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We all could see that Arsenal was totally in control of the game against Tottenham in the first half. And then we ran out of steam as it was visible that some players were struggling to keep up the pace. Did the international games have any effect on this? Why don’t we try to find out?
So let us start by having a look at how many players in the starting lineup have been away this week and how much time they have played for their country.
Arsenal started with :
Fabianski played 90 minutes for Poland and was away for a few days.
Sagna played 87 minutes for France and was away for a few days
Squillaci stayed in London
Koscielny stayed in London
Clichy was away for France but didn’t play
Arshavin played 90 minutes for Russia and had some troubles with his transport
Fabregas played 45 minutes with Spain and was away for a few days
Nasri played 90 minutes for France and was away for a few days
Denilson stayed in London
Song stayed in London
Chamakh played 71 minutes for Morocco and was away for a few days
So in total we had 7 players that were away this week until they could resume normal training on Friday and in total they played 473 minutes of football. And this also involved a lot of transport and the fact that many players only could start to prepare the game on Friday morning is something that can have a negative impact.
And I know that Arshavin had a lot of trouble to get to the place where the international game in Russia was played as there were a lot of problems with the fog and they had to travel by train to get there.
Gomes stayed in London as far as I know but he certainly didn’t play for Brazil
Hutton stayed in London
Gallas stayed in London
Kaboul got a late call for France but didn’t play but was away a few days
Assou-Ekotto stayed in London
Bale stayed in London
Van der Vaart played 80 minutes for Holland against Turkey and was away a few days
Modric played 90 minutes for Croatia against Malta and was away a few days
Jenas stayed in London
Lennon stayed in London
Pavlyuchenko stayed in London
So in Total they had 3 players that were away this week and in total they had some 170 minutes of football played by 2 players.
So this means that we had more than half our team out this week or not at our disposal to train in a normal way. To be exact 63 % of our team was away and only 27 % of the Tottenham team was away.
And if you would take into account the substitutes the numbers are even more clear. All our players were on international duty this week and only Wilshere did not play because of injury. On the Tottenham bench there was only Crouch and Corluka who were on international duty.
Well, you actually can’t. How can you prepare such a game in one day? You can’t do such a thing. But we had no choice. And if you compare this to Tottenham who only had 5 players out and that is 27% of their squad. That is a difference of 50%. Now if half of your team is getting tired because of this, you can bet this makes a difference.
Our players also played a lot more than their Tottenham counterparts. So not only in numbers but also in playing time our players had to work harder than the Tottenham players. And certainly in the line up.
And when you look at how the game developed it was clear to see that the players that played almost or the full 90 minutes for their country gradually faded away. Nasri, Arshavin, Sagna started very well but couldn’t keep it up. Chamakh also looked tired during the game and he also couldn’t keep the tempo up. And the same thing happened to the Tottenham players who had played during the week. Van der Vaart was very quiet apart from his free kicks and Modric also didn’t had an impressive game.
So I think that we didn’t lose the game on saturday. No it was a lost game before we started it. Most of us didn’t realised it at that time and I just hoped it wouldn’t affect our game. But I am sure it did.
We lost the game during the friendly international games this week. We lost the game because the brainless Fifa heads decided for some strange reason we should be playing international games in this time of the season. Like I said earlier this week: this was a ridiculous time to play those useless games. And they cost us dearly.
Well the good thing is that for now there will be no more time to lose our players for friendly internationals and also in the next few months.