|On song for France|
The last of the international games were played yesterday evening; thank goodness for that. Now we can all turn our attentions to some real football this weekend.
Before we do that though we need to take stock and assess the state the boys who left to do battle for their countries have returned in.
I guess everyone's biggest worry was Abou Diaby; he was mine. After what I saw him do against Liverpool in the last domestic game before the international break, I believe he's an integral part of this team and it was with trepidation that I watched him go off to play for his country. The France game against Finland was not aired in my neck of the woods but I monitored it closely and was glad to hear he scored the game's only goal. I was even more glad to hear that he came out of it unscathed.
As France prepared for their next game against Belarus, though I was wary given his injury history, I thought two competitive games in four days was going to be a true test of the progress he's made. He didn't pass that test; on Monday -a day before the Belarus game- Deschamps announced that he would not be featuring in the game due to muscle cramps. For anyone else that would have been overlooked as a minor injury but with Diaby, hmm.
Arsene has come out to allay fears that this may just be the beginnining of another lengthy lay-off,
"[The injury] doesn't seem serious to me at all. He has a small chance of playing on Saturday."I do believe him seeing as he's usually the first to scream out his frustrations when his wards get injured on international duty.
Giroud was left out of France's game against Finland but returned for France's 3-1 home win against Belarus. Don't ask, He did not score but most importantly he's returned without an injury and will likely feature against Southampton on Saturday where I've wagered a tidy sum that he'll break his duck.
Koscielny was an unused substitute in both games.
The Ox played started in England's emphatic victory against Moldova last Friday and was subsequently replaced by Theo in the 59th minute but while The Ox played another 68 minutes against Ukraine on Tuesday, Theo was ruled out because of an unspecified injury. No word on the status of the injury has been released by the club but it's not likely he will feature in Wenger's plans for this weekend's game.
Per played the full 90 minutes in Germany's 3-0 win against the Faroe Islands last Friday while Poldi only came on in the last 15 minutes of the game. Per, though did not feature at all in Tuesday's 2-1 away win against Austria while Poldi once more played the last 15 minutes of the game. They both have returned safe and sound.
Santi featured in both of Spain's games during the break, scoring the first goal in Friday's 5-0 win against Saudi Arabia. On Tuesday he played for the last 26 minutes in the 1-0 victory against Georgia. He's also good and will definitely be looking to build on his goal tally against Southampton.
Captain Vermaleen played all of 90 minutes in both Belgium's 2-0 away win against Wales on Friday and the 1-1 home draw against Croatia. He's always been one part Superman and one part Voltron but I'd rest him for Saturday's game and bring on Kos if I were Wenger; at least start him from the bench.
Gervinho scored in Ivory Coast's 4-2 victory against Senegal in the African Nation's Cup qualifier and even won a penalty for the Ivory Coast's third goal. He's back without an injury most importantly and we can expect to see him at some point on Saturday.
Oh dear! Ramsey was the captain as Wales fell 6-1 against Serbia and also in the afore-mentioned 2-0 loss to Vermaleen's Belgium. But it's okay, he's back home uninjured and available for Saturday.
Djourou played all 90 minutes in both Switzerland's 2-0 win against Slovania and the 1-0 win against Albania. That's decent match practice that he hasn't been getting at Arsenal and evidently he's also been paying attention to Bouldy seeing that he's taken the strictly clean sheet only policy back to Switzerland. There's hope for him yet.
Fabianski was an unused sub for both Poland's games against Moldova and Montenegro while Coquelin suffered the ignominy of being sent off in the 75th minute in France under-21's defeat to Slovakia.
So that's everyone accounted for. We've seen once during the international breaks so we can be thankful until the next one in October. Bring it on, Southampton!
We've got one hell of a Medical Center as you can see from a tour in the video below but will rather its put to minimal use so I'll say it's good to have you all back in one piece boys.
Last night I got home quite late and fell asleep downloading the Fifa13 demo which was released by EASports yesterday and of course this morning I was straight out the door but not before confirming my download completed. I can't wait to get home this evening. Have you played it yet? Has it lived up to the hype. Pray, tell.
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