Arsenal: What To Watch For In Round One Of Euro 2016

France's forward Olivier Giroud celebrates his goal during the friendly football match between France and Scotland, at the St Symphorien Stadium in Metz, Eastern France, on June 4, 2016. / AFP / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
France's forward Olivier Giroud celebrates his goal during the friendly football match between France and Scotland, at the St Symphorien Stadium in Metz, Eastern France, on June 4, 2016. / AFP / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images) /

Euro 2016 has arrived and eight Arsenal players are set to compete for European glory for their respective nations. What can we expect to see from them?

With the 2015-2016 Premier League season at a close, football fans can rejoice in the fact that there is still a lot of football left to play this summer. Euro 2016 is upon us and Arsenal fans will be keen to see how the players fare for their respective countries during the month long tournament.

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In total, eight Arsenal players will be taking part in the competition, representing seven different nations. Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny will hope to deliver the title to the host nation, while Mesut Ozil will look to help Germany follow up their World Cup triumph with a European championship. New signing Granit Xhaka will lineup for Switzerland, while Jack Wilshere is likely to be England’s creative outlet in midfield.

Whatever the outcome, Euro 2016 promises to be an entertaining tournament with such a plethora of talent to display. Here is what you can expect from Arsenal’s talent during the first round of group stage fixtures.

Czech Republic v Spain: The first fixture to pit two Arsenal players against each other. Petr Cech will undoubtedly be in goal for the Czech Republic, as he has be a mainstay in the Czech National team for quite sometime. He faces a huge challenge in a revitalized Spain squad that could feature Hector Bellerin.

Arsenal’s speedy right-back was inserted into Spain’s contingent for the Euros after Danny Carvajal’s injury ruled him out of the competition. He is likely to start behind Juanfran though, so Cech may be the only Arsenal player to feature in this game. I expect Cech to have a strong game, but this is a different Spanish side than the one we saw at the World Cup. He may struggle to record a clean sheet against a potent Spanish attack.

England v Russia: There was quite a lot of negative buzz surrounding Jack Wilshere’s inclusion in England’s squad for the Euros given his lack of play this season, but it is unwarranted. As Roy Hodgson said, Wilshere is there on merit. There isn’t another midfielder like him in England’s ranks, and there isn’t a doubt in my mind that he will be their most valuable player in this tournament.

Against Russia, he will provide the creativity and clear cut passes that the likes of Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane will need to hit the back of the net. He is comfortably England’s best midfielder on his day, so I expect him to have a huge impact on this game, and on the tournament.

France v Romania: For Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny, there is a lot riding on this tournament, and they face a bit more pressure than any other Arsenal players in the competition. Playing at home, the two Frenchman will look to bring a European championship to the host nation, and will start out versus Romania.

Giroud will almost certainly start for France upfront, and I expect him to continue his pre-tournament form in this game. Giroud has been scoring non-stop for France in the build up to the Euros, so the only thing that may stop him could be the immensity of playing in front of the home fans.

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It looks as though Laurent Koscielny will take his place in the starting XI, with Didier Deschamps using the Arsenal man often in the run up to the tournament. Koscielny had a solid season for Arsenal, so hopefully that will translate into success for his national team.

Wales v Slovakia: This will be Aaron Ramsey’s first time playing in the Euros after Wales’ hardfought qualification for the tournament. Ramsey will line up alongside Real Madrid man Gareth Bale in their first fixture of the competition, where they will face Slovakia.

Ramsey has produced a mixed set of performances in his last few appearances for his country, so his play in Wales’ opener is anyone’s guess. However, playing alongside an elite footballer in Bale may cause him to raise his level of play to that of his compatriot. Either way, Ramsey will be looking to put in a good performance in his first ever appearance at the Euros.

Germany v Ukraine: Mesut Ozil’s first match at Euro 2016 will prove to be a tough one, as the Ukrainians are no pushovers. The Germans have not had the best run-in to the competition, but once it gets going, you would have to think that the Germans will as well.

Ozil played a huge role in Germany’s World Cup win two years ago, and should they triumph again, Ozil will likely have a sizable role. For the time being, Ozil and Germany will look to navigate their way through what could prove to be a tricky opening match.

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Switzerland v Albania: Arsenal fans will be watching this match with intrigue, as their shiny new signing is likely to be in the Swiss team’s starting lineup. Granit Xhaka will give his new fans a glimpse of what is to come next season. From what I’ve heard, you can expect Xhaka to be an anchor in Switzerland’s midfield. He will most likely be tasked with controlling the tempo for Switzerland, and threading the needle for the Swiss forwards.