By Tony Attwood
More details are being added to Arsenal’s summer, and the summer break looks shorter than ever before. Players involved in the Euros should be back in training by the time the season starts, but whether they will be fit and ready to play is a different matter. Worse we could lose some to the Olympic Games.
The summer international European tournament will start on 11 June and end on 11 July – which means any player reaching the final will then be on holiday after that, and then need to start training again to get up to match fitness.
Meanwhile Arsenal will have a training camp which will run from Monday, 12 July through to 17 July. During this spell Arsenal will play Hibernian on July 13 and Rangers on the 17th.
But we also have the Euros and I doubt if clubs will be sticking to the normal health and safety rules about giving their players the full time off. And early next year the African Cup.
Here’s how it looks and it is not very pretty. I’ve estimated just two weeks holiday and two weeks retraining for players who return from the Euros.
You’ll notice there is no Emirates Cup this year!
- 11 June: Euros begin
- 23 June: group stages of Euros end
- 3 July: Quarter finals of Euros end
- 7 July: Semi finals of Euros end
- 11 July: Euros end
- 12 July: Arsenal’s Scottish summer camp opens
- 13 July Arsenal v Hibernian
- 14 July: players for countries in the Euros knocked out in group stages return to training
- 17 July Arsenal v Rangers
- 17 July: players for countries in Euros knocked out in quarter finals return to training
- 22 July: Olympic games football tournament starts
- 24 July: players for countries in Euros in last four return to training
- 25 July Arsenal v Inter Milan, Florida Cup
- 28 July Arsenal v Everton or Millonarios, Florida Cup
- 28 July: players in Euros knocked out in group stages available for training
- 31 July: players in Euros knocked out in quarter finals available for training
- 1 August: Friendly, yet to be announced (assumed)
- 4 August: players in Euros in last four available for training
- 7 August: Olympic games tournament ends
- 8 August: Friendly, yet to be announced (assumed)
- 14 August Premier League season begins
- 21 August: Olympic games players ready to start training.
- 6 September: Olympic games players ready to rejoin squad
- 9 January: Africa cup of nations starts
Arsenal could therefore play a couple of games on 1 and 8 August as I have slotted in (give or take a day either side).
So we should have quite a few players back for the start of the season, but not our under 23s who are playing in the Olympics, at least based on my timetable. But if players need more time off, or as is common practice, are returned to the club injured with instructions to get the player fit for the opening internationals ready for the world cup games, then we could be without several players.
Kieran Tierney is of course in Scotland’s squad for the Euros. If Scotland are knocked out in the group stage then he will leave on 22 June.
Despite the distaste for his performances that many bloggers and journalists seem to have Bernd Leno is still liked by Joachim Low and is in Germany’s squad. Germany are very unlikely to be knocked out in the opening group stage, so Arsenal know they could well need to be using their backup keeper which is why all this talk about bringing Andre Onana (who is currently banned for a year) to the club to be our number 1 keeper is so very odd.
Bukayo Saka is in the squad as we have seen (scoring the only goal of the warm up game). So with him it is again a question of how quickly England can get themselves knocked out.
Granit Xhaka is, like Bernd Leno, a player that a lot of journalists and a few supporters feel should be kicked out of the club, is still with us but he too is in the Euros, playing for Switzerland and will presumably as usual be their captain.
Across the world both Gabriel and Martinelli are in the Brazil squad for the matches in Japan where amazingly the Olympic Games are taking place. Olympic football does not meet the FA’s criteria for grabbing every single game that it can, because it is for under 23s so there are no entries either from the UK or from the four constituent parts of the UK.
Pepe will presumably be in the Olympic Games as well.
The Olympic Football Tournament ends on 7 August which would mean that both players would be training again on 21 August, and then ready to play on 4 September. The club will receive no compensation for this late availability nor for any players who are injured playing for their country in these competitions.
After all that is over we should then prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations which will be played from 9 January to 6 February. We will then lose Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe, and Mohamed Elneny.
No compensation is payable to fans who have bought season tickets in the hope of seeing Arsenal players who are fit and selected but who have African heritage. Let’s hope the backup players are up to the task.
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