Although it is a big pain that half of Arsenal’s starting XI had to leave for the World Cup in this enforced break, especially as we were on such a great winning run, but, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining, as Mikel Arteta now has the benefit of being able to train with many of our top reserve and academy players for a while, to see where they are in their development.
So, we had our first mid-season friendly yesterday against Watford at London Colney, and Arteta played senior players for the first 45 minutes.
Arsenal first half team: Hein, Cedric, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Elneny, Lokonga, Odegaard, Nelson, Marquinhos, Nketiah.
It’s good to see that Martin Odegaard was in the team after picking up an injury with Norway before the World Cup, but it’s slightly worrying that Oleks Zinchenko was nowhere to be seen. It looks like Arteta will have to nursemaid him and Tomiyasu (and Tierney) during the rest of the season.
It would also appear that Smith-Rowe is still in rehab for a while, and I have no idea where Fabio Vieira was either.
At the break Arsenal were 2-1 up thanks to goals from Marquinhos and Nketiah, but it was all change in the second half with just Karl Hein staying on the pitch, but joned by Reuell Walters, Taylor Foran, Zane Monlouis, Lino Sousa, Myles Lewis-Skelly, Ethan Nwaneri, Matt Smith, Amario Cozier-Duberry, Nathan Butler-Oyedeji and Charles Sagoe Jr all coming on (Credit to Arsenal.com for the info), and we ended up losing 4-2, but it was a goodrun out for the lads.
It will be very interesting to see who Arteta picks to be on the flight to Dubai, but we can expect Thomas Partey and Matt Turner to join them in the Middle East soon after being eliminated from the World Cup.
It’s great that we are set for some Arsenal matches back after our enforced break, and I am sure Arteta will have everyone ready for when the title battle resumes…
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England training from Qatar, Saka and Ramsdale in action ahead of Senegal showdown
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