Arsenal fans and Arsene Wenger will spend today fretting about whether any of the Gunners will return to the Emirates with an injury, long term or not, after another round of pointless international games. The managers and governing bodies will say that they are vital for team building and for managers and players to get used to each other, but England do not play another competitive game until March 22nd next year.
In 125 days, Roy Hodgson and the players, who will be mostly different, will remember nothing about tonight, so why do they do it? Arsene Wenger blames it on the national football associations wanting to boost their income.
“There are a lot of politics behind these games, because when you see some teams travelling during this period, you think it is more to pay back some corporation, rather than preparing a team for the next official game.
“The friendlies in November, how can they prepare you for a game in February?
“I believe the friendly games are there as well to help some federations to raise money.
Because of this, some managers make sure their players are `unavailable` for these friendlies. Robin van Persie has got a thigh injury, apparently. He must have picked that up on the way home, because he played the whole match against Aston Villa and seemed to be fine.
Spain have flown all the way to Panama for a friendly, but many players from Real Madrid and Barcelona have been rested, as has Torres from Chelsea. So it will not really be the Spanish team but the reserves. Santi Cazorla has been picked and, because of the other players being missing, will probably play most of the game, and that has understandably dismayed Wenger.
“The problem is, not to have too much conflict with the interest of the club.
“For example, when we play this Saturday at 12.45 against Tottenham, and Santi Cazorla plays in Panama on Wednesday, you cannot say there is no conflict of interest.
“What is difficult to understand is why these games are not like the official games and on a Tuesday?”
It is a farce, Gooners, but until Wenger can get away with things the way Alex Ferguson and Manchester United do, there is little option but to cross our fingers and hope that all the Arsenal players emerge unscathed.