Alas, after a grueling wait of 12 days there are only a handful more to go, and plenty of Premier League action to watch in the mean time, until Arsenal are back as they host Crystal Palace on Monday.
Plenty of assessment has gone on over the past two weeks looking at how Mikel Arteta’s side have got on: where the improvements have been, what still needs to be tinkered with and how much can be extracted from the most recent outing against Brighton.
While no less than 16 players have been off with their international sides partaking in various fixtures, including World Cup qualifiers, for the first time in what feels like an eternity, the squad has come back unscathed.
Arsenal and international breaks – Theo Walcott every time – have historically not been the best of friends. Well, not only have the players come back fit this time, they also have the additional rest given the next game isn’t on the weekend and they’ve found their shooting boots.
5 Arsenal players who need to step up after international break as Premier League football returns for Mikel Arteta against Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace
Thomas Partey has notched himself a pair of goals for Ghana, Nicolas Pepe and Aubameyang found the back of the net and the Hale End stars Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe have also got on the scoresheet.
As London Colney beckons, key members of the squad are looking in fine fettle.
What about some of the others? A season so far of two halves, sort of, has seen a variety of performance levels ranging from the disappointing to the outstanding.
However, it’s not just those Arteta has on his hands that need to start upping their games now the international break has concluded, as other members of the squad out and about on the continent also need to return from this period invigorated and ready to make an impact.
While there are loanees like Konstantinos Mavropanos and Matteo Guendouzi who look all but assured of securing permanent moves to their temporary clubs at the end of the season, the same can’t be said of Lucas Torreira.
On a season-long loan with Fiorentina, the holding midfielder’s deal includes an option to buy for £12.8m at the end.
In his six matches with I Viola so far this campaign he’s been in the starting lineup on three occasions, substituted on once, been left on the bench twice and is yet to complete a full 90 minutes.
Neither Arsenal nor Torreira can afford another season of bit-part action like what happened at Atletico Madrid. The Uruguayan’s stock will continue to fall as the Serie A sides who previously held an interest will move off the case, while Arsenal sorely want to get the midfielder sold for as much as they feasibly can.
As it is, that number stands at the aforementioned £12.8m. It’s hard to envisage a chain of events where that suddenly rockets up with his Arsenal deal expiring in 2023. Still, it’s early days and Italian football suits him, so here’s hoping to a fruitful campaign.
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