Football

Arsenal: Perfect timing for a break

Wenger will be happy for a breather. (©GettyImages)
Wenger will be happy for a breather. (©GettyImages).

While much of England has been worrying over whether the Three Lions will be able to secure passage to World Cup 2014 over the next few days, Arsene Wenger will be breathing a sigh of relief and may even be able to put his feet up.

Ok, it is probably impossible for a Premier League manager to relax during the season but the Arsenal boss will probably get as close to this as is possible when he waves away his table-topping stars to their various national teams.

One major factor for the Frenchman's likely good mood will be that he does not have to wave off too many of his squad and most of the ones that are jetting off will probably not be taxed too greatly.

Many of the qualification groups are already sorted and a number of players' return from injury looks to have coincided with just after the international break has finished.

Theo Walcott's recovery from a stomach operation should see him return to first team action soon after England's fate has been decided - he may well be disappointed at not being involved, but Wenger is unlikely to lose nay sleep over it.

The same goes for Bacary Sagna, who is working on his recovery and does not look like missing many more Arsenal games; Tomas Rosicky was injured in the previous international break and has only just returned to action, which prompted the Czech Republic manager to let him stay in London.

Mathieu Flamini has been sensational for Wenger since joining on a free transfer this summer, but his resurgence came too late for a call up to the France team, while Laurent Koscielny has picked up a slight calf injury and is a doubt for les Bleus two matches - only one of which is an actual qualifier.

Anyway, France are unlikely to top their group and will likely have to settle for a playoff spot, as it would take holders Spain not winning either of their remaining games against Belarus and Georgia.

Santi Cazorla will not travel with Spain as he looks to complete his comeback from injury, while Nacho Monreal is not first choice and could quite possibly not see any action at all over the two games - Mikel Arteta has never even had a call up!

Meanwhile, Germany are on the brink of qualification and need only a point in their home tie with Republic of Ireland to guarantee topping the group and securing their place at Brazil 2014.

New Arsenal star Mesut Özil is crucial to Germany manager Joachim Löw and will almost certainly start the game, while Per Mertesacker looks to have regained his place in the side, but it would be a surprise if either expended too much energy.

Jack Wilshere will almost certainly play a major role for England in their two ties, but Wenger is now blessed with an abundance of central midfielders so there would be no problem in affording him a rest upon return.

Kieran Gibbs was called up by Roy Hodgson to replace the injured Ashley Cole, but Everton star Leighton Baines is the more senior player and should start in place of Cole.

Some may point to the decline of Arsenal's squad for them no longer having many first choice picks at international level, but this accusation will not trouble Wenger after the form his side have shown in 2013.

The draw against West Brom ended a ten-match wining streak for Arsenal and they were looking a little fatigued during the game, so some time away to get some of the injured players back in contention and a few players getting a much needed rest should be a useful break.

Norwich City are the opponents on Saturday week when Premier League action resumes and the players should be suitably refocused to maintain their their place at the summit of the table before a testing five games that will see them take on Chelsea, Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund twice.

It used to be that international breaks were dreaded by all Arsenal fans, but this latest could well be timed perfectly to aid the Gunners quest for glory.

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Arsenal
Internationals

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