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Confidence Is Key / International Matches

Morning to everyone, as we draw closer to the weekend, the deafening silence of the international break sets in. You all know my stance on having these games at such inconvenient times during the season, but such is life. We can only hope that the players will do well for their countries, and come back unharmed and reasonably rested for their next club match.

Should they be televised, there are a handful of matches that might be worth a watch. For those that haven’t seen him play, Stevan Jovetic of Fiorentina is playing against Lukas Fabianski on September the 7th. Montenegro isn’t exactly the football capital of, well, anywhere, but this young striker has put them on the map in recent years. Hopefully Fabianski will have a good match against him, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Viola man bag two goals. If you’re wondering why I’m talking about a player that is in no relation to Arsenal, it’s because he was a transfer target for us early on in the summer. There was talk of a player plus cash deal involving Marouane Chamakh, but obviously that deal never materialised. I have a feeling you’ll be hearing Jovetic’s name very, very soon.

Two more matches that might be worth a look are Senegal vs. Ivory Coast, and Wales vs. Belgium. Aaron Ramsey was doing very well with Team GB during the Olympics, and has looked more confident in his short cameos of late. I hope we don’t ask too much of Aaron this season, now that we’ve reinforced our midfield. Aaron’s time will come, but he was under way too much pressure and scrutiny last year, with the departure of Cesc Fabregas. It’s hard to believe we put so much weight on his shoulders, expecting him to replace someone who was competing for a place in the Spanish national team alongside Iniesta and Xavi without a hiccup. He never got off to the right start, and played far too many games for my liking. This season, he should be fresher and more eager to play now that he’s had some time off.

Gervinho hasn’t been at his best since the season kicked off, so maybe he just needs a change of pace to get his spark back. After all, the main reason we became interested in him in the first place was because Arsène saw him playing well for Ivory Coast in the 2010 World Cup. Hopefully Gervinho can recapture the great form he had in pre season, as we’re light on wingers, even more so with the pending departure of Andrei Arshavin to Dinamo Moskow. Gervinho is about as frustrating a footballer as they come, but anybody who’s watched him long enough knows he has something special. I think one of his best games in an Arsenal shirt came in the Champion’s League qualifying round against Udinese in the first leg. He was taking defenders on for fun, and feeding dangerous low crosses into the box. His main problem is he tends to hold on to the ball for too long, and overcomplicates his job by drawing two men to mark him. It may be down to confidence, technique, selfishness or another factor, but the issue remains: Gervinho, along with a few others, needs to improve.

One player who has made great strides in improving his game lately is none other than Vito Mannone. After injuries to Lukas Fabianksi and Wojciech Szczesny this month, we’ve seen Vito don the gloves twice so far, and he looks set to hold on to them.

“In my mind as well, I came back stronger and stronger [from my loan spell]. Especially after the mistake at Olympiacos – it’s never easy to come back, but when I’ve got my back against the wall, I don’t mind. I just roll up my sleeves and try to work because I know I can do well.

“When you’re No 1, you feel important and like the happiest man in the world,” he told Arsenal Player. “That sort of feeling gives me the chance to go onto the pitch with confidence. I had some good games [at Hull] and it was a great experience for me.


Mannone is a player who never had the time to impress anyone, but was always tucked away on loan or in the reserves if he was needed. I’m glad the Italian keeper has got some time in between the sticks for us, as he looks a solid backup option should Szczesny and Fabianski both get injured. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that he’s better than either of the aforementioned players, but he’s no slouch either. It’ll be interesting to see the competition between the three of them pan out this season, but I still think Fabianski has one foot out the door.

Really a slow day in terms of news, but hopefully we’ll learn more of team news and such down the road.

Until tomorrow.

Follow me on Twitter @MarshallArsenal

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