Gunners on Internationa Duty in Euro 2016
Euro 2016 – Match Week 2 brought new excitement as we observed the first time a team scoring more than two goals. Spain thrashed Turkey with a 3-0 score line while Belgium defeated the Republic of Ireland by the same margin. However, we witnessed another drama as Croatians blew up their 2 goal lead to the Czech Republic ending in a draw. Well, the original drama wasn’t the result but how Croatian fans threw smoke bombs and fought with others after Czechs pulled one goal back. That was a terrible display of sporting spirit. Anyways, I will only focus on Gunners performances here. It wasn’t any special compared to first Match Day performances rather they were average. Anyways let’s have a brief look:
Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny (France)
Olivier Giroud played 77 minutes and Laurent Koscielny played full 90 minutes helping France keep a clean sheet as the team won 2-0 against resilient Albanians. Compared to last game, where Giroud scored a header, he wasn’t effective overall. He did get some chances but sent them over the bar. The closest he came to scoring was when he hit the post from a cross delivered from the left wing. However, he got substituted in the 77th minute for Andre-Pierre Gignac. Another substitute Antoine Griezmann broke the deadlock in dying minutes and man of the match Dmitri Payet sealed all three points as he scored his second goal in the second match.
Granit Xhaka (Switzerland)
Granit Xhaka played full 90 minutes as he featured in a 1-1 draw against Romania. Borden Stancu again scored from the spot as Romania gained a shock lead in the 18th minute. However, Admir Mehmedi scored the equaliser from an amazing volley assisted by former Gunner Johan Djourou. Granit Xhaka was again calm and composed as he gave a mature performance maintaining the possession and dictating the play. However Swiss couldn’t win the game but Granit Xhaka earned another MOTM for his brilliant performance. Gooners, prepare yourself for a classy man arriving in the squad.
Aaron Ramsey (Wales) and Jack Wilshere (England)
Aaron Ramsey played full 90 minutes for Wales but he couldn’t help his team prevent from losing against England. Half-time substitutes Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge goals helped England come back from behind. Ramsey was again all energetic as he covered almost the whole pitch trying to disrupt England’s midfield and defence but all his efforts went in vain. Gareth Bale once again gave the lead to Wales scoring from a free kick (2nd free kick in the 2nd game). However, it wasn’t enough as Vardy equalised from close range and Wales switched off in dying stages to allow Daniel Sturridge to score from a beautiful build up. Jack Wilshere was an unused substitute.
Mesut Ozil (Germany) and Wojciech Szczesny (Poland)
Szczesny was declared unfit before the match as Poland boss Adam Nawalka confirmed he wouldn’t take part in their game against Poland. Former Gunner Lukasz Fabianski replaced him in goal. Mesut Ozil played full 90 minutes in Euros 2016 first goalless draw. Both sides came close to scoring as Goetze hit the side post while Milik couldn’t direct his header on goal. Mesut Ozil, later on, forced Fabianski into a good save, however, both sides couldn’t score.
Transfer Update: Surprisingly, the deal between Arsenal and AS Roma for another season loan for Szczesny looks to fall apart as reports suggest Roma has failed to meet the asking price. Arsenal now are planning to offer a new contract and discuss over possible new destinations for him.
Petr Cech (Czech Republic)
Petr Cech played 90 minutes in an amazing draw as Czechs earned a hard-fought point against Croatia coming back from 2 goals behind. Ivan Perisic broke the deadlock for Croatia just before the half time from a beautiful finish. While Ivan Rakitic doubled the lead from a beautiful chip over Cech. However, this wasn’t the end as former Gunner Rosicky assisted from a beautiful outside of the foot cross and Skoda latched onto the header. Interestingly, the match was interrupted as some Croatian fans threw smoke bombs and started a fight. The match was restored after a huge break and late drama occurred as Czech were awarded a penalty for a handball in the 93rd minute which was calmly buried by Tomas Necid. Nevertheless, it was an amazing game to watch.
Hector Bellerin (Spain)
Hector Bellerin was an unused substitute as Spain booked qualification with a 3-0 win against Turkey. Gunners target Alvaro Morata scored his first goal of the tournament as he headed a cross from fellow teammate Nolito. Later on, Fabregas chipped it over Turks defence and Nolito doubled the lead with a beautiful finish. After the halftime, Spain buried the game as Morata scored his second of the game and tournament at the end of a patient 21-pass build up.
Hence, Gunners couldn’t repeat the amazing displays they showed in the first week, but Euros is still a long way to go. I from behalf of whole Gunners fan base wish all the players all the best for upcoming games.