Anyone else feeling like you’re without football this weekend? I guess it depends where you are from…?
Being English I can’t view Albania at Wembley then a trip to San Marino as competitive football.
For a few Gunners though, this week will potentially be one of the biggest of their careers.
We have several players flying off round the world representing their nations with pride.
4 though are on the brink of doing it for the very first time.
His kicking, saves of the season, leadership, presence, mentality …. all reasons why Ramsdale is competing for the England number 1 shirt.
Even when making mistakes for Everton though, Southgate has always kept faith in Pickford, and is unlikely to change his number one now with so few games before Qatar.
If England have a new manager after the World Cup, expect Ramsdale to be in goal more often.
I do think our keeper will get his first cap on Monday though.
Qualification is essentially guaranteed with a win on Friday which allows rotation for Monday.
Emile Smith Rowe
Smith Rowe is the latest Gunner that Arsenal have produced for England.
Originally Southgate thought it was best for the midfielder to remain part of the Under 21 set up, but injuries don’t just mean he’s joined up with the senior squad, but he could now feature against Albania or San Marino.
Once upon a time the Three Lions struggled to produce technical players like Rowe, talent who can move with low centre of gravity and release the ball at the last moment.
Competition includes Foden, Grealish and Mount who all have their own fitness issues.
It remains to be seen if the English coach views CM or the wing as Rowe’s best position.
He’s added goals to his game, becoming only the 4th player under the age of 21 to score in 3 consecutive League games for the Gunners.
If his club form continues could be a huge part of next year’s World Cup.
His talent is not in question, but how he copes with the attention and spotlight that will follow will determine how far the level he reaches.
He’s already admitted needing support from his employers to manage his diet. It’s crucial he has the correct network around him to keep on an even keel.
Competition for Brazil’s defence includes Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Militao.
Zero disgrace if you can’t be picked ahead of them, but after an injury to Verissimo at least our centreback is at least in the conversation.
The 23-year-old hasn’t lost a club game since April and has been a huge part of our 10-game unbeaten run.
His partnership with Ben White has given Gooners confidence in the back 4 that we haven’t had in a while.
What’s noticeable is his leadership qualities, he’s always communicating and encouraging those around him.
He’s benefitted from Arteta who has clearly prioritised fixing the defence.
Not sure if Colombia and Argentina are fixtures to be experimenting with though?
An ongoing debate within the fanbase is whether Arteta should have given Guendouzi another chance instead of loaning him out two seasons running?
Having already warned the midfielder about his attitude his manager dropped him when his response to losing at Brighton was to boast about his salary.
Despite that his reputation remains huge in France, which it has been since he was a child.
Spells in Berlin and now Marseille have seen his talent praised but his behaviour questioned.
The 22-year-old now needs to show he has the maturity to handle the attention he will get if he represents the World Champions.
France could seal qualification with a game to spare so Deschamps could be tempted to give Guendouzi a first cap next week.
It wouldn’t shock you if he’s outstanding or equally you wouldn’t be shocked if there are issues with discipline…
On behalf of Justarsenal I wish all 4 the very best
Watch this week’s Just Arsenal Show – Video Analysis – Dan Smith rates the Arsenal players out of 10 this season