By Chris Harris
International weeks are rarely welcomed by club managers and, for Arsène Wenger, the timing of the latest break is even worse than normal.
Arsenal have been flying at home and in Europe, rattling off six successive wins to make steady progress in the Premier League, Champions League and Carling Cup. They have scored 18 goals and kept four clean sheets in that period but club matters will have to be put on hold as World Cup qualifiers take centre stage.
Wenger can do nothing about the international exodus from Arsenal's training ground except hope for his players' safe return. In the meantime, the Frenchman can take stock on a season which has already given him plenty of cause for optimism.
"The timing of this international break is bad but hopefully our players will come back without injuries," Wenger told Arsenal.com earlier this week.
"I hope as well that we can get some players back [from injury] like Samir Nasri, like Manuel Almunia, like Lukasz Fabianski, during this break.
"Looking back at the season so far, what has impressed me most is the quality of the attitude and the spirit, the quality of our team play and the fact that even when we had disappointing results, like at Manchester United and Manchester City, the quality was still there.
"The resolve in the games afterwards was even stronger. So at the moment it looks good and we are very hopeful for the future."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source