On bank holiday
Monday, Vicente Del Bosque picked his 26-man squad for the Confederations Cup.
Amongst some raised eyebrows over the choice to pick Javi Garcia, and the moans
and groans about Raul Albiol and Alvaro Arbeloa being picked yet again, there
are our two Arsenal boys who were never in doubt of making it into the squad:
Nacho Monreal and Santi Cazorla.
Whilst a 26-man squad means that Del Bosque will have to
discard three players by Sunday, we can almost be certain that our two
Spaniards won’t be amongst the discarded. In fact, my money is on Javi Garcia, Beñat
and Roberto Soldado being the three discarded. Why? Because Del Bosque is known
for sticking with the players he’s used to on the international level; it
doesn’t disrupt the system. Those three are the outsiders, despite Beñat and
Soldado deserving their call-ups.
One thing that many Arsenal fans will be pondering on is the
fact that Mikel Arteta has been overlooked yet again. It makes next to no sense
as he’s been one of our best players this season and one of the best holding
midfielders in the league this season; statistically, he’s one of the best in
Europe. This may turn into a rant, but how does Javi Garcia get a spot ahead of
Arteta? Sure, Spain’s midfield is congested with world class talent, but Garcia
getting in ahead of Arteta is criminal. I would use the ‘big-club’ argument as
to why he was chosen, but I feel that’d belittle our club. My point is, Javi
Garcia was fantastic at SL Benfica, he gained a lot of interest from a host of
clubs and was even linked with a move to Arsenal at one point, but he hasn’t
even shown glimpses of his talent at Manchester City. The only logical reason
that he could’ve been chosen is the fact he can fill in at centre-back, but
even then Spain have Javi Martinez who is far superior to Garcia and can fill
in at centre-back if needs be.
One thing that we can almost take for granted is that Nacho
and Cazorla will travel with the squad for the Confederations Cup. And they
deserve it, unlike Garcia. Cazorla’s first season at Arsenal has been a huge
hit, whilst Nacho has been quite good since joining in January – taking into
account that he joined halfway through and was even thrown in against Stoke City
and Sunderland, two extremely physical teams, in a defence where he knew no one
and his English was very limited. Nacho has been a solid, consistent performer
who will provide Gibbs with a bit of healthy competition. Cazorla has been
majestic. Barring the period around boxing day and into a bit of January where
he was very inconsistent, he’s been incredible for us; whether he’s pulling the
strings or banging in the goals from all over the pitch, he’s almost always
involved in most Arsenal attacks.
In other international football news, the Spain U21 squad
for the Euro’s consists of a mighty zero Arsenal players. Not that we have many
Spanish starlets (I count two: Bellerin and Toral), but there’s one who has
been forgotten in recent times: Ignasi Miquel. The promising centre-back, who
can fill in at full-back, has stagnated in the past year or so. He hasn’t
really grasped his chances in the first-team, nor has he shone at youth level.
This is a shame considering Miquel showed so much promise and didn’t look half
bad when given a chance in the cup games.
When he scored this season against Coventry City, and kissed
the badge, I thought that was a good sign – one that’d give him the final push
to start making more appearances in the first-team as he was relatively good
that night – but nothing’s come of it. Some say he’s too slow, which isn’t a
problem, whilst others say he just isn’t good enough for the Arsenal. He’s been
linked with loan moves to Brighton & Hove Albion, but I feel as though that
ship has sailed. One team that’ll definitely show interest in him is Barcelona.
Not for their first-team, but in fact for the B team. As someone who knows La
Masia well and is Spanish, they’d almost certainly go in for him. His contract
is up this summer, according to some academy experts on the internet, whilst
others say it’s next summer. Regardless, I can’t see Miquel staying at Arsenal
past this summer. He’s not really made improvements as a player and is now 20
years of age. It’s time to go.