How Arsenal's 13 International Stars Fared in the November Break

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Bukayo Saka featured heavily for England in the international break | Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

It’s finally over. No more international football until March next year. None of those cruel muscle injuries that bug club managers when their players head out to represent their country.

The Premier League returns for a lengthy, non-disrupted spell at the weekend with an intriguing bunch of fixtures heading our way. One of the most exciting fixtures on paper has to be the visit of Mikel Arteta’s men to Leeds as they bid for a change of fortune after a miserable run of form before the international break.

It is unfortunate that Mohamed Elneny and Sead Kolasinac tested positive for COVID-19 while on international duty with Egypt and Bosnia respectively.

However, plenty of Spurs players have been in action all across the globe over the past week. Let’s see how they got on ahead of their return to proper (club) football, shall we?

Jadon Sancho, Tammy Ambraham, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka
Bukayo Saka and Ainsley Maintland-Niles featured for the Three Lions | Pool/Getty Images

Bukayo Saka couldn’t have wished for a better week after playing the full 90 minutes in England’s victories over Iceland and the Republic of Ireland. He played the majority of the Three Lions’ game with Belgium too, after Ben Chilwell limped off with a back spasm.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles, meanwhile, came off the bench against the Republic of Ireland and Iceland, but didn’t feature in the 2-0 loss in Belgium.

Holland  v Spain  -International Friendly
Bellerin featured for La Roja in the international break | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Héctor Bellerín was part of Spain’s squad for their triple header against Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.

The Spaniard isn’t first choice for his country though, and although he started for La Roja in their 1-1 draw with Netherlands, he wasn’t part of the side that tore the Germans apart 6-0.

Kieran Tierney made history with Scotland as he helped his country qualify for next year’s Euros, winning a ridiculously nail-biting penalty shootout against Serbia.

He also played the full 90 minutes against Slovakia and Israel, as Steve Clarke’s men were tasked with somehow getting their head into Nations League action. Yeah, bit of a tough ask that.

Rejuvenated Granit Xhaka was involved in both of Switzerland’s international fixtures, playing the full 90 minutes in his country’s 1-1 draw with Spain, as well as playing more than half of the defeat to Belgium.

Arsenal supporters will probably be relieved that he got a little bit of a breather, with Thomas Partey ruled out of the Gunners’ upcoming trip to Leeds along with COVID-infected Mohamed Elneny.

Club-captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had to sleep on the floor of an airport with his Gabon teammates, amid confusion over player safety because of coronavirus protocols.

Once the go ahead was given, he scored in the 2-1 win over Gambia – before playing another 90 minutes against the same opposition, this time going down by the same scoreline.

Mohamed Elneny
Elneny contract COVID-19 while away with Egypt | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

It wasn’t a great international break for Mohamed Elneny, who after playing in the victory over Togo, tested positive for COVID-19 along with Mohamed Salah.

As a result, he’s now ruled out of Arsenal’s next few games while he recovers.

Nicolas Pepe
Pepe represented Ivory Coast | Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Getting a regular gig on Arsenal’s right flank is still something that Nicolas Pepe is striving to achieve, but he is very much part of Ivory Coast’s plans.

They played Madagascar over this particular international break, and even Sebastien Haller was able to score a goal; a sure-fire indicator that Pepe had a relatively easy time of it!

Denmark v Iceland - UEFA Nations League
Runarsson is waiting for his chance at Arsenal | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Another player who’d like more (any) on-field minutes is Iceland goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson.

Mikel Arteta isn’t playing ball on that front, but that didn’t stop Arsenal’s summer signing from turning out for his country in the Nations League defeat to Denmark.

UEFA Nations League qualifier
Kolasinac, like Elneny, turned in a positive coronavirus test after playing for his country | ANP Sport/Getty Images

Wouldn’t it be great to meet the minds who decided that international football must continue to go on amid a global pandemic?

No, it probably wouldn’t – but one thing that we are sure of is Sead Kolasinac represented Bosnia in their Nations League defeat to Netherlands, before turning in a positive COVID-19 test.

Another one out of action.

Bernd Leno, Hector Bellerin
Leno catching up with Hector Bellerin prior to Germany’s game with Spain | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

If you’ve been absent from planet earth, you may have not seen that Germany got absolutely smashed 6-0 by Spain – rendering their Nations League win over Ukraine largely insignificant.

The good news for Arsenal fans is that Bernd Leno was a spectator for not only those two games, but also the friendly win over Czech Republic. So worth it, eh.

England U21 v Albania U21 - UEFA Euro Under 21 Qualifier
Eddie Nketiah has been in blistering form for the England U-21’s | Visionhaus/Getty Images

England Under-21 record breaker Eddie Nketiah continued his fine form with a brace in the 5-0 thumping of Albania.

Joe Willock also featured as the Young Lions went on to beat Andorra 3-1 in their follow-up game, a game that Nketiah drew a blank in after coming on as a substitute.

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