Things Gooners need to know during the World Cup

Our ten Gunners at the World Cup

After the longest gap between World Cups since the 1940s, the wait is finally over for all Gooners across the globe, dreaming of seeing their nations lift the famous gold trophy.

We may have 10 players representing the club in Qatar, but there are also plenty of other Arsenal-related subplots to look out for during the festival of football over the coming weeks.

Here is what you should be keeping your eye on:

Clubmates clashing

Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Jesus

We know there will be two occasions during the group stage when members of our current squad will be putting their club unity to one side for 90 minutes. 

The first occasion is when the USA face England on Friday, November 25 as Matt Turner aims to keep Bukayo Saka, Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale at bay, while on Monday, November 28 Granit Xhaka will face off against Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus.

That trio could face Thomas Partey in the round of 32 if Ghana get out of their group, while there could be a crunch clash between William Saliba’s France and our Three Lions if both teams progress to the quarter-finals as group winners.

Backroom call-ups

Arsenal soft tissue therapists Will Storey and Takahiro Yamamoto

As well as our players, two of our backroom team have also been selected to head to the Middle East - and they’re both soft tissue specialists.

Will Storey is part of Robert Page’s Wales team, having been a member of staff with us for over five years, while Takahiro Yamamoto has linked up with the Portugal squad having worked at the club since 2015.

Former Gunners

Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey

There will be a host of our ex-players to watch, including a trio of goalkeepers who are regulars for their respective nations. Emi Martinez will hope to get the nod to start between the posts for Argentina, Mat Ryan continues to be Australia’s number one and Wojciech Szczesny is still starring for Poland, who is joined in their squad by another old boy in Krystian Bielik.

France’s squad contains Olivier Giroud and Matteo Guendouzi, while former academy product Yunus Musah is part of the USA squad alongside Turner. Aaron Ramsey will be hoping to match his Euro 2016 and 2020 exploits at a World Cup for Wales, while Lucas Torreira could play a big part for Uruguay.

A number of former attackers will also heading to Qatar, as Joel Campbell has been selected for Costa Rica, Takuma Asano will be a teammate of Tomiyasu for Japan, and Serge Gnabry will be hoping to continue his impressive return of 20 goals in 36 caps for Germany going.

Getting shirty

Takehiro Tomiyasu playing for Japan

If you’re looking at getting a replica jersey to support your favourite player at the tournament, the squad lists have been revealed.

To be expected, Turner has been handed the USA’s number one shirt, while his fellow shot-stopper Ramsdale is 23 with England, who also handed Saka 17 and White 21.

Saliba also took number 17 for France, while Gabriel Jesus is 18 for Brazil, with Gabriel Martinelli given the highest-possible 26. Takehiro Tomiyasu is Japan’s number 16, Xhaka selected 10 for Switzerland while Partey gets his preferred 5.

On the box

Ian Wright working for ITV Sport

We are also well-represented in the media when the tournament gets underway. As well as Alex Scott hosting for the BBC, Martin Keown will be on commentary duties while Invincible Gilberto Silva will be giving his views on the action. 

Over on ITV, Ian Wright and Karen Carney are set to be prominent pundits, as well as former academy star Hal Robson-Kanu, while our ex-stars Lee Dixon and John Hartson will be behind the mic during games. 

Kelly Smith will also be providing analysis for US-based Gooners on Fox, while Arsene Wenger can be seen on BeIN Sports alongside Lianne Sanderson.

Illustrious company

Cesc Fabregas lifts the World Cup for Spain

All 10 of our players will hope to reach the final at Lusail Stadium on December 18, and add their names to our roll of honour when it comes to the tournament.

Seven players have returned to the club as world champions, starting with George Eastham who was a member of England’s 1966 squad, although he didn’t feature in the tournament.

The first to play in a final were Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira in 1998, with the former the only player to net in the showpiece during his time as a Gunner.

12 years later, Cesc Fabregas became our first home-grown victor when he helped Spain triumph, while four years later we had a hat-trick of gold medallists when Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski all tasted glory for Germany.

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