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Fingers crossed: Arsenal players on international duty

Nine Gunners will be in action this international break.

Ireland v Wales - UEFA Nations League B Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

International breaks are not a favorite of lot of us here at TSF. They create opportunities for players to get hurt not playing for Arsenal, while the club still has to bear the brunt of the injury. I also find it difficult to get excited by the matches. I barely get invested in USMNT World Cup qualifiers, so I think you can guess how little international friendlies do for me. And at least until the competition develops some cachet, I view UEFA Nations League matches as little more than friendlies in disguise. Our friends at Royal Blue Mersey put together a nice Nations League explainer here.

Here are the Gunners who have been called into their national teams, the bracketed information next to the fixtures is where to find them either broadcast or streaming. If you don’t have ESPN+, the service offers a free 7-day trial for first time users. It also appears that ALL the UEFA Nations League matches are available to stream on Univision Deportes En Vivo, which requires cable provider authentication to access. Please do not discuss links to illegal streams here.

Bernd Leno, Germany
Russia 11/15 (ESPN+), Netherlands 11/19 (Univision Deportes, ESPN+)

Leno hasn’t gotten into a match for Germany since their third (meaningless) Confederations Cup match against Australia in June 2017, and he was only called into the side after Marc-Andre ter Stegen withdrew due to injury. Germany are in serious danger of relegation to League B; the match against The Netherlands is a must-win.

Sokratis, Greece
Finland 11/15 (ESPN+), Estonia 11/18 (ESPN+)

Greece are more or less guaranteed to be neither promoted nor relegated from League C in the Nations League. Let’s hope Sokratis fares better this break than he did last, where he picked up an injury that kept him out for most of the past month.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Armenia
@Gibraltar 11/16 (ESPN+), @Liechtenstein 11/19 (ESPN 3)

I was unable to confirm whether Mkhitaryan had been called into the Armenian national team but given that he is their captain, he almost certainly was. Armenia will be looking to bounce back after losing 1-0 to Gibraltar last break - it was Gibraltar’s first competitive international win (they were only admitted to FIFA in 2013).

Aaron Ramsey, Wales
Denmark 11/16 (ESPN 3), @Albania 11/20 (ESPN+)

Wales currently top their League B group, but Denmark are only two points behind them with a game in hand. A win on Friday would all but guarantee their promotion to League A.

Lucas Torreira, Uruguay
Brazil 11/16 (beIN Sports), France 11/20 (ESPN+)

The Uruguay-Brazil match on Friday is at the Emirates, so Arsenal fans will have a chance to watch their midfield dynamo play in his national team colors. Torreira will likely be one of the centerpieces of La Celeste going forward, especially as talismans Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani age out.

Granit Xhaka, Switzerland
Qatar 11/14 (ESPN+), Belgium 11/18 (ESPN+)

Keep an eye on that Switzerland-Belgium match - it will likely decide the winner of League A Group 2. The League A group winners will face-off in a playoff in June. The relative strength of the sides deployed will show us how much the countries care about the competition.

Matteo Guendouzi, France
@Netherlands 11/16 (ESPN+), Uruguay 11/20 (ESPN+)

Kudos to Matteo for earning his first call-up to the full national team (update: he was called up to the U-21 team, I need to brush up on my French). France currently top League A Group 1 and can clinch the group with a result against The Netherlands.

Alex Iwobi, Nigeria
@South Africa 11/17 (beIN Sports Connect), Uganda 11/20

The Super Eagles can clinch qualification to the Africa Cup of Nations with a win over South Africa on Saturday. The match with Uganda is just a friendly.

The most notable absence from national team rosters is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. According to Gabonese coach Daniel Cousin, the Gabonese federation received an email from the Arsenal medical staff telling them PEA could not play because he was still experiencing back pain. The “still” is significant there.

During the last international break, Aubameyang did not board the team flight to play against South Sudan, citing back pain. L’Equipe reported that Aubameyang was not injured, but that he refused to board the flight because it was not up to professional athlete standards.

It has been a tumultuous few months for Aubameyang and Gabon. In September, the federation named his father as co-coach of the national team alongside Daniel Cousin. But according to an Intsagram post from Aubameyang in response, his father had not accepted the position, was in poor health, and was not going to accept the position.

Sead Kolasinac, who usually plays for Bosnia-Herzegovina, does not appear to have been called in to the national team this time around, although I was not able to find confirmation.

Alexandre Lacazette was called into the French national team as an injury replacement for Anthony Martial, but declined the call-up to rest a minor groin injury. Mohamed Elneny and Stephan Lichtsteiner, who are both regulars for Egypt and Switzerland respectively, were not called in for injury reasons.