I am not a fan of the international break whatsoever. There are many reasons behind this but the main one being that my passionate attachment to Arsenal and club football makes this two-week spell a frustrating distraction from the Gunners.
Furthermore, the history of Arsenal players returning from the break either injured or fatigued naturally builds up further animosity. Yet, I am an England fan and passionately support the Three Lions at the summer, or in this year’s case winter, tournaments.
With a winter World Cup approaching for the first time, the unorthodox scheduling means that plenty of Arsenal stars will be taking part in the competition. Therefore, the sense of potential dread over the threat of injuries has already begun to emerge.
The Brazilian contingent of the Arsenal squad has continued to grow after Marquinhos, and Gabriel Jesus joined Gabriel Magalhaes and Gabriel Martinelli. Despite none of the quartet selected for the last round of friendlies, Jesus and Gabriel Magalhaes are still expected to make the final cut this winter.
This is where my position on international inclusion shifts, and for good reason. What is particular about Brazilian players perhaps more than most other nations is representing the country at the World Cup is the absolute pinnacle.
Whilst some players might look to a Champions League win as the greatest achievement, for Brazilians, the World Cup is everything. Therefore, Martinelli not being selected could in fact do more harm than good.
If he was selected, it isn’t expected for him to get in above Vinicius Junior at the moment. He would likely have opportunities off the bench and not be too high of a risk regarding an injury.
Yet, if he wasn’t to go, having been involved in a number of squads leading up to the tournament it would most certainly be a big disappointment. The impact on Martinelli’s morale would therefore be equally as damaging and not in any way beneficial to Arsenal.
It is also worth pointing out that whilst games will be going on over the World Cup, the lack of fixtures for those staying behind provides both a mental and physical challenge. The momentum of the season will be interrupted for many.
Therefore, having players involved in matchday experiences both on and off the field in Qatar also has its benefits. Ultimately, however, there is very little to be certain about in this field as the tournament’s timing is the first of its kind.