Internationals breaks rarely make for interesting viewing. Even this one, which concludes the group stages in Europe, only has a few games that actually mean anything, and won’t be half as exciting as the playoffs that follow. Those, of course, are being seeded at the last minute because FIFA panicked at the possibility of two of the big guns facing each other and causing one to miss the showpiece.
It has been good news on the Arsenal front though – Gibbs scored for the Under 21s, Vela scored a beautifully taken goal for Mexico, Cesc got one for Spain, Gallas one for France, and even Senderos managed a brace – the Swiss was actually on a hattrick as early as the eighth minute against Luxembourg.
Elsewhere, Vermaelen was named Belgium’s captain, adding to the fantastic few months he is having, and while Belgium may no longer be among Europe’s elite, they did manage a decent win over Turkey in his first game with the armband, and it is a continuation of the high regard he is held in – he was Ajax skipper last season and at international level has got the nod ahead of more experienced campaigners such as Van Buyten.
Gunnerblog has a good piece here on how Vermaelen is a promising candidate for Arsenal captain as and when Cesc leaves. It is early days, but I’d tend to agree that the signs are good.
Of course, being a slow news week, the media have been in hyperdrive about a transfer window that is still three months away – Cesc, Merida and Clichy all rumoured to be leaving. Columns have to be filled somehow, I suppose, although I’d be amazed if there was anyone left buying a newspaper to read the ‘latest developments’ on a Cesc-Barcelona story.
One final thing to say today, and that is to ask you to go and download the latest Arsenal FC Weekly podcast on Arsenal FC Blog, which you can get here. It’s an ever-excellent listen, and last week Andy, blogger and host, invited me on to talk about the Blackburn victory, Cesc, Van Persie and also look back briefly over Wenger’s time in charge. Check it out if you can.
And that’s it for today. Less than a week until the real football returns. I can’t wait – can you?