According to various reports, Arsenal will head to Dubai for a chunk of the six-week World Cup hiatus with friendlies against continental opposition a possibility.
The Gunners have six more fixtures before the Premier League presses pause at which point Mikel Arteta will give a breather to those players not selected by their countries.
In all likelihood, whoever is left (and some kids from the academy) will reconvene in early December for a couple of weeks of warm-weather training.
“It’s a possibility,” said the boss last week when asked if Arsenal could base themselves in the Middle East.
“We are planning, we have a few options that we are trying to close down. It will depend on how many players are selected, but yeah, we have a few plans.”
Arsenal have made a habit of training in Dubai in recent years. In March 2019, Unai Emery’s squad played a mid-season friendly against Al Nasr and we returned twice under Arteta in January 2020 and January 2022. The destination wasn’t selected by chance; Dubai is the home of headline sponsor Emirates airlines.
When Arsenal return to England, there may be further friendlies behind closed doors at London Colney. While the Covid-19 enforced stoppage to the 2019/20 season provides a precedent of sorts, it’s not really clear how this long break will affect players or the momentum clubs have built up prior to mid-November.
What’s clear is when things resume, we’ll want to hit the ground running. The games come thick and fast starting with West Ham on Boxing Day before a tricky trip to Brighton on New Year’s Eve. Newcastle’s visit to the Emirates on 3rd January kick-starts 2023.
Which Arsenal players could go to the World Cup?
We’ve gone with a traffic light system and reckon there are eight Gunners (already internationally capped) who are, injury permitting, definites for Qatar. A further four could make it. And four likely won’t make the cut despite their countries qualifying.
🏴 England – Saka, Ramsdale, White, Smith Rowe (injured)
🇺🇸 USA – Turner
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia
🇫🇷 France – Saliba
🇹🇳 Tunisia – Rekik (on loan)
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
🇯🇵 Japan – Tomiyasu
🇧🇪 Belgium – Lokonga
🇧🇷 Brazil – Jesus, Martinelli, Magalhaes
🇨🇭 Switzerland – Xhaka
🇵🇹 Portugal – Vieira, Cedric
🇬🇭 Ghana – Partey
🇰🇷 South Korea