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How will Euro 2016 affect Arsenal players next season?

As one of the leading clubs in the Premier League, Arsenal FC has many high-profile players in France with their national sides for Euro 2016 and the hope for Arsene Wenger is that they return fit and, hopefully, buoyed up for next season.

Of the current Arsenal first-team squad, no less than eight players are at Euro 2016. They are:

  • Héctor Bellerín, Spain: A Squad player for the reigning European champions, he may not get a lot of game time but the 21-year old has his whole career ahead of him.
  • Petr Čech, Czech Republic:  The veteran keeper had a fine season for Arsenal, his first after leaving Chelsea, and will provide that solidity between the goals that the Czech Republic will need if they are to get out of their group at Euro 2016.
  • Olivier Giroud, France:  For all the criticism of Giroud that he is not a world-class striker he scores goals and 18 in 50 caps for France suggests he is in with a chance of finishing as top scorer, especially because the tournament hosts are one of the favourites.
  • Laurent Koscielny, France:  The Arsenal captain has become a key defender for France and will have to be at his best as the country advances to the knock-out stages, where a single mistake at the back can mean elimination from the tournament.
  • Mesut Özil, Germany:  Özil is part of Germany’s current golden generation and the country are current World Champions, making them a favourite for Euro 2016. Özil. From his position in midfield, helps orchestrate many of Germany’s potent attacks.
  • Aaron Ramsey, Wales:  Wales are at their first big tournament since 1958 and Ramsey and his teammates do not have the same pressure on them as other, more high-profile sides. That may play to their advantage as they seek to reach the last 16.
  • Jack Wilshere, England:  Wilshere had an injury-hit season in 2016-16 and in his absence the England midfield went in a different direction personnel wise but the Arsenal man can still be expected to play a role. 
  • Granit Xhaka, Switzerland:  A post-season signing from Borussia Mönchengladbach, the Swiss captain has a high reputation for skill and strength and will have a key role to play for a side that is much admired.

Arsene Wenger would be expected to strengthen the squad in the summer, especially in light of the season just concluded when an expected run at the title ultimately failed to materialize. The signing of Granit Xhaka is a statement of intent, certainly, given the Swiss midfielder’s reputation for power and versatility, but the club’s fans are unlikely to be satisfied with just his arrival. Rumours of a move to sign to sign Jamie Vardy from champions Leicester City persist and Arsenal have also been linked with Edinson Cavani of Paris Saint-Germain and Álvaro Morata of Juventus, big-name strikers both.

In terms of how fresh Arsenal players might returning from Euro 2016 to face into the 2016-2017 season the sheer intensity of the Premier league compared to other leagues across Europe and worldwide has to be taken into account. The Premier league is a highly competitive one and the cliché about there being no easy games almost certainly rings true as far as England’s top clubs are concerned. Another factor adding to the strain of the Premier League season on players is the absence of a winter break, with a full round of games traditionally scheduled for December 26st and other games played across the Christmas period. Last season, Wenger gave Chilean forward Alexis Sánchez extra time off after his country reached the final of the Copa America, but it would seem unlikely that he will grant his players returning from Euro 2016 quite the same level of flexibility this time around. The debate around the need for a winter break is something that comes up each season in the Premier league but no solutions have been found yet.

Given the nationality of certain Arsenal players, it can be expected that they will feature in the latter parts of the tournament and might even emerge as winners. For the latest odds on tournament favourites and who might win the Golden Boot as top scorer, check out the latest news online from reputable sites such as the 888sport blog.   

Whether Euro 2016 is something that will adversely affect Arsenal and its players in the 2016-17 season is an open question right now. Going on experience, none of Arsenal’s three Premier League titles came in the season following a major international tournament, but as the saying goes about investment products, past performance is not a guide to future performance. 

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