Unless a phone call is made in the next couple of days, Alexandre Lacazette, Jack Wilshere, Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi will be watching the World Cup at home.
Of course, form, injuries and other factors had meant that the four players were always pushing towards the unlikely side of getting a call-up.
The World Cup squads have now been finalised, as we pass the 10th June deadline. Barring an injury and replacement from the standby list, Arsenal will have eight representatives* in Russia: Mo Elneny, Nacho Monreal, Alex Iwobi, Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck, Joel Campbell and David Ospina. *Lichtsteiner not included.
By way of comparison, Manchester City have 16 players at the World Cup after Leroy Sané’s surprise cull from the Germany squad. Chelsea and Spurs have a dozen players each out there, Manchester United have 11.
15 Gunners went to 2006 World Cup
Of course, we all know that Manchester City are something of an aberration given their seemingly unlimited budget for signing players, so it might be a little unfair to compare their current number of internationals with Arsenal’s.
Chelsea and United too have the means to sign internationals without worrying if they will play each week, whereas Spurs have provided a once in a generation core for the England team.
However, when we look at Arsenal’s own history there are some indications of a decline. For example, Arsenal sent 15 players to the 2006 World Cup – the most of any club in world football. In 2010 and 2014, 10 players went off to South Africa and Brazil. That’s almost a 50% decline across three World Cups. Is it a reason for worry?
Lacazette and Wilshere will feel unlucky
One could argue that, in different circumstances, Arsenal’s presence in Russia would be very different. Lacazette, of course, will feel very much aggrieved at missing out on the French squad when former Gunner Oliver Giroud is in there.
Jack Wilshere’s rejuvenated form seems to have come around a little too late for Gareth Southgate. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would have made the majority of World Cup squads had he been born another nationality.
But it is also the quality of the players going out to Russia that should concern Arsenal fans. The club aren’t sending out a Thierry Henry or Robin Van Persie to plunder goals in Russia. Instead, Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi, 250/1 and 500/1 (Unibet) in the World Cup Golden Boot betting respectively, are representing Arsenal.
Ozil could be double World Cup winner
Indeed, in the last World Cup, the nations represented by Arsenal players was broken down as: Three Germany players, three French players, two England players, one Spain player and one Belgium player.
You could almost guarantee a Gunner would come home with a World Cup medal based on that list. This year, only Mesut Ozil playing for 9/2 co-favourites Germany (Paddy Power) or Nacho Monreal playing for 11/2 shots Spain seem to have a realistic chance.
None of this is meant to ‘bash’ the current crop of Arsenal players. There is every possibility that some will have a brilliant World Cup. Certainly, a good tournament could act as a catalyst for the likes of Mo Elneny and Alex Iwobi and really kickstart their careers.
There is also the hope that Unai Emery gets the chance to bring more World Cup players home than Arsenal sent out in the first place.
However, it is interesting to note just how the make up of Arsenal players has changed over the years. Fans can draw from that what they will.