As the final days of the preseason are upon us, preparations for the upcoming Premier League season are in full swing. What better way to prepare than to have a round of international games that require some long-haul flights the weekend before?
Of course, I am being facetious. It is one thing to have international breaks during the season, but why would there be games the weekend before the season begins? The players need to be with their clubs training and not travelling all the way to South America, which is exactly what Santi Cazorla and the Spanish national team are doing.
Cazorla was the only Arsenal player who took part in every league game for Arsenal last season. It was clear that he was fatigued towards the end of the season, but was then included in Spain’s Confederations Cup squad. Needless to say, Cazorla needed a long break after that tournament, which he got. Along with Nacho Monreal, Cazorla had a longer break during the summer than the players who hadn’t played in the Confederations Cup.
The tiny midfielder is back in training with Arsenal, but it was announced today that he is included in the Spanish squad that will be travelling to South America to take on Ecuador in an international friendly. Hopefully he does not play in the game, but the travelling alone could take its toll.
Ideally, Cazorla could stay home and have Ignasi Miquel rub his feet for him, but the defender was just loaned out to Leicester City today. Who is supposed to do the feet rubbing for the midfield now?
Seriously though, with another defender leaving for the season, Arsenal is in desperate need of a new defender. This must be the priority before the season starts, but I fear that a forward is all that is on the minds of Arsène Wenger and Ivan Gazidis.
Cazorla will find himself in high demand this season for both club and country, but coaches for both teams must find a way to balance his play so that he doesn’t get too fatigued. Fatigue is a catalyst for injuries, and Arsenal cannot afford to have the midfielder miss an extended period of time. Let’s get the midfield maestro back as soon as possible to prepare for the first game of the season against Aston Villa.