The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is finally over and we all watched as Lionel Messi completed his story arc to become the greatest player in the history of the game. While players like Messi come to the end of their amazing careers, this tournament was also an opportunity for others to write the defining chapters of their careers. The Arsenal World Cup saw 10 players head Qatar to represent their countries. Let’s see how those players got on.
Arsenal World Cup: Aaron Ramsdale and Ben White
There may have been high hopes for England in this tournament, but there was never much hope for either Ramsdale or White to make an impact at this tournament. Ramsdale was likely England’s third-choice keeper going into Qatar and Ben White never seemed to be in Gareth Southgate’s plans unless he was desperately needed.
Not only did Ben White not play, but he left the England camp early for undisclosed reasons. There have been reports that the defender had a bust-up with coach Steve Holland although neither England nor White have confirmed these statements.
Arsenal World Cup: Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka
Arsenals midfield due were both key players for their respective countries during the tournament and both put in respectable performances despite both ultimately falling short. Ghana will especially be disappointed with their performance in the competition as a 2-0 defeat in a grudge match with Uruguay saw them eliminated from the tournament. Their only consolation was that this was a low enough score to see Uruguay also miss out. Partey himself was unable to dominate the midfield in the way he does for Arsenal, but the most important thing is that Arsenal’s injury-prone star has left Qatar fully fit for the second half of the season
Xhaka meanwhile did have something to cheer for as his Swiss side was excellent in the group stage. Switzerland saw off both Cameroon and a talented Serbia side to proceed into the last 16. The arsenal enforcer was at his best during the tournament working both as a defensive midfielder and a playmaker when needed. It looked as if the simplified less tactical nature of international football suited Xhaka. Unfortunately, an incredible breakout performance from Goncalo Ramos saw the Swiss knocked out by Portugal, but Xhaka can be proud of his performance.
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Arsenal World Cup: Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli
The World Cup may have started brightly for Brazil, but it was ultimately a nightmare for the South Americans. There was a huge expectation that Qatar 2022 would be Brazil’s first World Cup trophy since 2002, but Tite’s side fell short on penalties against a battle-hardened Croatia side.
From an Arsenal point of view, there was an even bigger nightmare. Star striker Gabriel Jesus picked up a knee injury and needed an operation that will keep him out for three months. With his only start coming in a 1-0 defeat to Cameroon it really does seem like this competition was a waste of time for Arsenal’s star player.
While it was a waste of time for Jesus it certainly was not for young Gabriel Martinelli. The young attacker has gained valuable experience representing Brazil in a world cup at just 21 years of age and also had the opportunity to work with the brilliant Vinicius Junior. A player whom he was used as a like-for-like replacement for on multiple occasions. Martinelli has a huge future ahead of him and this failure will hopefully drive him to do better.
Arsenal World Cup: William Saliba
When William Saliba wasn’t used in the throwaway group game against Tunisia it became very likely that no matter what happened in the remaining games the player would not feature for France in Qatar. This was unfortunately the case for Arsenal’s breakout star. Even with the French making it all the way to the final and defenders reportedly becoming sick the youngster was not given an opportunity during the tournament.
Saliba has shown himself to be a strong character and he will only grow from his own and ultimately France’s disappointment in Qatar.
Arsenal World Cup: Matt Turner
One of the shining lights of the tournament for the USA was Arsenal’s backup keeper Matt Turner. The USA reached the last 16 which was their minimum requirement for an acceptable tournament and Matt Turner was crucial in helping them achieve this. The keeper was excellent throughout the group stage for the USA and kept a clean sheet against an England team that was scoring for fun early in the tournament.
Sadly Turner could do nothing to stop the USA from falling to a good Dutch side and the United States didnt make it past the round of 16. All things considered, it is good to know that if something were to happen to Aaron Ramsdale that a safe pair of hands is waiting in the wings.
Arsenal World Cup: Takehiro Tomiyasu
The Japanese coach made some very strange choices in his lineup throughout the competition and even before his initial team selection. Most notably dropping Celtic striker Kyogo Furuhashi despite his electric form and during the tournament, he threw away a match against Costa Rica by benching many of his most talented players. No decision was arguably more strange than keeping one of Japan’s best players out of his starting eleven in most of the Samurai Blue’s games.
Despite this being unusual it must be said Japan had an ultimately successful tournament in Qatar. Tomiyasu was brought off of the bench to help protect surprise leads against both Japan and Spain. Having a top-class defender on the pitch may well have been the difference and it was these resolute defensive performances that ultimately saw Germany eliminated from the tournament. Tomiyasu himself was also excellent in the 1-1 draw with Croatia that saw Japan eliminated on penalties.
Tomiyasu will be able to return to London with his head held high and hopefully his fitness issues behind him going forward.
Arsenal World Cup: Bukayo Saka
Without a doubt, one of the standout players of the tournament was England’s Bukayo Saka. The Arsenal player was outstanding against Iran in the opening game and used that momentum to help spur England into the quarter-finals. Saka was England’s best performer in the 2-1 defeat to the current holders France and Gareth Southgate’s decision to substitute the player was met with lots of criticism at home.
Saka was a nonstop threat for England going forward and also was able to work back and defend effectively when needed. Saka was also the only Arsenal player to score in Qatar, netting three times and winning what could have been a crucial penalty against the French.
Arsenal is currently locked in negotiations to extend the contract of Saka as the youngster only has 18 months left on his current deal. Saka was Arsenal’s standout performer in Qatar and you can expect that Edu will break the bank to ensure The Gunner’s star young player doesn’t leave on a free transfer in the coming seasons.
How do you think Arsenal players performed in Qatar? Was this the tournament that will solidify Saka as an England starter going forward? Was it worth it for players like Saliba to be in Qatar? Let us know!
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