For Arsenal, the international window could not have come at a worse time.
Mikel Arteta’s men, buoyed by some impressive transfer business over the summer, have started the season in excellent form, their sole blip being a 3-1 defeat by Liverpool at Anfield (although the Gunners recovered to knock the Reds out of the Carabao Cup three days later).
With confidence high, Arteta was forced to wave goodbye to several of his key men as they linked up with their respective national teams.
Record signing Nicolas Pepe featured for Ivory Coast against Belgium on Thursday, deadline-day recruit Thomas Partey is on Ghana duty while Bukayo Saka and Ainsley Maitland-Niles turned out for England as the Three Lions strolled to a 3-0 friendly win over Wales at Wembley.
But for many within Arsenal’s squad, the focus remains on the club scene with Manchester City to come when the Premier League returns on October 17.
As Arteta plots another win over mentor Pep Guardiola, we look at the players the Spaniard will be hoping to log quality training time with over the international break.
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The Brazilian winger’s form has cooled somewhat after making a significant impression on his debut with two assists in the 3-0 win over Fulham.
Since then, however, the 32-year-old has been hooked off in the 64th and 68th minutes against West Ham United and Liverpool respectively, suggesting Arteta wasn’t overly enamoured with his contribution.
And with Pepe having scored a decisive goal from the bench against Sheffield United, Willian’s place in the starting XI does not look as assured as it did a few weeks ago.
Lacazette has made a promising start to the new campaign with goals against Fulham, West Ham and Liverpool.
The Frenchman did, however, miss a gilt-edged chance at Anfield which would have drawn the Gunners level before…