The standard March international break is right around the corner, as players from around the world travel back to their homeland in order to engage in some relatively pointless friendlies. Of course, the media will try and make you believe that they mean more than that, but we all know they’re used as ‘World Cup warm-ups’ and nothing more.
They’ve been publically vilified as an idea for years and years now, and rightly so. They don’t really offer any kind of productivity other than ticket sales for the matches, and when you examine what it’ll do to teams like Arsenal, it becomes even more infuriating.
Possible speed bumps
A parade of squad members have already been called up for international duty, and it really has come at the worst possible time for the Gunners. Why? Because they’ve recently been on fire ever since they suffered a humiliating four-game losing streak.
In the wake of losses to Ostersund, Manchester City in the cup, Manchester City in the league and Brighton, Arsenal have won three consecutive games against AC Milan (twice) and Watford. Over the course of those encounters, they’ve given off the appearance of a renewed side, scoring eight goals and only conceding one.
Just like any other sport, it’d be perfect if they were able to harness this good fortune and keep moving forward, but instead, they’re going to have to sit back for two weeks and pray that their best players don’t pick up any injuries.
The pressure is on
The club’s next game won’t take place until April 1st, and from that moment onwards they’ll face four matches in the span of just 11 days. That kind of congestion alone would be enough to worry even the most optimistic of Arsenal fans, especially when you consider that two of those contests will be their crucial Europa League quarter-final ties against CSKA Moscow.
We aren’t suggesting that other teams don’t have to deal with the same kind of issues because they do, but their situations aren’t quite as delicate as this one. The cries of ‘Wenger Out’ have been neutralised for a few weeks thanks to their latest run, but we all know they’re going to start up again if things go south, and the Frenchman will be praying that things go well overseas for his players.
Will Arsenal maintain their unbeaten run in their next few games?