For Arsenal, the international break may have come at the wrong time. It interrupted a good run in form for the Gunners, having taken two 2-0 wins, one in the Champions League and on in the Premier League.
However, fans will be encouraged to see how well the players performed for their nations.
Nine Gunners were called up to their international squads, three of which managed to find the net for their countries.
French striker, Olivier Giroud, scored the opener against Georgia. This match marked Giroud's 16th appearance and third goal with the French national team since his debut in 2011.
The goal came during stoppage time in the first half. Giroud headed home a free kick from Mathieu Valbuena just moments before the whistle for halftime. Valbuena went on to make it 2-0 only two minutes into the second half and Franck Ribery converted in the 61st minute. The match ended 3-1, with Georgia finally scoring in the 71st minute.
Wales triumphed against Scotland in a 1-2 win amidst a snowstorm in Glasgow. Grant Hanley struck first for Scotland, but Wales scored twice in just 90 seconds. The first Welsh goal came near the 72nd minute, when Aaron Ramsey smashed in a penalty into the middle of Allan McGregor's net. The penalty was awarded after Robert Snodgrass was sent off for a pointless challenge on Chris Gunter.
Soon after, Hal Robson-Kanu scored his first international goal for the Welsh side. Aaron Ramsey was later shown a red card after hauling James McArthur to the ground.
Oxlade-Chamberlain received his tenth international call up this week. The young Arsenal winger, having already hit the crossbar early on, fired in a second shot in the 28th minute, which found the net.
After ‘The Ox’ expertly put the ball in its place, the goals kept coming for England, resulting in an 8-0 win. Jermaine Defoe scored twice, once in the first half and once in the second. Ashley Young scored a cracker in the 39th minute, followed by Frank Lampard in the 42nd, Wayne Rooney in the 54th, and Daniel Sturridge in the 70th. Even still, England continued to press the opposition. Joe Hart might as well have had a deck chair to sit on, as he remained stationary for the majority of the match.
Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker
Per Mertesacker started for the Germans against Kazakhstan. Lukas Podolski started the match on the bench, but was brought on for Julian Draxler in the 19th minute. The Germans scored three times against struggling Kazakhstan. The first two goals came in the first half, with midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gotze both scoring. Later, Thomas Muller made it 3-0 with a goal only 16 minutes from full time.
The Spanish were unfairly held to a 1-1 draw with Finland. Santi Cazorla started the match in midfield, but was subbed off at half time for Pedro Rodriguez. Cazorla played an integral role in the first half, becoming a midfield playmaker for Spain as the team created wave after wave of attack. After half time, Sergio Ramos scored a neat header, marking his 100th cap for the country. Had it not been for a late equalizer from Finland, Spain would've sat comfortably atop their group.
Szczesny remained an unused substitute in Poland's match against the Ukrainians. In one of the more surprising matches of the international break so far, the Ukrainian scored three times against the Polish, securing a 3-1 victory. Poland's only goal came from Lukasz Piszczek in the 18th minute.
Vermaelen led the Belgian national side against Macedonia in the absence of Vincent Kompany. He played the entirety of the match, helping secure an important victory over the Macedonians. Despite being booked in the 36th minute, Vermaelen's performance aided the team in keeping a clean sheet. Arsenal fans are hoping his bright performance against Macedonia is a precursor for a return of good form for the Belgian in club football.
The Czech Republic suffered a horrid 0-3 defeat against Denmark. Tomas Rosicky started the match as a substitute and was brought on with just half an hour left. His side still suffered a loss despite the importance of the match.
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