Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Arsenal Players: Their Hopes And Chances At Euro 2016

With Euro 2016 starting next week it's time to take a look at which Arsenal players will be at the tournament and how they might fare. I'll look into their individual chances and the chances their countries might have of glory too.

First up there's England and the only Arsenal player in their squad is Jack Wilshere. Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs have missed out because they simply haven't played enough for Arsenal in recent months and when Walcott in particular has played he's not been up to scratch. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck probably would have hoped to have been included too, but injuries have ruled them both out of proceedings.

Wilshere hardly kicked a ball all season for Arsenal due to his own injury problems and he's been included because of how well he was playing for England before that injury. It's a risk taking him and from an Arsenal perspective I'm not so sure it's the best thing for him or us. His game time could be limited as he hasn't had a chance to regain any form with so few minutes under his belt and there's a real prospect of him just making up the numbers.

England are in Group B along with Russia, Slovakia and Wales and they should be more than capable of at least emerging from their group to the knockout stages. There isn't too much to be feared from those three teams, but being England in tournament football you never know what might or probably will go wrong. If it comes to the crunch a team which could be packed with Spurs players can be relied on to bottle it as is their way. If they win their group or even come second in it the quarter finals are about as far as I think they might go, but qualifying in third place would probably see them go out straight away in the knock out stages.

Arsenal's joint largest contingent at Euro 2016 is in the French squad with both Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud playing for the hosts. Both of them look like they will be intrical parts of a French team who haven't done much on the international stage in quite a while. As hosts they have a chance though and they have a pretty strong looking squad too.

They have what looks like a fairly easy group with Switzerland, Romania and Albania to contend with. They should emerge from that group to the knockout stages and given the right draw they could go all the way. I'm not so sure though and I have a feeling they won't go any further than the semi finals at best.

Germany are the current World champions and go into this tournament as one of the favourites to win it. Mesut Ozil had more assists than any other player in the top five leagues in Eurooe last season and he was also Germany's player of the year yet again. He will have a large part to play as Germany attempt to add the European title to the World title they won two years ago.

They are in a group containing Poland, Ukraine and Northern Ireland and they will be strong favourites to win that group. The talent available to Germany is vast and they are more than capable of winning the tournament if they can get the balance right. I wouldn't be surprised to see them in the final, but if they don't make it they will probably go out to a team who hit them on the break.

The Czech Republic have both Petr Cech and Tomas Rosicky in their squad and Rosicky is technically still an Arsenal player I think. Cech is sure to be in their team and Rosicky will probably play too if he can stay fit. Cech won the golden glove in the Premier League in his first season at Arsenal, but injuries yet again robbed us of Rosicky. 

The Czech's are in a strong group with Spain, Croatia and Turkey, but they are more than capable of making it through to the next stage. They can mix it with the best teams and won't be easy for any team to beat. I don't think they have enough to win the tournament, but a trip to the semi finals is certainly not beyond them.

Arsenal new boy Granit Xhaka will be playing for Switzerland and we should get to see what you can buy with £25 million these days. They're in group A along with France, Romania and Albania. From what I've seen of Switzerland I haven't been overly impressed and they're by no means certain to make the knockout stages even with 16 of the 24 teams qualifying.

If they do get out of their group they will need a favourable draw to make it to the last eight and would surely be the very best they could hope for. Even if Switzerland don't progress from their group we will at least get to see Xhaka strut his stuff in those games. There's a lot of hopes and expectations for him at Arsenal next season and we might just get the chance to see him live up to them for his country.

Wojciech Szczesny is another Arsenal player who's just about still at the club and he could easily be on his way this summer after spending the season on loan at Roma. He'll be in the Polish squad for the tournament and it will probably be a straight choice between him and former Arsenal keeper Lukasz Fabianski for the keeper's shirt. Poland beat Germany in the qualifiers and will be hopeful of putting in a strong performance in the finals.

They're in a tough group with Germany, Ukraine and Northern Ireland and getting out of the group will be no tough task. They can give any team a good game in the knockout stages if they get there and I wouldn't be surprised to see them make the last eight. Maybe Szczesny can have a good tournament and add a little to his value before he ends up at another club when the tournament is over.

Wales haven't played at an international tournament since who knows when and they were overjoyed to reach Euro 2016. It will be far from easy for them in a group containing England, Russia and Slovakia, but they will still be hopeful of making it to the last 16 at least. Aaron Ramsey is a very important player for them with only Gareth Bale ahead of him in terms of his importance to the team.

If they're going to progress from their group they will have to defend in depth and use Bale's ability on the break. That formula got them to the finals, but it might not be enough to help them go any further. Third place in the group might be enough to make the last 16 if they can win one group game, but it won't be an easy task.

I thought that would have been it for Arsenal players at Euro 2016, but Hector Bellerin has got a late call up to the Spanish squad after one of their defenders was injured in the Champions League final last Saturday night. He's had a great season for Arsenal and is a very good attacking full back even if he still has some work to do on his defending. The chances are he won't get to play too much, but the experience certainly shouldn't do him any harm.

Spain will be hopeful of retaining the title they have won on the last two occasions and they still have a very strong squad even if they did fail miserably at the World Cup two years ago. They will be fancied to win a group which contains Croatia, the Czech Republic and Turkey, but it won't be easy for them. Once they make it to the knockout stages they are more than capable of winning the tournament just like a few other teams and they have to be considered to be among the favourites.

There's a total of 10 Arsenal players on show at Euro 2016 and watching them play for their countries should at least help to pass the time as we wait for the real football to return next season. Quite a few of those players have a genuine chance of going very far in the tournament and we might even get to see one of them lift the trophy next month. Of course the further any players go into the tournament the less likely they are to return in time for the start of the new season, but every other team has to deal with those problems too. For the moment we will have to watch and hope that we get all of our players back in one piece and raring to go for the new season.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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