There we go again. There are many reasons why international football is disliked. For a start, it means no club football. Well, not those in the top tiers anyway. There’s the possibility of players coming back dejected after missing out on qualification or losing an international match. Then there’s that concern with injuries, which is the thing that irks the club fans the most.
Theo Walcott has been withdrawn from the England squad. Not so much because of injury but because of illness. Hopefully, he recover fast enough and could be in the team against Southampton this coming weekend. However, Walcott has been relegated to the bench, albeit for 2 matches (including England). So perhaps the impact is less than the next one. Losing Abou Diaby would represent a bigger loss given the current scheme of things.
A knock to his muscle is the official line on his injury. However, there are reasons to believe that Arsene Wenger and Didier Deschamps are in good communications with each other and believe that it is a minor concern but will err on the side of caution and keep him out of the game against Belarus later today. Who would have guessed that. A working understanding between a club manager and a national team coach.
That said, Diaby is bound to pick up a knock or two or even some muscular concern after being out of the game for such a long time. It is up to his body to adjust back to the demands of week in week out football. As long as it is a short term absence of 1 or 2 weeks, it should not be a major worry. It is still early days but a week of rest would do his body no harm. There’s absolutely no point in risking him long term health by insisting to play him. Southampton at home is as good as any games to give him some time off.
Also sounds to me as good as any games to give Aaron Ramsey his first start of the season for Arsenal. The Welsh captain is probably fit to start anyway, after his involvement in the Olympics and the current set of international games. He had a tough end to last season and had to endure a lot of unfair criticism. Some of which are justified but not all of them. Just like Andrey Arshavin, Ramsey tries to make things happen all the time but not all of them come off. When it does, it looks great. When it doesn’t, groans and curses.
I guess it would be fair to say that Ramsey has not progressed as far as we have all hoped he would. How much of it is down to that horrendous tackle from one Stoke captain is up for debate but it is a sum which can never be removed from the equation. No player can improve and progress without game time. At the moment, Diaby is higher up the pecking order than Ramsey. Without disrespecting Southampton, this Saturday’s game would be a perfect one to slot Ramsey in to give him game time.
Last but by no means least, we come to Olivier Giroud. He can’t be least because at the the moment he’s the only fit senior striker that we have in our squad. Lukas Podolski can play there but fits so much better on the left side and I’d hate to disturb that balance. This interview is a fair admission from Giroud on his current predicament. That he is latching at the goal scoring chances that he has been presented with in the 3 games so far.
There’s pressure on him and from himself to open his accounts for Arsenal. It would not have gone unnoticed for him that the other 2 new recruits have done so ahead of him. That just makes the pressure so much bigger on him. Giroud needs to relax a little. There’s little need to score the perfect first goal. Every striker dreams of scoring a beauty (no pun intended) for their first goal with a new goal. Yet, a bundled-in goal provides just as much relief.
I had a listen to the Alan Davies comments on him in The Tuesday Club podcast. While it provided a lot of comical moments, it would be a little too early to write off Giroud. The former Montpellier man has shown a knack in finding the right space and position. He gets involves in the game and works really well in bringing his team mates into the game. He also doesn’t shy away from the responsibility of taking the shot. Something which is clearly lacking in the other senior striker that we have. Time will tell whether this transfer business will be a successful one for us.
If Giroud’s fate follows the same stars as illustrious predecessors in Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry, the next opponent for Arsenal is perfect for him. If Giroud’s fate follows that of Nicolas Anelka and Emmanuel Adebayor, the midweek game at Montpellier would be perfect for him.
Way too early to write him off.