If there is one break clubs don’t look forward to, it is the international break. It is a time when players swap their club jerseys for that of their national teams and while doing this, they are exposed to injuries which could affect the fortunes of the club.
Also for teams that are on a winning run, they see the international break as an unnecessary distraction while the ones that have not had it so good lately would see it as a welcome development as it would avail them the opportunity to re-strategize for better performance.
Arsenal would see this particular international break as a welcome reprieve no thanks to the loss to Chelsea and the string of injuries that have bedevilled the Gunners in recent weeks. The likes of Ramsey and Arteta are currently injured. The Welshman was ruled out for 3-4 weeks and that means he would return immediately after the international break or just a week after it. who knows, Diaby might also be ready to play some role in the Premier League.
The most encouraging one is Walcott’s imminent return. Wenger has revealed that the English winger would be ready to make a first team return. It is the news of his return that excites most Arsenal fans. With his return comes a big dilemma for Wenger. How does he accommodate Walcott and Sanchez in the same line-up?
Like I earlier posited, it is a dilemma for Wenger but a positive one at that. In the absence of Walcott, Arsenal have not really had pace on the wings and Wenger has been forced to deploy playmakers Cazorla and Ozil on the wings. While Cazorla had tried in that position, Ozil has struggled. The return of Walcott would put paid to putting square pegs in round holes. Once he returns, he would take up his rightful place on the right side of attack and that automatically means Sanchez would take up the left side of Arsenal’s attack.
What then happens to Ozil? The German playmaker just like Cazorla would be moved to the playmaking role behind the striker. It’s bound to be interesting contest between both men for the playmaking position at Arsenal. Ozil has been accused of been below par this season but his alibi has been that he has been played out of position. He won’t have a hiding place when he is moved to his natural role. The return of Walcott might just bring out the best in Ozil. It is a different thing for Walcott to be fit, it is another thing for him to be back in the first team squad and a totally different thing to be in the starting line-up.
He is fit now and should soon be back in the squad but I expect Wenger to exercise caution before returning him back to the starting line–up. Someone just coming from a long term injury cannot be rushed back. He would need a run-out with the reserves and then cameo roles in the first team before earning his place back in the first team.
All these, I hope won’t take too long but when he finally returns, the prospect of having a speedy and dynamic trio of Walcott, Sanchez and Welbeck is frightening and might just kick-start Arsenal’s season.