No Arsenal games, but that doesn’t mean our boys aren’t in action at EURO 2012. Our players’ performances so far have been a mixed bag, some have set the world alight, some wish the ground would open up and swallow them, and others have been warming the bench. Let’s check in on our European stars:
Szczesny – Had one really bad day at the office and hasn’t played since. Got his wires crossed with his defender terribly wrong and allowed Greece an easy open goal. If that wasn’t enough he was, perhaps unluckily sent off as he was one on one with his man. Did what he could, made himself big, but that’s the risk you have to take. To rub salt into the wound Smuda did not call him up for the third match (even though he was available after a one match suspension) which was disappointing. Szczesny is a mature goalkeeper with a world of confidence in him, I’m sure he’ll be fine, but this horror tournament, especially the fact he wasn’t recalled in the third game might test this confidence.
Arshavin – Why can’t be play like this for Arsenal? It is frustrating to see him make assist after assist for Russia, dictating the play, really showing his opponents who is boss. Overall a great tournament, but whether or not we’ll see him back at Arsenal remains to be seen. Massive shock to see his country bow out after such a great start.
Rosicky – Had a tough time of it in the opening game as his side was thrashed by Russia. Couldn’t really play his natural game in midfield, as he spent a lot of time tracking back. Against Greece this completely changed, his vision and movement were excellent as he found gaps in the Greek defence. Ruled out with injury for the game against Poland, let’s hope he makes a swift recovery.
Podolski – Has been quiet given his ridiculously high standards, however celebrated his 100th appearance in a Germany shirt with a goal. The youngest player ever in Europe to make 100 appearances for his country, what an achievement.
Mertesacker – Has been warming the bench.
Van Persie – Was playing in a team who severely underperformed. Had a couple of uncharacteristic misses against Denmark in the first game. Made up for with a brilliant right footed finish against the Germans, but overall wasn’t the shining star he is for the Arsenal, partially due to himself, but mainly due to a team who was poor, and played like a team of champions, rather than a champion team.
Bendtner – Surprisingly efficient and helped by a Denmark side who dug deep in a group of death, where they had nothing to lose. A brace against Portugal almost got them a priceless point.
Walcott - Came on very late against France, but really came into his own against Ukraine. His half hour burst started off with a dipping shot from outside the box, equalising for England. Then his weaving run set up Wellbeck for the winner. If ever there was an impact substitute.
Oxlade-Chamberlain – Started the game against France, adjusted well to the baptism of fire that was his first competitive game for his country. Made a few useful runs before being substituted late on. Hardly used against Ukraine.
Koscielny – Has been warming the bench.