Evening. Thanks for dropping by. A post as short as an amnesic goldfish’s memory for you today, because A. I can’t really be arsed, and B. there is so little going on Arsenal-wise, that Newsnow may as well suspend it’s dedicated category. Thanks a lot Cloid.
Aaron Ramsey was in action for Wales earlier this afternoon and they could have secured qualification for next summer’s Euros with a win over Israel, but failed to find the net and had to settle for a goalless draw. Hal Robson-Kanu, who led the Welsh attack, was released by Arsenal as a kid apparently. I didn’t know that until today, so thanks Twitter. And if you didn’t before reading this entry – you’re welcome.
But speaking of the Euros, they take place in France, who will be hosting their first tournament since they won the World Cup on home soil in 1998, and Francis Coquelin has been telling the official site how he would love to force his way into Didier Deschamp’s squad for the tournament. He said:
Every player wants to represent their country and the Euros in France is something massive for any French player to be a part of. To be part of the squad would be amazing but there are loads of things to do first and the most important thing is Arsenal. If I play well here maybe I will get a chance for France, but the most important thing is Arsenal. As any French player would, though, you want to play for France and hopefully it can happen one day. It would be unbelievable. I won the Under-19 Euros and it was something unbelievable as well. To win the Euros with the French national team would be even more crazy. If I perform well here, maybe I will get the chance to play for France but I think the most important thing is to stay focused on Arsenal and then things will come along.
Aside from the fact Francis is proving himself to be a very, very good footballer, his mentality should be highly merited too. Not only are his words above a great reflection of a man who’s grounded and focused, but his on-pitch demeanour since he established himself in this Arsenal team epitomises the kind of traits that detractors of Arsene Wenger’s side so often highlight as supposedly lacking. He’s vocal, an organiser, and showcases genuine leadership qualities. And the 24 year old, despite at the time being about seven by my maths, fondly remembers watching Thierry Henry and co lift the World Cup:
Of course I remember it. All my family were watching the games so I remember it well. It was such a great feeling. To play in front of a home crowd in France would be unbelievable with the support of all the French people. We have to wait and see, and work hard, that’s the most important thing.
Elsewhere, Petr Cech has also been discussing the upcoming international tournament, telling the Arsenal Magazine he hopes the Czech Republic can still secure qualification after dropping points in both of their last two fixtures. He said:
Since I joined the national team, I’ve never missed a European Championship. I’ve always qualified. Ever since I was 16 I’ve played in every single European Championship at every level so I hope that run will continue. I used to play in France and it would be special for me to play the Euros there. We had an absolutely brilliant start to the campaign. We won our first four games, including matches against Holland and in Turkey. Unfortunately we’ve dropped points in the last two games – we drew at home against Latvia, which was a blow because we had a lot of chances. In our last game we played Iceland away and although we went 1-0 up, we lost the match. I think this is the game we look back at and can have regrets because if we had got a point or three, it would have put ourselves much closer to our target. We complicated our situation a little bit but we are still second and have four games to play. I believe that we have the team to qualify and hopefully we will prove it.
I bet Cech wishes his country could call on our effervescent number seven Tomas Rosicky right now, but hopefully they can secure a place in the finals and Rosicky can have something to look forward to after another prolonged period on the sidelines.
See you next week.