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October 2016
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Who will be playing in the early pre-season games: a timescale for returns for the new season

By Tony Attwood

Times move on and we are approaching the moment when the first group of players return to Arsenal to pick up pre-season training.

Tomorrow, ex-Arsenal player, author of the book Arsenal Yankee, and Arsenal scout, Danny Karbassiyoon writes from first hand knowledge about the importance of pre-season training on Untold, but before we get to that, it is not a bad idea to have a look at who joins the first group of returning players.

The internationals and the injured won’t make it, so it gives the rest a chance to show themselves off.  As far as I can see the list of early arrivals is likely to be:

  • Chuba Akpom,
  • Santi Cazorla,
  • Francis Coquelin,
  • Mohamed Elneny,
  • Kieran Gibbs,
  • Gabriel,
  • Emiliano Martinez,
  • Per Mertesacker,
  • Theo Walcott

Now in addition to this we might or might not hear that the following are also around and about

  • Mathieu Debuchy: I haven’t heard anything about a definitive transfer so I imagine he will be with Arsenal
  • Alex Iwobi: My understanding was that he had been selected for the Olympic squad, which means he will be away, and will indeed miss much of the start of the season, since he will not only have to play the matches for his country, but then needs a holiday after.   However some sites have suggested he has been dissuaded from going by Arsenal.
  • Serge Gnabry: I’m quite bemused as to what is going on with him.  Season before last he was flying high, then he had a disastrous loan, was back and supposedly in the play off game at the end of the season for the under 21s but at the last minute wasn’t.
  • Carl Jenkinson: was injured with West Ham and returned to us crocked.  He might well be still recovering.
  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should also be back sometime around now but I can’t find out when.
  • Yaya Sanogo: the great hope a year ago, but now… after a seemingly awful year I wonder if he can pull things back together.

Obviously this isn’t quite enough to have fulsome training, so I imagine a few others will step up. This is the moment when youngsters get their first big chance to shine and Mr Wenger will judge if they really have the talent or if they freeze in the moment.

  • Krystian Bielik has been touted as a promising start of the future at centre back, so he could be given a chance.
  • Matt Macey looks the obvious backup keeper while the others recover from international duty
  • Julio Pleguezuelo is another centre back who has been catching attention.
  • Jeff Reine-Adelaide made quite an impact at the Emirates Cup last year and played as a sub in two matches this past season so should be there again
  • Jon Toral had a brilliant season at Birmingham and has returned with every plaudit possible having been paid to him.  This is his chance to shine.
  • Chris Willock played in Singapore and is still being highly rated as an up and coming striker.
  • Gedion Zelalem seemed to have an up and down season with Rangers, and must surely be given a chance to shine

Then there are the on going internationals at youth level.  I think Tafari Moore and Ainsley Maitland-Niles were involved in the under 19s championship and won’t be ready yet.

After this the early returnees from international events could join in – the first being Joel Campbell who suffered an early exit in America and Petr Cech who had the same misfortune in France.

That looks to me like it could be the squad all the way through July unless perhaps Alexis Sanchez and David Ospina come back sooner rather than later – maybe right at the end of the month.   These players will only be available, at the earliest for the very final warm up game before the season starts.

After that we should have Jack Wilshere back but I can’t see that Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, and Olivier Giroud will be back with us until the season has started.

One player who won’t be back is Arsenal Yassin Fortune who joined at the same time as Reine Adelaide, has been ruled out for two to three months through injury.  He is reported to be out of the will now miss the Durban International Cup in South Africa.

So it is going to be a disjointed start to the season.  But then it has ever been thus.  And at least we don’t have to play a Champs League prelim game.

Recent Posts

Untold Arsenal has published five books on Arsenal – all are available as paperback and three are now available on Kindle.  The books are

  • The Arsenal Yankee by Danny Karbassiyoon with a foreword by Arsene Wenger.
  • Arsenal: the long sleep 1953 – 1970; a view from the terrace.  By John Sowman with an introduction by Bob Wilson.
  • Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football.  By Tony Attwood, Andy Kelly and Mark Andrews.
  • Making the Arsenal: a novel by Tony Attwood.
  • The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal by Mark Andrews.

You can find details of all five on our new Arsenal Books page


44 comments to Who will be playing in the early pre-season games: a timescale for returns for the new season

  • Hisham

    I think Nacho Monreal should be amongst the first returnees?

  • Gord

    I though Carl Jenkinson was just starting training again as the season ended?

  • Al

    Much as I want Ozil to return sooner, the joy I get from watching him play means I’m caught in between wanting Germany to go all the way (so we get to see him more) and wishing Germany got knocked out yesterday so he returned sooner. Of course I get more happiness from his success, so looks like it won’t be till September to see him in our colours 🙂

  • Leon

    Do we still have Calum Chambers? There was a chance that he’d be loaned out, but I don’t think that came to anything. Reason I ask is that we are a bit short of defenders with PL experience until Hector & Kos return unless Jenkinson is fit & ready to go.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think the Ox put a picture on instagram saying he returned to training from Monday on. Don’t know full training of just returning training after his injury?

  • Mick

    How about these fantastic stats.
    A breakdown of Ozil’s performance against Italy from Sky Sports….

    Let us hope he will be available as soon as possible in the coming season.

  • nicky

    Any news on how Welbeck is progressing and whether his prognosis has improved?

  • Leon

    No such luck. He’s still due back in Feb.

  • Al

    Thanks Mick. That guy for me has been the star of this tournament. I think he also achieved a 99% pass accuracy in the match against Northern Ireland. Ok, one could say a player attempts two passes and if he gets them right he gets a 100% pass accuracy. But this was from 68 passes, and 67 of them found his teammates! Staggering.

    I’ve seen exciting players like Thierry but this guy’s vision is just out of this world. Just makes you appreciate football. And to think someone, who should be more knowledgeable on such matters than us laymen, once said the jury was still out on Ozil?! smh.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    We can’t afford not to have the Gunners’ front 3 of: Sanchez, Giroud and Iwobi to spearhead the Gunners’ attack against Liverpool on the opening day of the season, can we? And even Ozil we have to cut his holiday short he should have after Germany Euro’16 campaign to take part in the big game against Liverpool at the Ems. Whatever be the case, Arsenal MUST be at full strength to play Liverpool and collect all points.The I believe we not take a gamble to play an understrength Gunners team against a full strength Liverpool side, would he?

    Even if Arsenal sign a top quality striker( Hal Robson- Kanu?) before the transfer market is closed. I think the Boss wouldn’t start him against Liverpool but sit him on the bench as a sub and brings him on later in the game after allowing the established Gunners to first trash the game out with Liverpool.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    This my comment got posted without my editing it to correct the errors in it. I didn’t click the Publish button on my Android, I only removed a crawling small insect on the screen. I hope the readers will understand what I am saying.

  • bushido

    ot – beautiful goal scored by Ollie G. France leading 1-0.

  • Jambug

    Our boys are doing us proud.

  • Jambug

    2-0 Pogba

  • Jambug

    There’s been loads of goals scored against teams playing man for man and it’s NEVER mentioned.

    The second a goal is scored against a team marking ‘zonal’ and they start on about it again. Hoddle this time.

    I mentioned this the other day, what is this obsession with knocking ‘zonal’ marking.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Iceland havent been able to drag the French into their kind of game,the French lads have played some great football and scored some magic goals.Iceland will be kicking themselves for their missed chances.
    If the Icelanders somehow make a game of this it would be amazing( for the neutral).

  • Al

    Haha Jambug, I thought of you when hoddle railed against zonal marking. Like you say, Williams scored a powerful header against Belgium two days ago and no mention of how man to man marking was to blame there. Odd.

  • Jambug

    Kenneth Widmerpool


    You never know.

  • Jambug


    I know, it’s very odd.

  • Jambug



  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    unlikely now Jambug! Ollie grabs another…

  • Al

    If he wasn’t on a yellow this looked like a match Giroud was gonna grab a hat trick , he looked in the mood.

  • Jambug


    Yep, if it wasn’t already it certainly looks all over now.


    Giroud has played really well, not just today but for the whole tournament and a hat trick certainly looked on the cards.

    Ramsey, Ozil and now possibly Giroud, all definitely in contention for team of the tournament.

    We have reason to be very proud.

  • Jambug

    Sorry, forgot Koscielny. Definitely France’s best defender so he could well be in contention as well.

    Is it a bit much to expect our Jack to be in contention ?

  • Al

    Agree Jambug, our players have done very well at this tournament (of course Jack might have had a good outing if he played for somebody else 🙂 ).

    I took a quick look at the odds on player of the tournament, and was shocked to see Ronaldo was second in that list. Unless I’ve missed something, he’s got no business being in that list, let alone second!

  • WalterBroeckx

    OT Giroud involved in two other goals and scored two goals himself in 60 minutes and then taken off to be sure he is fit for the semi final.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Ok late on the party I see… I only saw highlights at half time and just noticed he scored again on livescore and then went off. 🙂

  • Jambug


    Re Ronaldo.

    Alas it is the law it seems that some players, no matter how average or poor they are, will always be nominated for such things.

    Similarly some players can play out of there skin and hardly get a mention.


    5-2. It’s back on.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    The French were amazing in the first half, and the second half goal by Giroud killed it off, but Iceland come away with some magical moments from the tournament. Good to see they even grabbed a couple themselves. They have great fans too.

  • Al

    Iceland were definitely the team of this tournament.

    Strange that the only player to score two goals out of the seven scored tonight (as well as create/assist 2 other goals) is the one that gets criticised the most by ITV pundits. Ok, the criticism wasn’t based on tonight’s performance, but why even bring it up? Does it mean the other 21 players on the pitch don’t have any weaknesses we could also focus on?

  • Jambug


    Yep, pleased for them that they didn’t get embarrassed. They didn’t deserve that.

    As you say, the French were amazing in the first half but took there foot off the peddle in the 2nd. Iceland took advantage and scored a couple of qoal’s and where able to leave the pitch with there heads held high.

    Congratulations to the French and a massive well done to Iceland.

  • Pat

    Well done Olivier. Allez les bleus!

    OT Kenneth – I have attempted to answer your question on the EU on the other thread. Didn’t see it till late.

  • Jambug


    Thought exactly the same thing.

    Dixon: “The thing I don’t like is he goes down too easily”

    Really? The guy is like a bull and gets absolutely NOTHING from referees despite having the shirt ripped from his back, which is confirmed by the fact we got zero penalties at home.

    And as you say,

    I suppose Rooney NEVER goes down too easily???

    I suppose Vardy NEVER goes down too easily???

    If either of those had a game as good as Giroud did tonight (10 out of 10 from would they of deemed it appropriate to throw in a negative, an incorrect negative at that?

    Of course they wouldn’t.

    Petite: “The problem we see with him is he needs so many chances to score a goal”.

    Does he?

    I produced stats on here a week or so ago that showed his overall career conversion rate is no better or worse than most of his contemporaries.

    Apparently he ‘only scores in patches’

    Well, as far as I know he is no more ‘patchy’ than any other striker. Surely all strikers have a ‘purple patch’ as much as they have a ‘goal drought’.

    But as is typical, when it happens to a Gunner it’s blown out of all proportion.

    The bottom line is, as much as these people are desperate to criticise him, Giroud is a top top striker. No he’s not Henry, he’s not Messi, he’s not Renaldo, although he’s at least matching him stride for stride in this tournament, but not many are.

    What makes it worse is that Dixon and Petite are ex Gunners, why oh why would they, after such a great performance, even want to go there. Sad

  • Gord

    I thought it was nice the two Arsenal players got a rest early. But that tackle on Giroud just before he came off was a bit much. You could see the defender’s leg was low to get the ball, and then he raises it to get Giroud as well.

    Around half time, I had to go look up who the referee was. I thought for sure it was that twit atkinson.

    I see a few “news” (mews? pews? chews?) articles about the Japanese striker. Hey, if people think he is the striker Wenger has been looking for, they are wrong. I think Arsenal has a strategic goal in getting far eastern players into the EPL, and that is what this striker is. If he becomes more than that, that is wonderful.

  • Jambug


    “Hey, if people think he is the striker Wenger has been looking for, they are wrong”

    What do you know that I don’t?

    I had someone at work say something similar.

    I asked him what he thought Of Koscielny (now wanted by Munich apparently), Bellerin (now wanted by Barca apparently) when Wenger bought them?

    Surely you must know that making such judgements on Wenger’s buys is a very dangerous thing to do?

    Personally I think it’s a tad premature to make such a definitive statement as “……they are wrong” don’t you ?

  • Gord

    Jambug, I think that Wenger has an ongoing interest in bringing far eastern players to the EPL. I think Wenger sees this young man as one who has potential. Perhaps like Sanogo? But, I think it is just coincidence that this player is a striker, when most of the armchair managers around the world think Arsenal has to buy a striker to replace Giroud. I am not judging this buy. I am hoping that people will not think “this is the striker”. If Wenger is looking for a striker, he is still looking for that striker.

  • Andy Mack

    Tony, you really have a blind spot when it comes to Hayden. Or is there something I don’t know about that will prevent him returning (With Akpom, who you always seem to mention)?

  • Andy Mack

    And Wellington?

  • Gord

    Jambug, perhaps another way to look at what I wrote. I don’t think anyone at Untold will be disappointed with this new Japanese striker, should he have a bad first game. I think there are already people who think that this person will be better than Messi. And they will be disappointed with anything less than 5 goals per game by this person.

  • Leon

    It’s interesting that with Alex Iwobi going to the Olympics Man City have somehow managed to avoid allowing Kelechi Iheanacho joining his Olympic team. With all due respect to the player, he is hardly an essential City squad member and appears to have been denied an opportunity to represent Nigeria.

  • Al

    Jambug 10:49
    I laughed when Dixon said that, I think he must have mistaken Giroud for drogba! If there’s anyone that takes more punishment without getting anything in this league it is Giroud, when did he ever/last win a penalty? These ex gunners are embarrassing.

  • Jambug


    Yep you’re right, people do have to keep it in perspective and we certainly do have a notorious group of fans that will be on his back from day one.


    You mentioned Drogba. I mentioned Rooney and Vardy. 3 players infinitely more prone to diving around. Sterling and Sturridge, and lets not forget Ashley Young, he’s an Olympic standard diver, are 3 more that spring to mind.

    As I said, if any of those had a game like Giroud just had, could you imagine for one second Lineker having a pop at Vardy?

    Or Vialli at Drogba?

    Or Rio at Rooney or Young, and heaven forbid an ex Liverpool player criticising a current Liverpool player.

    Not a fucking chance.

    But our 2 ex players couldn’t wait to start having a go.

    As you say, our ex gunners really are an embarrassment.

    The thing is, the likes of Dixon and Wright will be at the ‘Legends’ pre season tournament I’ve no doubt. I was thinking of going, then I thought, for every legend I would be cheering there would be one I wouldn’t give the time of day to, and that would include Henry if he turned up.

    Sorry but that’s how I feel.

    They disrespect our club. They stab the manager in the back and they ridicule our players.

  • Jambug


    Upset a few there. Still, not enough to say why though I see.

  • Menace

    Jambug – I’m with you on your comment. I would love to cheer Bergkamp, & all our past goal keepers. But I could not bear the thought of some of these pundits putting on an Arsenal shirt.