Good day to all. Guess we start with a round up of the games where Gunners were involved in yesterday.
Santi Cazorla played 26 minutes in Spain’s win over Georgia.
Olivier Giroud played 61 minutes in France’s win over Belarus.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played 69 minutes in England’s draw with Ukraine.
Thomas Vermaelen played 90 minutes in Belgium’s draw with Croatia.
Lukas Podolski played 15 minutes in Germany’s win over Austria.
Johan Djourou played 90 minutes in Switzerland’s win over Albania.
Aaron Ramsey played 90 minutes in Wales’ loss to Serbia.
This round of internationals completed and all the players should be heading back to their respective clubs. The good news for us is that none of these players who played as well as those that didn’t make it to the field, are reported to be injured. All except for Theo Walcott whom we already know is recovering from illness. Vermaelen, Ramsey and Djourou are the ones that played the most. All 3 clocking 180 minutes of game time since last Friday. The latter duo have not started any games for us yet, for this season but Vermaelen is the captain and has played in all 3 league games.
The question is whether the Belgian should get some rest. The rest here being time on the bench in this weekend’s clash against Southampton. Without disrespecting the Premier League newcomers but we should still be able to beat them and hold the fort at the same time without the services of Vermaelen. Per Mertesacker played the full 90 minutes on Friday but missed out last night. You put that together with Laurent Koscielny only training with the French team and we’ve got able replacements. It’s not like the duo have not played together in a partnership.
For the early parts of last season, they have played together and gelled. It would not be testing new waters to put line them up on Saturday. On one hand, it gives Vermaelen to rest and recover from the bruises and knocks. On the other hand, it provides some match fitness and sharpness opportunity for Koscielny who only had a couple of minutes this season in that win at Anfield. It may not make sense to start thinking about resting players just 3 games into the season but since we have the option, I don’t see why not.
Another man who didn’t played much last night was Cazorla. His latest interview highlights just how happy he is to be with us. I hate to give sweeping statements before the season is even a quarter of the way through but we have in our locker, the best transfer business of the season. The little Spaniard is a genius on the ball with the vision to match. Keeping him fit for the majority of the season, if not all, will make a massive difference to our season.
It is as if we haven’t been appreciative enough of the contributions of Mikel Arteta, Cazorla’s interview served to further increase that appreciation level. The older and more experienced Spaniard is on hand to dish out advices and guidances. The appreciation isn’t just with us as Cazorla is also full of praise for his compatriot’s performances thus far.
Finally, a little bit on the UEFA. Arsenal will be given €1,694,470 by UEFA for releasing out players for the European Championships. This is in line with the new memorandum signed between the European governing body and the individual football clubs. The number pales in comparison with what Bayern Munich will get but that is because they have more players in the latter stages of the competition than us. It is not a big sum in today’s standard but it’s better than nothing.
Yet, that wasn’t the only good news coming out from UEFA. We also see the first result of the Financial Fair Play Regulations. 23 clubs are being investigated for overdue payables towards other clubs, and/or towards employees or social/tax authorities. That means some wages are not paid and also some transfer fees are not paid. For right now, UEFA are only withholding their prize money from season 2011/12 but no other sanctions have been handed down.
It doesn’t seem much but it’s a start nonetheless. A lot of clubs depends on the payment from UEFA over their European cups participations and without it, it is a big dent into their budget. Even at Arsenal, we constantly talk about qualifying for the Champions League because of the money it brings into the club. We’ll have to see further on how the rest of the regulations are being implemented and checked. Like I said, good start.
That’s all for today. Back to club football.