With the season done and dusted and a selection of Arsenal players with their respective countries ahead of Euro 16, we’ve taken a look at how this summer will shape up and the positives and negatives the competition will bring for the Gunners.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), some Arsenal stars face a decent rest ahead of the 2016/17 preseason after missing out on call ups for their national teams.
Nacho Monreal and Santi Cazorla can feel hard done by to miss out on the Spain squad after very good seasons, the latter though missed a big chunk of the campaign which looked to be his best yet in an Arsenal shirt, but for the serious knee injury ruling him out.
Per Mertesacker’s retirement means he will get a full summers rest, as will Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs after both missed out on call ups for England due to a lack of impact at club level in recent months.
There is of course our friend Copa America too, meaning Alexis Sanchez will receive no rest as he represents Chile while David Ospina will be hoping to put himself in the shop window for Colombia.
But despite the Euro’s looming, unusually there are a number of positives to look forward to as a selection of stars look to rekindle some form and make an impression ahead of next season.
The new No.1 missed a few crucial matches during the tail end of the season and lacked sharpness. Beaten at his near post on a few occasions, the Czech will hope to eradicate some of the flaws that have appeared in his game while representing his country alongside soon-to-be-former Arsenal veteran Tomas Rosicky.
After returning from a very lengthy injury lay-off, the England international will have a chance to shine in his favoured central midfield role and crucially gain match fitness after missing majority of last campaign. The slight worry is of course that he slips over in the team showers against Australia this weekend and is ruled out for 2/24 months with a dislocated hip bone no-one has ever knew existed.
10 goals in 38 caps is a very good return for his country (via Arsenal.com), he is the fulcrum of the Welsh midfield and like Wilshere, will benefit from regular action through the middle to grow his confidence and rediscover his Midas touch.
The Frenchman ended the season on a high with a fine hat-trick against Aston Villa and with that comes the confidence and believe he needs to keep improving and regain the level he demonstrated at the start of last season. He is, after all, very much a streaky, confidence based striker. While we hope he won’t be our first choice centre forward come the end of the summer, there’s nothing but positives for Arsenal if he enjoys a strong tournament on home soil for France.
On loan at Roma this season, the Pole has seen his No.1 jumper handed to Cech and for good reason. His Arsenal career has not yet run its course however, and if he manages to reclaim first choice for his county we could see him return to compete and learn under his Czech counter part next season.
Calum Chambers (U21)
Like Gibbs, the defender has been unlucky not to be afforded more chances this season and has played well when called upon. More games the better for Chambers and any tournament experience will be invaluable for the youngster.
Arsenal’s Player of the Year was superb this campaign and will hope to improve on his 20 assists in all competitions if he returns in one piece this summer. He is an important player for Germany so will see a fair amount of action, but luckily Yogi Lowe knows how to manage the playmaker and has proven in the past he likes to offer Özil more rest than perhaps for others.
Arsenal’s potential new captain, or at least vice captain for next season looks destined for a busy summer. Hosting the European Champions will add extra pressure for Les Bleus, but also the home advantage which rightly sees them as one of the tournaments favourites (based on the early EURO 2016 betting lines by RealBet). With this in mind, Koscielny is likely to play a fair bit of football over the summer and for a player with a history of calf and Achilles injuries, it is a worry.
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I for one am looking forward to the Euro’s that is due to kick off on June 10th. Let’s just hope all our Gunners return in one piece, and we have at least one winner in the group. Preferably everyone else apart from England are eliminated from the group stages. Wouldn’t that be nice?