Arsenal Players Progress Report from Euro 2012
With the second round of group games now complete at Euro 2012 the tournament is well and truly in full swing. So far the football on display has been very good for the most part, and a few Arsenal players have played a role in making the tournament a success. I'll attempt to give my views on which Arsenal players have impressed the most so far.
Wojciech Szczesny started the tournament as Poland's first choice goalkeeper, but he didn't fare too well in their first game. Greece's equaliser was partly his fault, and he then received a red card in the incident which saw Greece gain a penalty. The chances are Greece would have scored and won if Szczesny hadn't given away the penalty, and his red card may just have saved them a point.
Unfortunately for Szczesny his replacement saved the penalty, and played quite well in the next game when Szczesny was obviously suspended. Szczesny didn't regain the keeper's shirt for Poland's final group game, and their defeat to the Czech Republic saw them exit the competition at the group stages. The tournament could have gone better for Szczesny, but I am still sure he has a very bright future in football for both Arsenal and Poland.
Tomas Rosicky had played the attacking midfield role for the Czech Republic in their first two games, and he has continued the form he showed for Arsenal in the second half of last season. He made their goal in their 4-1 defeat to Russia, and he played an important role in their 2-1 win over Greece too. He missed the win over Poland due to injury, but I have no doubt he will play in the quarter finals if he is fit to do so.
Rosicky is one of three Arsenal players wearing the coveted number 10 shirt for his country, and he has performed very well as their creative force in midfield.Their next game will be against the runners-up of group B, and it will be a very tough test for them. A fully fit Rosicky would certainly be a welcome boost for the Czech's in their attempt to progress to the last four.
Will Theo Walcott start for England against Ukraine?
Andrey Arshavin is still an Arsenal player despite being on loan to Zenit St. Petersburg, and he is also the captain of Russia. He played a huge role in their 4-1 victory over the Czechs in their first game, as the Arshavin of old shone. He took players on and beat them at will, and he created plenty of goalscoring opportunities for his teammates.
A win in Russia's second game against Poland would have seen them qualify for the last eight with a game in hand, and Arshavin was seen as the man who could make that happen. When the going got tough against Poland, Arshavin faded from the game and his inconsistencies were there for all to see yet again. At times he looks like the world class player Arsenal signed a few years ago, but he can also appear lazy and disinterested too.
His defensive duties are very limited for his national team, and he can save all of his energies for attacking. He still has the incredibly annoying habit of losing interest when his passes go astray or his team's attacks break up. Despite putting in a reasonable performance in Russia's final group game Arshavin was unable to prevent their defeat to Greece and their elimination at the group stages.
Unfortunately for Arsenal that means Arshavin won't get another chance to put himself in the shop window for potential new employers. I am almost certain Arsenal will sell him this summer with Zenit being the most likely destination for his talents.
Arsenal new boy Lukasz Podolski has played in both of Germany's victories so far, as they look destined for a very good tournament. Despite winning their first two games their qualification for the last eight is not certain yet in a very open group. Podolski hasn't scored yet, but he performed a little better in the second game than the first one.
He looks to be a permanent fixture in their starting 11, and hopefully his influence will increase as the Germans progress through the tournament. At the moment it's very hard to see exactly what player Arsenal have signed for next season, but he must have plenty to offer to be a first choice in such a strong team.
Robin van Persie has led the Dutch attack in their two defeats, but they can still make the quarter finals if results go their way. The defeats to Denmark and Germany were severe blows to the hopes of a Dutch team who were seen as one of the pre-tournament favourites. If they are to make the quarter finals they quite simply have to beat Portugal and beat them well.
RVP missed a few chances in those two games, but he managed to get their only goal so far in the 2-1 defeat against Germany. If The Dutch can somehow make it out of the group they will have to play a lot better to progress, and RVP could still be the man to bag their goals.
Another Arsenal player who spent last season out on loan is Nicklas Bendtner, and he has had a good start to the tournament with Denmark. He didn't manage to score in the victory over Holland, but he got both goals in the 3-2 defeat against Portugal. Hopefully they can get the right result against Germany to make it through to the quarter finals, and add a few pounds to Bendther's price tag when Arsenal eventually manage to sell him.
AlexOxlade-Chamberlain was chosen to play in England's first game against France, and he had a pretty good game. He was left out of the next game, as Roy Hodgson decided to play with two strikers. He did manage to come on for the last few minutes, and there is every possibility he will get another chance before the tournament is over.
Chamberlain is still only 18 years old, and his future looks incredibly bright. His experiences as part of the England squad will hopefully help him to become an even better player for Arsenal. It certainly won't be easy for Arsene Wenger to leave him out of the team quite so often next season after his experiences at Euro 2012.
Theo Walcott only managed a couple of minutes as a substitute in England's first game, but he got a longer run out against Sweden. He came on in the second half with England 2-1 down, and managed to be the impetus they needed to turn the game. He scored the equaliser for them before setting Danny Welbeck up to score England's winning goal.
England now look bound for the last eight, and surely Walcott will get more game time after his display against Sweden. There are other players under-performing in the England team, and I would be very surprised to see Walcott on the bench in their final group game.
There are a few other Arsenal players in the tournament, but at the moment they have all been confined to warming the benches for their countries. Perhaps Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker will get their opportunities before the tournament is over, but they look destined to remain squad players for their countries in my opinion.
That's it for today.
See you tomorrow.
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