The fact that Arsenal, and many other big clubs in the Premier League and around Europe, have a good standard international keeper as the second choice in our squad, shows just how important the man behind the sticks is. It used to be that any goalie as good as the Colombia national side´s number 1 would not be happy playing second fiddle, but that is what David Ospina has to accept with Petr Cech our first choice.
Arsenal fans usually spend any international break in dread of losing more of our players to what is almost always a lengthy injury list, but for once Arsene Wenger has seen all of the Arsenal stars involved for their respective national sides return to north London without any problems.
On top of that the Gunners currently have a smaller injury list than most of our Premier League rivals, even though two of those on it, Petr Cech and Santi Cazorla, are two very key players for us. However, we have to see the manager’s latest injury update on the Arsenal website as a positive one.
There is no doubt that Arsenal are in a real dogfight to finish in the top four Premier League places and keep the remarkable record of getting into the Champions League in every full season with Arsene Wenger as manager. The Gunners also have the small matter of an FA cup trophy to challenge for.
A win in the final at Wembley in May would make both Arsenal and our manager the record winners of the famous old cup and that would definitely make this disappointing season a lot easier for us all to bear, but in a dogfight you need fighters and it is crystal clear that our biggest warrior out there on the pitch is Alexis sanchez.
There is no doubt that the big game of the Premier League weekend is the trip of Arsenal to face our old rivals Manchester United, and with all of the other main players in the EPL title race playing games after us that we really expect them to win it is a hugely important away game for Arsene Wenger and his players.
As usual, however, the month of November has thrown a number of problems at the Gunners and the manager has revealed in the press conference which you can see in full on the Arsenal website that our brilliant young defender Hector Bellerin will miss the trip to Old Trafford and around the next four weeks of action as the Spanish international has an ankle problem.
I am not sure exactly what the Arsenal and Brazil international defender Gabriel thinks is bad news, but maybe he is just glad that the ankle problem he picked up in the dying seconds of our pre-season win over Manchester City is not as long term as the knee problem affecting his Arsenal teammate Per Mertesacker.
Earlier today Gabriel seemed to suggest there was good news about his injury, as he took to scoial media to say that he was feeling better and it was not a big problem. Maybe not as big as Mertesacker’s reported five months on the sidelines I suppose, but BBC Sport have reported that the Brazilian is going to miss 6-8 weeks, so I would say that is pretty bad wouldn’t you?
Arsene Wenger was already aware that he would be missing quite a few of his key players when Arsenal kick off the new Premier League season against Liverpool next weekend. Because of their prolonged involvement at Euro 2016 with Wales, Germany and France, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud were due to come back to London Colney too late to feature in that first game.
There is always plenty for Arsenal fans to worry about and just recently there have been a couple of reasons to be concerned about one of our best players Alexis Sanchez. But today it appears that these are two things that we can stop stressing about at least.
Some Arsenal transfer rumours have been suggesting that the Chile international star is a transfer target of the Italian club Juventus and also that our striker wanted to make the transfer to the Serie A champions. The Sun has now revealed that the sporting director of Juventus himself, Giuseppe Marotta, has now admitted that they have had their transfer interest slapped away by Arsenal.
The first round of games in the current international break are now over and the Arsenal fans that have been nervously fearing some bad news over an injury to one of the Arsenal stars involved can now relax and enjoy their Easter Sunday and scoff some eggs.
The England win over Germany last night was the last of the first lot and saw two Arsenal players starting on either side. Mesut Ozil completed 90 minutes for Germany and claimed an assist for the opening goal scored by Toni Kroos. He must have thought it had set them on the path to victory when Gomez doubled the lead before halftime but England produced a spirited comeback to win it and Welbeck had a great game in the left forward position.
Arsenal may be happy to have the international break coming up for a number of reasons but Arsene Wenger also has a problem coming up when the Arsenal players return from representing their various nations and so the Frenchman may have to ask a big favour of the England national coach Roy Hodgson over his use of Danny Welbeck.
While this international break sees fewer arsenal stars than usual heading off, due to the injury problems of Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Santi Cazorla and the non-selection of players like Francis Coquelin and Nacho Monreal, we still have plenty of internationally involved players to worry about.
At least the injury situation at Arsenal Football Club has been better this season than it has in recent years. And the fact that many of the injury problems that our players like Jack Wilshere, Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla have had have been impact problems, so it does look like Arsene Wenger and the bringing in of a couple more fitness and conditioning experts has had a beneficial effect.
But we still have yet to see the unlucky Jack Wilshere play this season and have missed big players like Alexis Sanchez for significant periods. Perhaps the biggest loss, however, has been the absence of Santi Cazorla in the middle of the pitch.