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Arsenal Euro watch: group stage round up and looking ahead to the Quarter Finals

By Phil Gregory

With the group games done and dusted, the ranks of Arsenal men at the Euros has thinned somewhat. Most surprisingly, a Russia side who started impressively have fallen by the wayside, and with them Andrei Arshavin. Russia’s departure means that the situation regarding our little Russian’s Arsenal future will be a little clear in the near future, with discussions with Arsene likely.

Similar could be said to apply to Bendtner’s future, after Denmark went out despite upsetting the odds with an opening day win over a Dutch side who ultimately lost all three group games. That exit of course means Robin Van Persie will be playing a couple less games than we would have expected as well as coming through the tournament without a scratch, which is only good news. Now for that contract, eh?

Both of Arsenal’s England contingent of Chamberlain and Walcott came on as substitutes in a close win over Ukraine. While Milner has been pretty dire all tournament, offering little aside from some huff and puff, the tactical reasons for his inclusion over Walcott are pretty clear. In terms of balance, it would be a folly to have two strikers as well as a pair of wingers and a midfielder in Gerrard who is itching to burst forward. Instead, Hodgson has gone for the more solid presence of Milner on the right, tucking in so as to make almost a midfield three.

Despite Milner’s pretty abject performances to date, there’s not really anyone else in the squad who could fill that role. Someone like Barry could provide that kind of balance but on the left hand side allowing Walcott’s inclusion on the right. The only other alternative to Milner would be Henderson, and he would surely go on the right, again excluding Walcott from starting. It seems likely then that our Arsenal boys will purely play off the bench.

Whether England’s tournament extends further than the quarter finals is anyone’s guess with Italy no pushovers and England yet to impress performance-wise despite surprising many be topping the group.

Looking forward, Tomas Rosicky is an injury doubt for the Czech Republic’s quarter final versus Portugal. Apparently he is winning his race to be fit, so I’m hoping that doesn’t mean painkilling injections to allow him to play (and potentially aggravating his injury in the process). As captain and a crucial player for the Czech side in his own right, it could well be that there is a temptation to push Rosicky back into the starting line-up… hopefully he takes the field and does so fully fit.

Germany versus Greece will see Podolski back in action with Mertesacker likely to remain benched. Spain versus France has the interesting sub plot of the likely inclusion of Laurent Koscielny in light of Mexes’ suspension. Providing France’s training sessions have ensured he has a good level of familiarity with the other defenders, I expect Koscielny to have a blinder. There is always the risk of a relatively inexperienced player being overawed at this stage of the tournament, but having seen Laurent boss Barcelona’s attackers I fully expect him to be outstanding against the Spanish.

9 comments to Arsenal Euro watch: group stage round up and looking ahead to the Quarter Finals

  • sunny

    1st

    Denied.

  • Damien Luu

    Phil, were you drunk while writing this? How could Germany, Spain and Kos all play against France? 😉

    Seriously, me, I can’t understand Blanc. Has been being a great defender himself, how could he not see how bad Mexes was/is? Familiarity between CB duo my arse(nal)! He was bad and bad and bad again, making mistake after mistake. I hope (for them) that Kos will replace him for the rest of the tour, but I doubt it will be any longer than one match.

  • WalterBroeckx

    The way Greece have been playing for most of the tournament reminds me of a certain team in London playing in blue and boring the world to death and winning a cup by doing this. Anyone, someone, no matter who: knock them out please. Please Per, please Lukas. 😉 Didn’t know it was Germany-Greece, just checked it. I think Germany are the best side to deal with them in a way.

    Yes a surprise that Russia went out. I think they were too sure of themselves going in the last game. A fatal mistake.

    I think when fit Rosicky will play his last game in the Euros today.

    Somehow I want Koscielny to shine. But then again France going out could mean the start of an interesting period for Arsenal. 😉 So I wouldn’t mind Spain winning it (on penalties maybe?). By the way I think that this is the last time Spain will win something for a few years. They are (just like Barcelona) going down the hill for the moment. Players getting older and losing it a bit. So maybe Spain will win this but then they are finished.

    England – Italy…from an Arsenal point of view I want our players back in London as soon as possible and in good health if possible. England going further will give more fatigue for certain players and could be helpful for Arsenal in the next season. But being a bit egoistic: I want my Arsenal players back for the start of the season at Arsenal so just go out please. 😉

  • Damien Luu

    @Walter: “The way Greece have been playing for most of the tournament reminds me of a certain team in London playing in blue and boring the world to death and winning a cup by doing this. Anyone, someone, no matter who: knock them out please.” – Couldn’t agree more. They are not playing, they are killing football. But don’t worry, not this time, “my” Germany will kick them very well out of the tour 😀

  • Damien – well spotted, I don’t quite know how I managed that mistake, I even proof read! I must be getting my fiscally challenged Eurozone states muddled up…

    Agree with you Walter – the likes of Xavi and Iniesta have reached the final of virtually everything on the club and international stage over the last four years or so, they must be knackered!

  • FinnGooner

    Phil you forgot that also Poland with Szczesny are out (had to mention all our players 😉 )
    I do hope France beat Spain and then drop out next round.
    Part of me hopes there is Arsenal player in final (so I might watch it) and part of me wants them all home by preseason ready to play all those matches…

  • Ugandan Goon

    @FinnGooner,
    all those matches……mmm

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    Hasn’t been a sterling tournament by any standards but at least some of the officiating is decent…certainly more than the EPL standards!
    The games, for the mast part,have been like two drunken sailors sleepwalking through a performance of Waiting for Godot and the Greeks have been eminently opportunistic, like the Italians. The best team so far is Germany, with its strong attack and ironclad defense. Neuer has been great with Lamm, Hummels and Gomez doing the number on their opponents. Podolski has worked his ass off and shows himself to be both an offensive and defensive threat and is a perfect player for us. He has a wicked left foot but his right foot is also impressive.
    The Spanish seem tired and unable to finish. The French started well and I believe they were surprised by the Swedes, who they assumed would roll over and die. France dominated the game but failed to finish, with Benzema looking very deadly up front.
    Portugal are a one man team,since their only offensive threat is Ronaldo, but what a threat…he scores for the fun of it!
    England are doing the Chelsea and defending very well but without the Ox and Theo, they seem sluggish and clogging, basically Rooney is all they have.

  • Asif

    Yeah…talking about refereeing I think even a Webb puts in a decent shift…Nani forgot that he was not playing in the ManUre shirt and got himself booked for a rash challenge and the look on his face was Webb it’s me…how can you do that!