Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you might have noticed the World Cup is taking place. In Qatar. In Winter. Madness.
Here’s a suitably in-depth round-up of Arsenal-related matters so far…
🏴 Bukayo Saka
Scored a brace and was voted player of the match as England beat Iran 6-2. Both goals were lovely; the first hammered in off the bar from a Harry Maguire head down and the second, a teasing dribble off the right wing ending with a deft left-foot curler that took a slight deflection. If the world wasn’t already aware of his talent, heads should be turning.
🏴 Ben White
As he reiterated this week, he hates watching football, so the 28 minutes of stoppage time added to England’s win felt particularly cruel. Hopefully, he’ll get off the bench at some point because you fear for the next person who sticks a microphone in his face.
🏴 Aaron Ramsdale
Spent the Iran match on the bench, presumably figuring out how best to wind up Hollywood actor Will Ferrell ahead of Friday’s clash with the USA.
🇺🇸 Matt Turner
Played the full 90 minutes as the USA drew 1-1 with Wales. Our backup keeper was pretty much a spectator in the first half but busier after the break when he was forced to tip over a Ben Davies header. Couldn’t do anything to prevent Gareth Bale’s penalty from finding the back of the net despite going the right way.
🇫🇷 William Saliba
Had a watching brief as France came from behind to hammer Australia 4-1. Ex-Gunner Olivier Giroud stole the headlines with a brace that sees him go level with Thierry Henry as the highest scorer in Les Bleus’ history. At 36 years and 53 days, he also became his country’s oldest player and scorer at the World Cup (Opta). Not just handsome, seemingly indestructible.
🇯🇵 Takehiro Tomiyasu
Struggling for fitness in the build-up to the tournament, Tomi started Japan’s match with Germany on the bench. He came on at half time with his country losing 1-0 and left the pitch with three points in the same pocket he keeps Mo Salah. Japan’s winner came seven minutes from the end of regulation time, courtesy of former Gunner Takuma Asano. The striker, another substitute, fired home at the near post after one of the best first touches we’ve ever seen. A fine, and very unexpected, win puts Japan in a prime position to qualify for the knockout rounds given they next play abject Costa Rica.
We’ll be back with another roundup once Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka and our Brazilian Gabis have been in action.