Which Arsenal players will make it to South Africa?

Arshavin should lead Russia to play-off glory over Slovenia

The Gunners might be out of action this week but with a host of pivotal World Cup qualifiers coming up a number of Arsenal players will be. Below I take a look at the chances of those players whose nations are not yet assured of a spot in South Africa…

Andrey Arshavin (Russia v Slovenia)

Arshavin’s Russia face a two-legged play-off with tiny Slovenia for a place in the World Cup. While the Slovenians are no strangers to going into a do-or-die play-off as underdogs and emerging as victors I really can’t see the superbly-balanced Russians, lead by Guus Hiddink, slipping up. So it’s Russia for me, probably by a couple of aggregate goals.

William Gallas, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Samir Nasri & Abou Diaby (France v Ireland)

The Irish have  started the mind games with Richard Dunne aiming a brutal attack at Raymond Domenech’s incompetence but like Slovenia they’re very much the underdogs in this one. The French manager may continually fail to get the most out of his superb attacking options – this is a team that features Thierry Henry, Karim Benzema and Yohann Gourcuff among others – but the individual quality on display should be enough to smoke the Irish. Good thing too: it’d be a very depressing Arsenal dressing room against Sunderland if the French fail.

Alex Song (Cameroon v Morocco)

If Song’s Cameroon can travel to Morocco and take three points off the already-elimated hosts they will qualify for the World Cup. Anything less, however, could see Gabon nick their spot with an away win over Togo. It’s delicately poised this one, but with Cameroon superior to Morocco and Togo likely to put up a decent fight against Gabon Song and his teammates should qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 2002.

So there you have it – smiles all round when the boys get back to London next week!

PS. There was of course some tragic news today in the form of the tragic suicide of German goalkeeper Robert Enke. On behalf of everyone who reads the blog I wish Robert’s wife Teresa and their young child all the best in dealing with this awful situation.

Have your say on World Cup stuff or Robert Enke by leaving a comment.



  1. These players will make it to South Africa;

    William Gallas, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Samir Nasri & Abou Diaby, Alex Song & Andrey Arshavin

    Hope they dont get injured while playing for their countries. All the best gunners!!

  2. Hello Tafadzwa.
    You have forgotten one Arsenal who will play in South Africa – Nicklas Bendtner will play for Denmark.
    I think he will good for Denmark.

  3. @ Peer / Johno – There’s plenty more that will make it apart from the ones we’ve mentioned. These are just the players who still have work to do!

    This is the list of players already qualified:

    Bendtner, Djourou, Senderos, Fabregas, Eboue, Walcott, van Persie, Vela and MAYBE Denilson (if he makes the squad).

  4. There exists a great disparity between the ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ of individuals in today’s society. Businesses are reaping sizeable profits from fulfilling the materialistic desires of the discerning and demanding consumer. Such insatiable desire is eroding what little empathy that remains for others, as one is concerned with increasing their own portfolio of possessions. In an era where time-honoured values and principles have been sacrificed for personal gain, we need to strive personally to restore the imbalance in the world

  5. Oh Andy! Disappointed you’re supporting the French. I’m not so sure about a ‘smoking’ – Italy found it hard enough to beat them.

    Don’t underestimate the Irish – they’re a hardy team – while not as hardy as they were 8 years ago. They would be better if Stephen Ireland wasn’t such a git and rejoined the squad.

  6. Slightly disappointed about the Bendtner injury if I’m being honest. I have to admit I do keep on forgetting that he is only 21. So last year he scored 15 goals and he was only 20, surely is must go up? I don’t know about the guy below saying he’ll be like Ibrahimovic, that’s just plain silly as he has no skill, but he definitely can add a different dimension to our game. I say that we are almost there in terms to squad depth. I like the rest of us would love to see one more CB, as Djourou has been unlucky with injury and a DM. I’m not going to suggest who we should get as it doesn’t matter what I think, but I think once those positions are covered we could possibly go on to great things. COME ON GOONERSZ!!!!!

  7. The French have been abysmal since the 2006 World Cup Final and were turned over home and away by Scotland in Euro 2008 qualifying. The Republic of Ireland is exactly the sort of side that could possibly grind something out against France in a similar fashion. However over two legs in a playoff I would back the French to come through – just. But you really never know with France and Ireland will work harder and could be rewarded.

  8. here here darragh….a smokin any???c’mon,whens the last time the french ‘smoked’ any1?and to be fair richard dunne didnt ‘start’ the mindgames domenech recently labelled us englands b team and when asked why vieira wasnt in the squad for either playoff leg he replied,’hel be in the squad for the summer’..plus the french are launching their world cup jersey on sunday..wel im not so sure and am confident everyones usual underestimation of us may play into our hands..id be even more confident tho if our 2 most creative players,ireland and andy reid, were in the team….come on ireland

  9. lads,iv a mate whos a mad pool fan and hes tryin to make the eduardo incident worse than the ngog one by claiming when eduardo won that pen that he grinned and winked and it was caught by a camera,i watched the game live and never saw it,got the paper the next day in which there was no mention of it,and none of my idiot manu friends hav ever mentioned it…i hav trawled the internet for even a mention of this in blogs and other news reports and hav seen nothin….so did this ever really happen…of course i dont believe it myself because although he dived i dont believe its in his nature to take the piss in this way…and if i hav to keep listening to this mate of mine it will end in tears….for him

  10. Tomorrow we will see how serious The FA are about their “Respect” campaign when the serial abuser of referees, Sir Alex Ferguson, appears before a disciplinary board to answer charges concerning his after-match comments about a referee.

    Unless The FA take a very hard line, and ban Ferguson from the touchline for a considerable period, their campaign will lie in tatters.

    Similarly UEFA, after their embarrasing climb-down over the Edouardo affair, must investigate the dive by Liverpool’s Ngog.

    Unless action is taken by both organisations football at all levels will degenerate into an unseemly mess where simulation and dissent are allowed to ruin what was once called “the beautiful game”.

  11. I’m so shocked about that news of Robert Enke, I read it today morning short before ten o’clock in a newspaper, it’s said that he has thrown himself in front of a train yesterday evening, his ‘corporal’ daughter died two years ago with a cardiac defect or so, recently he suffered reportedly with a virus, he couldn’t play many qualifiers for Germany but you never know the truth about these ‘injuries’, his wife now is left with an adopted daughter, but it is always so shocking when a human being is giving up himself in this way, especially persons about which you think they must be happy with their success and money and health, it is so unexpected and suddenly, hit’s you

  12. I don’t want to harp on about this because I think enough has already been written and said about diving in the English game. However, what I can’t stand is victimization of our beloved Arsenal and our players. The incident concerning Eduardo’s alleged dive during the Champions League qualifier earlier in the year against Celtic made headline news. The media, pundits and fans of other clubs jumped on the bandwagon to humiliate Eduardo for so called cheating and claimed that his actions were a disgrace. As we all know, this prompted UEFA to authorize a two match ban which they later retracted. However, Eduardo now has to put up with torrents of boos and abuse at every ground he plays at in England as a result of this hate campaign.

    On Saturday against the Spuds, Darren Bent won a penalty through controversial circumstances. There was contact with Gomes but not until Bent was falling to the ground. People will continue to argue that he was playing to win the penalty which is all well and good, but isn’t this what Eduardo did? Yes, Bent went on to miss the penalty, but the fact still remains the incident cannot be differentiated between the incident involving Eduardo. So, where is the public humiliation of the player, the negative headlines? Alan Shearer on Match of The Day endorsed it and openly admitted that it was the correct decision.

    My only conclusion is that Eduardo was used as a scapegoat because he is NOT English. Everyone knows that Rooney, Gerrard etc have all attempted to win free kicks and penalties throughout their careers, but as we are all continuously reassured “English players don’t dive”. The media’s public humiliation of Eduardo after the incident against Celtic was quite frankly disgraceful and completely unjustified. You can guarantee that Darren Bent hasn’t and will not receive any further criticism for last weekend’s penalty award. The only reason for this being because he is English and a contender to be a possible match winner for England in the 2010 World Cup.

  13. seriously fellas i need to know if eduardo took the piss after winnin the pen cos this dude is really pissin me off now

  14. R.I.P robert , i think arshavin russia is going thru and d french are going thru. Best of luck 2 d boyz in d world cup.

  15. @shambo, eduardo did grin whilst laying on the floor after the ref awarded that pen against celtic but i dont remember him winking at the camera.

  16. @Mark Griffin, You are absolutely spot on. Diving has been in the game as long as I can remember. Players dive for so money reasons: To avoid contact, to get a player in trouble, or to get a free kick. When you start blaming foreigners though, it is easier to get a reaction from everyone who has grievances about the makeup of any team they don’t support. I remember Allan Pardew claiming in 2006 when Arsenal was playing Barca for the Champions League final that there was no English team in the final anyways. Look at pundit after pundit lining up to praise Chelsea and ManU for being the eventual winner of PL this year. We are second in the league, but invisible somehow.

    Edwardo still insisted that he had been touched during the incident and I believe him. The Scottish involved in every level of the game in media, FA, or UEFA somehow couldn’t come to terms with the fact that Celtic had already lost the home game 2-0 then. They were simply deluding themselves that Celtic might come back. That created such a fire storm as if Edwardo dives for a living. UEFA also had its Knee jerk reaction as if they could monitor and punish retrospectively.

    Now Ngog is French, so goes the crying foriegner bloody murder crowd! Edwardo had a penalty shout against Wolves, do you think he gets the benefit of the doubt? Did Ashley Cole went up in the air and went down as if he was shot against ManU to get the free kick that created the goal? Has anyone calling him out on it? I don’t think so.

  17. i think couple of arsenal players will definitely make it to s/africa come 2010. players like cesc fabrigas of spain, theo walcott of england, the french guys and the africans themselves; ebue emmanuel, song. wish all of them best of luck!May the soul of Robert Enke rest in the bossom of the LORD, AMEN!

  18. Naturally I hope Ireland make it ahead of France for several reasons a) I’m irish and b) France not making it means a whole lot of Arsenal players get a rest for the next season and get to defend their title!

  19. I think the French should make it through, unless of course Domenech announces his divorce via a pre-game press conference. That guy is such a loon that nothing is certain….

  20. I remember when he subbed Nasri on in the Euros at half time, only to haul him off 15 minutes later. What a waste of a sub.

  21. I wasn’t a fan of any particular team but a fan of beautifully played game that can be truely called ‘football’ Since the past one year I’ve been watching many matches and i can’t deny the beauty that have been produced by arsenal week in and week out have drawned me to be an admirer of the club. Unfortunately, because they are made up mostly of international players, they do not receive the same treatment or appreciation similar to that of ManU or even LP. I supposed it’s understandable that the media and the referees have a certain shared unwritten agenda to protect teams with english players as they (media & referees) are gearing up to put England as the favourite for the coming 2010 world cup. I think english players, like any other nationalities, do stuff that are unbecoming of ‘professional footballers’. You just need to look at those various clips on youtube to know that. I wished that players like John Terry, Rooney and Stevie wouldn’t have gone on record to say how clean and professional are the english players as it made them looked like hypocrates. I do beleive that referees would never book them for diving however blatant the dives are. I wish the referees know that the world is watching and are smart enough to see the biasness they practice in protecting the english players. I always see how Rooney treats referees and most of the time gets away unpunished. Lets hope that EPL will not lose its credibility due to the biasness of referees. It will indeed be sad. May arsenal continue to exhibit its classy football and the trophies will come their way. Realise why I used ‘..wasn’t a fan of any particular team..’?

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