Just a few more reasons to hate international football.
The domestic hiatus is known to exasperate supporters, but it can be an especially hard time for club managers as they are forced to stand idly by and hope their squad reports back in good condition.
Arsenal might fare well on this occasion because three players – Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard and William Saliba – have all withdrawn from duty following minor knocks and will get two weeks off before the Premier League returns.
However, there have been times when disaster did actually strike on national-team excursions, and the impact of lost momentum/big injuries would hurt the Gunners long after the break had concluded.
Arsenal and the international break: 3 times when the Gunners were haunted by national duty
So, to honour both the current interval and Friday the 13th, here are three instances of when the international break haunted Arsenal.
1. Robin van Persie (2009/10)
Even the name alone might incur the wrath of fellow Gooners.
By 2009/10, Robin van Persie had long established himself at Arsenal but struggled with persistent leg injuries, and the battle reached crisis point in November 2009.
Only 15 minutes into a friendly match against the World Champions, Italy, the Dutchman ruptured his ankle ligaments and was forced to undergo surgery which would rule him out of action for five months- a devastating personal experience that also harmed our title dream.
The incident sparked a fiery exchange between Arsene Wenger and the Dutch FA, with the boss claiming KNVB had initially “minimised” the severity of Van Persie’s injury and were “disrespectful” in not immediately sending him back to be examined by club doctors.
While it is difficult to gauge the impact of his absence, Arsenal lost three of their next four games across all competitions (without scoring in each defeat) and ended the campaign in third place, nine points behind winners Chelsea.
Continued on the next slide…