Arsenal players in International action

by JAMES CURTIS – Despite the break from Premier League football this weekend there are still many Arsenal faces in action on the international scene.
Whether this is a good or bad thing remains to be seen. Arsenal are notorious for sending players on international duty in tip-top condition, only for them to be returned chipped, chinked and cracked.
If all goes well though Arsenal might benefit for once from the international calendar. I’m looking in particular at the Wales vs. Scotland friendly tie where Aaron Ramsay is set to grab his 11th cap with the blessing of his manager John Toshack, who has been raining praise on the 18-year-old.
Last weekend, Wenger started the nonchalant Ramsay away at Wolves in place of Alex Song. The boss made public his plans to start the Welsh youngster in 15 to 20 games this season and if this is the case then it is good that Ramsay gets a second consecutive run-out today.
Alex Song leaves for the African Cup of Nations in January and the Wolves game might have been a peepshow of what is to come when he departs. At the moment, Ramsay looks a strong possibility to play first team football during Song’s absence, with Diaby moving into a more holding role.
Diaby, Sagna and Gallas travel with the French team to play the Republic of Ireland in one of four World Cup Qualifiers . This game is likely to be high tempo, especially with the noise of excited Irish supporters geeing up the players. It is unlikely Diaby will start, but let’s hope Sagna and Gallas avoid any pot-holes, bogs or banana-skins at Croke Park.
The only other competitive game featuring an Arsenal player is Russia vs. Slovenia. Surely this can be wrapped up by half-time and our little Russian wizard Arshavin can be wrapped in cotton-wool. His assisting and goal contribution has been sobering for Arsenal fans this season and it is highly important he remains fit.
Fabregas and Van Persie face more high-brow encounters as the Spanish welcome Argentina and the Dutch travel to Italy. With millions of Euros, Pounds and Argentine Pesos on show, it’s likely that both games will be slowed-paced under strict instructions from the club powers who be.
Nearer to home, Henri Lansbury has been called up by Stuart Pearce for England’s U-21 UEFA Championship qualifier against Portugal at Wembley. He is one of three late-comers to join the squad in place of injured Arsenal players Wilshere and Walcott. Lansbury is on-loan at Watford where he has made a good impression scoring two goals in 13 games.
Elsewhere, Eduardo travels with Croatia to play Liechtenstein, Vermaelen joins up with Belgium to face Hungary and Senderos will be attempting to halt Norway.

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