Saturday, February 4, 2023

World Cup round-up: 765 minutes of mixed fortunes

After four matches a day for more than a week, we’re both behind in our World Cup round-ups and frazzled by the amount of football that’s been played.

After a while, it all starts to blur into a non-stop montage of goals and emotional fan close-ups soundtracked by a jaunty Ally McCoist.

Anyway, here’s what the Arsenal boys have been up to…

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 BUKAYO SAKA

Having starred against Iran, Bukayo was comparatively muted against the USA. He did tee up ex-Arsenal striker Harry Kane early doors but on a night when England’s best player was Harry Maguire, he wasn’t the only one to underperform. England remain top of Group B ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Wales.
Total minutes played: 149 (exc. stoppage time)

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 AARON RAMSDALE

He’ll be annoyed that his teammates didn’t get the job done against the USA because a dead rubber group game might just have been his best chance of World Cup minutes.
Total minutes played: 0

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 BEN WHITE

Another 90 minutes of his life was wasted watching football. Apparently, he’s now ‘ill’ so he may well escape bench-warming duty on Tuesday.
Total minutes played: 0

🇺🇸 MATT TURNER

Made a very decent stop low to his right to deny Mason Mount in the first half of his country’s 0-0 draw with England. Spent much of the second half twiddling his thumbs as the game petered out. A win against Iran will see the USA progress to the knockout stages.
Total minutes played: 180 (exc. stoppage time)

🇫🇷 WILLIAM SALIBA

On the bench again as his country overcame Denmark 2-1 courtesy of Kylian Mbappe’s brace. With qualification assured, it’s likely Didier Deschamps will shuffle his pack for the game with Tunisia. If he does, Saliba is in with a chance of some game time.
Total minutes played: 0

🇯🇵 TAKEHIRO TOMIYASU

In the aftermath of Japan’s incredible win over Germany, Tomiyasu revealed he’d tweaked a hamstring and would likely miss the match with Costa Rica. While he was fit enough to take up a place on the bench, he wasn’t risked as his countrymen were downed 1-0. Japan face Spain in their final game with all four sides in Group E still able to qualify for the knockout stages.
Total minutes played: 45 (exc. stoppage time)

🇬🇭 THOMAS PARTEY

Ghana are still in with a chance of making the knockout stages after a couple of goal-laden matches. They went down 3-2 to Portugal in a game that was 0-0 after the hour-mark and then beat South Korea 3-2, recovering their composure after letting a two-goal lead slip. Their fate will be decided against Uruguay; the country that cheated them out of a place in the 2010 semi-finals. It’s sure to be a spicy affair.
Total minutes played: 180 (exc. stoppage time)

🇨🇭GRANIT XHAKA

Talismanic for Switzerland at last year’s Euros and in fine form for Arsenal, the scene was set for Xhaka to take his third World Cup by storm. It hasn’t really panned out that way. He’s been quiet in both the 1-0 win over Cameroon and the 1-0 defeat to Brazil. Given his Albanian roots (and THE incident in 2018), something tells us, he’ll be up for their last group game with Serbia.
Total minutes played: 180 (exc. stoppage time)

🇧🇷 GABRIEL JESUS

A late substitute in the wins over Serbia and Switzerland, he’ll be hoping for more game time now that Tite’s side have secured safe passage to the knockout rounds. The highlight so far was probably the way he chased down and dispossessed Granit Xhaka in the dying seconds of this evening’s win. Given the Swiss had said he’d have no qualms giving him a ‘smash’ if necessary, he couldn’t help but laugh at the tenacity shown by his Arsenal teammate.
Total minutes played: 28 (exc. stoppage time)

🇧🇷 GABRIEL MARTINELLI

A three-minute cameo wouldn’t normally be much to shout about but when you’re 21 and making your World Cup debut, it’s little surprise he was over the moon with his substitute cameo against Serbia. Taking to social media, he labelled it, “an unforgettable moment.”
Total minutes played: 3 (exc. stoppage time)

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Dave C

Your Partey section has Ghana playing Serbia rather than South Korea

Cranky Colin

Please come back fit boys for our top 5 push….. and maybe more🍾

Mesut Ö’Neill

Top 5 push 🤨

That’s some low expectations brother

Cranky Colin

I’m older than u bro!

Been living under a rock since August then.

Onenil

I haven’t been watching but that picture looks intriguing. The Arsenal players take turns to give each other piggyback rides, yes?

TeeCee

I reckon that’s a pic of FIFA’s latest, crowd-pleasing idea.
Multinational knights on horseback.
There will be foam lances and pillows as soon as enough money changes hands for some supplier to be awarded the contract.

Pat Fried Rice with Egg

We can name it Sarcastaball

Arsenati

Hopeful Saliba gets a roll out on Wednesday – kid deserves the cap

A Different George

He has played in competitive matches for France before, so he has already been capped. But, sure, it would be great for him to get time in the World Cup. Varane, despite injury doubts, has been great for France, but there is no chance Deschamps will risk him in a dead rubber. So Saliba moves up one place for the right-sided cenre half start.

Collibosher

I was impressed with Turner coming off his line to take crosses from set pieces.

Dlo

I like Japan a lot, planning a visit there next year. But I am rooting hard against their advancing. Sorry Tomi, but I’d much prefer you resting that hamstring in Dubai than Qatar

Teryima Adi

Our boys are doing great at the world cup. Chances are one or two of them would be world champions come December 18, 2022.

Boy Bastin

Bit of a mixed bag so far, but it’s still relatively early days for many of the players. Hopefully Jesus in particular will get more playing time and with it opportunities to get a goal. It would be good to see Saliba get on the pitch as well. Not sure we’ll see either Ramsdale or White now, but you never know. Obviously, the key thing will be (for Arsenal) that nobody who does play from now on picks up an injury.

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