Isaac Lundall Wednesday, 14 June 2017
The Premier League fixtures for the 2017/2018 season were released today, and the Arsenal's first opponent is Leciester City at the Emirates Stadium on 12 August. After an emotionally fraught season that brought the disappointment of failure to qualify for the Champions' League and the joy of winning the F A Cup, a two month wait can seem an eternity, but luckily some of our players will be in international action in June and July for international qualifiers and the Confederations Cup.
Our players' fortunes in internationals have been mixed, with Alex Iwobi, Laurent Koscielny, and Olivier Giroud losing their African Nations Cup and World Cup qualifiers to South Africa and Sweden, with Iwobi being substituted with 30 minutes remaining. Giroud did score an exquisite goal though, setting himself up for a volley from the left side of the penalty area into the far corner of the Swedish net. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is also showing scoring form. He came off the bench to give England the lead, but suffered a draw against Scotland. Alexis Sanchez also provided an assist off the bench, but suffered a draw in Chile's friendly with Russia.
Aaron Ramsey fared better, scoring a cheeky penalty to help Wales beat Serbia in their World Cup qualifier in Belgrade. Skodran Mustafi scored in Germany's World Cup qualifier victory over San Marino and Granit Xhaka opened the scoring for Switzerland as they beat Faroe Islands in their World Cup Qualifier. Most of the international qualifiers are against weak opposition (e.g. San Marino and Faroe Islands). An exception was Olivier Giroud's France's 3 - 2 victory over Alex Oxlade Chamberlain's England yesterday.
The most exciting football in June and July will be the Confederations Cup, which brings together the best teams from the world's football federations. Arsenal players who we can expect to see in action include Alexis Sanchez for Chile, and Skodran Mustafi for Germany. Mesut Özil is not expected to feature, as he was not called up to the German squad. Chile and Germany are both drawn in Group B, so they will face each other in the group stage. They will likely come first and second in their group and face Russia and Mexico in the semi-final. A Germany vs Chile final is likely. Let's hope to see Alexis Sanchez lifting the trophy in July.