Friday, February 23, 2024

Report: Destination Dubai as Arteta plans for World Cup break

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.

Group A
🇶🇦 Qatar
🇪🇨 Ecuador
🇸🇳 Senegal
🇳🇱 Netherlands

Group B
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England – Saka, Ramsdale, White, Smith Rowe (injured)
🇮🇷 Iran
🇺🇸 USA – Turner
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 Wales

Group C
🇦🇷 Argentina
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia
🇲🇽 Mexico
🇵🇱 Poland

Group D
🇫🇷 France – Saliba
🇦🇺 Australia
🇩🇰 Denmark
🇹🇳 Tunisia – Rekik (on loan)

Group E
🇪🇸 Spain
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
🇩🇪 Germany
🇯🇵 Japan – Tomiyasu

Group F
🇧🇪 Belgium – Lokonga
🇨🇦 Canada
🇲🇦 Morocco
🇭🇷 Croatia

Group G
🇧🇷 Brazil – Jesus, Martinelli, Magalhaes
🇷🇸 Serbia
🇨🇭 Switzerland – Xhaka
🇨🇲 Cameroon

Group H
🇵🇹 Portugal – Vieira, Cedric
🇬🇭 Ghana – Partey
🇺🇾 Uruguay
🇰🇷 South Korea

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Who doesn’t love a traffic light system?

Teryima Adi

White and Magalhaes should be at the party for England and Brazil respectively.


Staying local for transfer business too.
Sorry your country got knocked out, fancy joining the Premier League leaders?

Naked Cygan

Tierney, Holding, Odegard, Nelson and Nketia can have a good break too. Specially Tierney who can recover from and knocks and Odegard just needs a 2 week break to recharge. I also hope couple of our Brazilian guys stay too.


Arteta should take the squad to Pattaya, Thailand for a month-long party of boozing and… you know what I mean.

Perfect way to refresh for the second half of the season.

Mayor McCheese

and sightseeing?

A month-long booze binge, eh? And by refreshed you mean pancreatitis!


Fats, I’m as old school as the next fifty-something, but that truly made me wince…

Thanks to Arsene, those steak and lager days are long gone, my friend.

And – given the skill and quality of the passing game nowadays – good fucking riddance to them.


Haha our boys are too classy for that fats. It’s Saka and Emile-smith Rowe at the ping pong show. Whatever innocence they had left will be wiped after seeing razor blades coming out of a women’s…

Pat Fried Rice with Egg

Pattaya is for farangs only


Saka, Xhaka, Partey, Saliba, Ramsdale. The spine of the team. Now we need to see if there are players we can acquire in January who can give these players competition/alternative. Especially in Saka and Partey position, they really don’t have a proper alt in this squad Saka – Zaha (Marquinhos) – contract running down Partey – Savic (Smith) – 60m with potential Lokonga swap Xhaka – Luiz (Patino, on loan but Jan recall clause)(Smith) – will get bored under Emery playing in a 4231 and having to repeatedly makeup huge distances to cover the fullback. Saliba – Holding (Trusty, on… Read more »

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Luiz has just signed a new contract and Zaha doesn’t fit the profile. Plus Smith-Rowe and Elneny should be back by January.


I’m Glad we have some very very promising youngsters as backup. This year could be the year many clubs blood their youngsters and it will be interesting to see how our academy compares to others when it comes to the crunch part of the season. I wonder if Palace are still Interested in Eddie at 13m, as long as we can have Zaha for a cut price… Eddie is on 100k I’m sure that Zaha wouldn’t command much more than that since he is a fan and given palaces position and squad depth. Sure they are totally reliant on Zaha… Read more »


Not sure if I would trade in Eddie, especially for the likes of Zaha, who strikes me as being an overgrown sulky kid. But I do agree with you regarding academies. If more clubs gave chances to their youngsters, this might finally have an effect on the ridiculous transfer bubble and give these so-called overpriced and overpaid – and in some cases over the hill ‘Superstars’ something to think about. Nothing is amusing me or warming the cockles of my heart more at the moment than Man Utd’s problems with the worlds oldest three year old – Ronaldo. (And Keane… Read more »

It Is What It Is

I’d be going for Olise or Eze, if any. Ideally, Mykhaylo.

Horse breath

Red light, green light. Are we playing Squid Games with the team? How will that help with injuries? 😂


I wouldn’t rush to put Cedric in red despite him not having enough minutes this season. This is a man who was last selected for Portugal’s world cup playoffs. Knowing how coaches operate and how they tend to stick to a tried and tested gang when tournaments come around I’d put Cedric on the potential list


The only fly in the ointment of an otherwise great emerging Arsenal squad.

Never rated him and his performances in April and May should have been more than enough to warrant his exit from the club during the summer. That training spat with Lacazette spoke volumes too.

Arteta, it would seem, however, still has faith in him, which frankly is a concern.

That said, we need Tommi and Ben White fit for Nottingham Forest, so I would play Cedric against PSV, but only because he’s an available bod, not because he’s any good.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

It actually seems Mikel has lost faith in Cedric, don’t even think he has played yet this season, appears to be 3rd choose right back now. Likely a case of no other club wanting to pay his high wages.

Absolutely zero chance Mikel plays Cedric up against Gakpo tomorrow.


I don’t think Mikel really has any faith in Cedric, he never plays him unless he has to. He’s just one of those players who won’t go away, probably because he’s overpaid and nobody else wants him. I agree he needs to start against PSV and put a shift in, we need to use as many of the squad as possible to get us through to the break.


I have never looked forward less to the World Cup Finals than this impending farce.

Aside from being unable to look at the stadia without thinking about the poor buggers who died constructing it, it just doesn’t interest me.

The abuse that Saka got from missing that penalty has left a nasty taste in the mouth. And that’s from a dyed in the wool England fan.

“Roll on Boxing Day” will be my football mantra.


Don’t let the handful of pathetic cowards put you off. The love that Saka got from arsenal fans, and the ovations he received from opposition fans around the grounds shows the truth. England fans get a lot of slack for the actions of a minority of arseholes. But I share your sentiments about the world cup, not feeling the usual buzz either.


Totally agree with you. A winter World Cup is the dumbest idea ever. The World Cup is all about the summer. And the dodgy way the bid was won and the deaths of innocent construction workers leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

This is an unpalatable episode in the history of football. And for once I don’t care who wins.


White is going to the world cup no doubts

Jesus is probably orange as he didn’t make the last Brazil squad.

Wonder if there’s any chance Marcelo Flores makes the Mexico squad.

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