It’s been a season that many Arsenal fans may want to forget. As the Premier League draws to a close, at least there are the Euros to look forward to. There will be a strong Arsenal contingent represented this summer.
Here are some of the Gunners who could have a big impact in France:
Mesut Özil – Germany
The playmaker has been a stalwart for the World Champions for a number of years now. He has 19 goals in 72 caps and was recently named German Player of the Year.
Özil acts as the attacking lynchpin of Germany’s regular 4-2-3-1 formation. Thanks to the side’s strong midfield unit, Özil is given full creative license in the advanced playmaker role behind Müller. This is a position he has proved lethal in, and in the 2014 World Cup, he created more chances than any other player.
Germany are currently the favorites to win the tournament, and Özil will be looking to inspire them to Euro glory for the first time since 1996.
Aaron Ramsey – Wales
Ramsey has been a somewhat polarising figure at the Emirates this season. He has been hampered by injuries, and when he has played, he’s often been accused of tactical immaturity and poor finishing.
However, there’s no denying that Ramsey is a vital component in Wales’ recent resurgence. He is the archetypal central attacking midfielder for Coleman’s side, and contributed two goals during the qualifying campaign. Overall, he injects energy into the team, and his big match experience will be valuable as Wales enter their first major tournament for 58 years.
Along with Joe Allen and Gareth Bale, Ramsey forms a talented trio. They can cause problems for any team, and England will have to be alert during their group B clash.
Petr Čech – Czech Republic
The commanding shot-stopper has proven his longevity at the Emirates this season. Joining in the summer, he has been a safe pair of hands in the Arsenal goal. He will hope he can carry on his form at the Euros.
Čech is a legend for his country. He is the national team’s captain, the most capped player in Czech history, and has won the Czech Republic Player of the Year award eighth times. He also has pedigree in the tournament, helping his team to the semi-finals in 2004, and the quarter-finals in 2012.
He will have his work cut out in France though. The Czech Republic face tough Group D opponents in the form of Spain, Turkey, and Croatia.
Olivier Giroud – France
Giroud was scintillating in the first-half of this season, and he looked certain to be a starter for France in the summer. However, a drop in form means his starting berth is more uncertain.
Nevertheless, Giroud will play an important part in France’s campaign, whether that be in the starting line-up or off the bench. He is a classic old-fashioned centre-forward. He uses his strength to provide the team with effective holdup play. Furthermore, his aerial ability is a constant threat to defences. Whilst Giroud is not the most prolific goalscorer, he undoubtedly adds a different dimension to France’s attacking options.
France are hoping to reclaim the European title they last won in 2000. As hosts, they rank amongst the favourites, and Giroud is confident they can rise to the occasion.
Danny Welbeck – England
Arsenal fans know Welbeck to be hard working, versatile and reliable. Roy Hodgson clearly agrees. The England manager has frequently turned to the Arsenal striker. Welbeck was in the starting eleven at Euro 2012, and the 2014 World Cup. Furthermore, he was one of England’s main attacking outlets during the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, scoring six goals.
He does face competition for a starting place at the Euros. Vardy, in particular, is vying for Welbeck’s spot. However, it is likely that Hodgson would want to reserve Vardy as an impact-sub. In this case, Welbeck would probably find himself starting on the wing in a 4-3-3 formation. He has done well in this position before, and can provide good link up play with Rooney and Kane.
Jack Wilshere – England
Given his injury-filled season, Wilshere may seem an odd choice for this list. However, England needs a saviour in midfield, and Wilshere could be it.
Hodgson has always been a keen admirer of the Arsenal youth system graduate. He is arguably England’s most talented midfielder. He possesses vision and creativity, and is able to dictate play from the deep-lying midfielder position. Furthermore, he is an influential personality and a natural leader.
These are qualities currently lacking in England’s midfield. Drinkwater and Henderson have both auditioned for this role but have been unconvincing. If Wilshere stays fit and picks up form in the remainder of the season, he will surely start in St-Etienne against Slovakia.
The tournament can be a renaissance for the midfield dynamo. Many have feared that injuries would rob Wilshere of his immense potential. Hopefully, he can prove them wrong.
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