used to English players scared to wear the shirt, almost like the fear of failure cripples them.
Too many tournaments we observe English talent fail to produce their club form on the international stage.
Saka though was fearless, always direct, always running at his man.
You could argue he was more clinical in Qatar then at any point this season?
Scored twice against Iran and against Senegal.
Scared the French, winning a pen In the process, the one player not afraid to take on his man.
Kept the likes of Foden, Rashford, Sterling and Grealish on the bench at various times.
His momentum could carry over to the domestic campaign.
Matt Turner – USA – 7
The only goal the Americans conceded in the Group stages was a penalty.
Not conceding from open play and 2 clean sheets is a job well done for our keeper.
That’s multiple clean sheets for the US at a World Cup for the first time since 1930.
I can’t score him higher, simply because he didn’t actually have a lot to do in the USA’s first three fixture.
Shamefully that’s a sad reflection on Wales and England who managed both only 3 shots on targets against USA, while Iran just the one.
Still, that’s a test of a goalie’s concentration when they have so little to do for long periods.
More than a capable deputy if anything happened to Ramsdale.
Saliba – France – 5
I’ll give our defender a standard 5 as he came on after an hour against Tunisia, that game being his only minutes of the World Cup, so harsh to really judge either way.
At that point France were chasing an equaliser so didn’t need to do a lot of defending.
The 21-year-old might be disappointed to be so low in the pecking order with his national side.
Even having already qualified, Deschamps didn’t trust the centreback like he did other youngsters.
Trained with world class players for the last month and will be better for the experience.
No reason he can’t play on Boxing Day though.
Xhaka – Switzerland – 6
Loses a mark for the manner of how his nation exited the competition.
Used all his experience in the group stage often assisting the assis,t if that makes sense?
Would pick the ball up and spot the creative player who would then find the striker.
Range of passing superb, although still in his old role, not the one that has worked so well for the Gunners this season.
For over 80 minutes, organised his team to frustrate Brazil.
The Swiss have so much know how, their game management is superb.
That’s what made their last 16 thrashing so unexpected, such an organised unit conceding 6.
There is pressure for him to have his captaincy removed after provoking the Serbian bench by grabbing his groin, and post-match wearing the name Jashari on the back of his shirt.
Adem Jashari is the founder of a Kosovo Albania separatist group which fought for independence from the then Yugoslavia.
The 30-year-old of Albanian heritage linked to Kosovo denied this was a political statement.
He had been warned about his actions in the last World Cup when he faced Serbia and made an Eagle gesture towards Serbian fans in reference to the Albania flag.
The consensus is as the man with the armband, this moment shouldn’t be recurring.
Martinelli – Brazil – 5
Got 3 minutes against Serbia, 18 against Korea and played the entire 90 against Cameroon.
Brazil were already qualified by the time Martinelli made his only start meaning they played their fringe players.
There wasn’t much cohesion with the South American’s relying on moments of magic from individuals.
The 21-year-old looked the most likely and in general has excited his nation with his explosiveness and direct running.
When it counts though, he was not trusted.
Neymar, V Junior, Richarlison. Anthony, Jesus, Pedro, Rodrigo, Raphinha, are all ahead of him as attacking options.
Jesus – Brazil – 4
Like Martinelli the Cameroon game was the perfect match for Jesus to prove himself to Tite.
Instead, he would suffer an injury that would send him home early.
In those 60 minutes though, as well as two sub appearances, there wasn’t the same intensity and energy we see from him at the Emirates.
That’s led to speculation that he was being asked to play despite a known issue with his knee.
His now ex-international boss has called this ‘fake news’.
To clarify two thirds of the Gunners attack can’t get into Brazil’s first 11 but Gooners think Mbappe can’t get into our team?
That’s the same Mbappe who’s got more goals this World Cup then Jesus has for the entire season?
Partey – Ghana – 4
Given that he’s been in his best form for the Gunners, Partey’s performances at this World Cup were not what was expected, his passing stats poor.
He’s been heavily criticised back in Ghana, not helped by his decision to swap with Suarez.
Tomiyasu – Japan – 5
Described his own performance against Croatia a ‘disaster’.
Slightly harsh on himself but clearly wanted to make up for lost time with muscular issues, meaning he didn’t start in the Group stages.
As a sub he helped defend leads against Spain and Germany which lead to famous wins but by his demeanour, you sense never felt fit?
Comments suggest he feels that he missed out on a historic tournament for his nation where he couldn’t quite contribute?
Glad he reconsidered taking a break and joined up with the Gunners in Dubai.
A ‘rest’ after playing once would not have gone down well.
Feel free to leave your scores in the comments
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