Czech Republic vs Armenia
FYR Macedonia vs Wales
Scotland vs Belgium
England vs Moldova
Germany vs Austria
Poland vs Montenegro
Finland vs Spain
Georgia vs France
Wales vs Serbia
Faroe Islands vs Germany
Italy vs Czech Republic
San Marino vs Poland
Ukraine vs England
Belarus vs France
The standout tie is Germany at home to her old ally Austria, but plenty of rivalry there. Germany are top of the group (16pts) and look sure to qualify, but then Austria, Sweden and the Rep of Ireland are all on 11 points. Austria could do with a result but Germany are away to the Faroes after this so perhaps they will put most effort into the home fixture, I’d expect them to win. No Schweinsteiger for the Germans but they’ve got more than enough; David Alba (playing at home in Munich) is the key for the Austrians. With Podolski out injured, lets hope Per and new boy Ozil come through both ties unscathed. In fact Herr Low why not leave ‘em out altogether?
Wales travel to Macedonia for a tricky tie before coming back to Cardiff to play Serbia, which won’t be easy either. To be honest Wales are not going to make Brazil as Serbia and Belgium (yay Walter!) have this group sewn up. But Wales need a good finish to help their coefficient for future qualifying.Not sure about Rambo’s fitness but given the Welsh have announced that Gareth Bale will not play 90 minutes in either fixture, our Welshman will have to carry that team once again if he’s passed fit. I love Aaron Ramsey; I have always believed in him and just hope this year he continues to show all those doubters just how good he is.
England entertain (I use the term loosely) Moldova at Wem-ber-ley before flying out to Kiev for the harder test against Ukraine. Let’s face it, our qualification is far from certain and the Owl-like one is beset by injuries (Sturridge, Rooney, and Jack is still ill). So basically it’s down to Theo to win the game single handedly and stay fit to do the same in Kiev. I can’t see either thing happening to be honest, and I worry for the lad coming back crocked. Let’s pray he is ok, same for JW10. Greg Dyke now says he is aiming for England to win the World Cup in 2022, Jack for captain then anyone?
Tomas Rosicky should play for the Czech republic against Armenia and Italy, the latter being much the harder fixture. Group B is a tough one, the Czechs are third with 9 points, behind Bulgaria (10) and Italy (12). The little Mozart could do with a Bulgarian defeat and an away win against the Azerri, and he will be dancing his way to Brazil.
Our madcap keeper has two fixtures, a tricky one at home against Montenegro followed by a fairly easy (on paper at least) away tie against the minnows of San Marino. The latter have conceded 29 goals so far and failed to score. Szczesny’s confidence might take one hell of a dip if they lose that one! Poland’s chances of qualifying look slim, they have Ukraine (11), England (12) and Montenegro (14) above them but this is a tight group and who knows what will happen. England fans should be hoping Szczesny keeps a clean sheet against Montenegro.
What about the French? Again Arsenal fans might be crossing their collective fingers given that we have three players in the squad (Koscielny, Sagna and Giroud). France lie second in their group, behind Spain, and Georgia should be a pushover as should Belarus. I’d expect them to bag all six points and hopefully, if he gets on the Handsome One (OG) can fill his boots. Which leaves us with Spain who play Finland away on Friday. They only drew with the Finns last time so this might not be easy for them. Santi and Monreal are in the squad but you never know if Del Bosque will choose to play them – let’s hope he gives Nacho a game because he needs minutes, but leaves Santi on the bench (or in the hotel with a good book), cos he doesn’t.
Have I missed anyone? I’m sure someone will tell me.
Enjoy the games whatever your country of origin but keep your fingers crossed all our players come back fit and well.
*(only those games where AFC players are involved)
- Translating Wengerian speak
- Hey big spender, ouch that went wrong
- Özil, Is this the start of a new era?
- Italian keeper in London
- The Per-factor
- The philosophy of football
- How bad is the state of refereeing in the PL?
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC: crowd behaviour at the early matches
The sites from the same team…
- Referee Decisions – just what are the refs up to this season?
- The Arsenal History Blog from the AISA Arsenal History Society
- Arsenal v Leicester: comparing the form, and the goalscorers
- Arsenal v Leicester: how will the ref handle Leicester’s mulitple tackling?
- What sort of referee is Darren England? The statistics reveal some odd facts.
- Premier League 2022/23 – Matchweek 2 Refereeing matters
- Are we all really sure that no other club behaves like Barcelona?