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Tuesday Cannon Fodder: international broken

England Training Session and Media Day - St. George’s Park - Tuesday 5th September Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images

It’s Tuesday, so y’all know what that means — I’m feeling a bit saltier than I do the rest of the week. So I’m going to snarl a bit this morning, and the focus of my ire is the international break, specifically with how it relates to Arsenal right now.

We’ll start with the premise that international breaks are generally dumb. They’re a way for FIFA, regional governing bodies, and federations to line their own pockets. They invent competitions like the Nations League to create more inventory to sell to advertisers and broadcasters. The players already play too many matches, and adding the veneer of competition to more of them creates more opportunities for players to get hurt.

That’s where Arsenal come in, unfortunately. Last season, Thomas Partey reportedly picked up an injury while away with Ghana that hampered him down the stretch. It wasn’t the first time that he’s gotten hurt while away from the club, either.

There was a momentary panic today (overnight in the U.S.) when Bukayo Saka didn’t train outside with the England team. He reportedly is fine and was just working out inside, but we don’t need that kind of noise in our lives. It’s Bukayo’s birthday today, as well. Perhaps he was given a lighter workload as a present.

Gareth Southgate has an annoying habit of playing Saka for way more minutes than he reasonably should be, especially in meaningless friendlies. If it were the Arsenal staff calling the shots, the star player who plays almost all the minutes available to him at the club would get a bit more rest.

Gabriel Jesus, who just returned after a month out recovering from a procedure to clean up his surgically repaired right knee, was called into the Brazil camp. He wasn’t fit enough to start for Arsenal, just to come on as a substitute. His (and Arsenal’s) season would be much better served by remaining at London Colney, working on his strength and fitness with the trainers and medical staff that know him and his particular injury / recovery better than anybody else. The Brazil staff have a different set of incentives to work towards.

Taking a step back, international breaks interrupt the flow of the season. Arsenal are coming off a massive win against Manchester United. They’d definitely carry that momentum into next weekend and beyond, except there isn’t an Arsenal match for nearly two weeks. To be fair, international breaks can also come at times when the club need some time off to regroup and turn around some poor performances / bad results.

But yeah. I don’t like international breaks. Apologies to my sister, who works for UEFA.