The World Cup is less than two weeks away and Arsenal players have joined their national teams to prepare for the tournament by playing a few friendly games before heading to Rio.
We have 12 players in total that are taking to the pitch for their country this summer in what is shaping up to be an exciting tournament. We have Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain heading off with England, Koscielny and Giroud with France, Cazorla with Spain, Vermaelen with Belgium and Ozil, Mertesacker and Podolski with Germany.
These are the top 5 players who I think will shine at this year’s World Cup.
5. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
The Ox has had a mixed season at Arsenal due to injury but when he is fit he is easily one of our best players, there is no denying that when he plays he gives his all in every game and he genuinely loves football. Hodgson seems to like Oxlade-Chamberlain so I think he will get a few games during the World Cup but might not start every one. His form for England has been consistent on all levels and he always plays really well and isn’t afraid to get stuck in which makes him a good player to have in the team.
4. Olivier Giroud
You know you sometimes get a player that plays so much better for his country than his club? Well that is Giroud. Many a time he has scored some great goals, and given outstanding performances and it’s frustrating when that isn’t translated into his club football. Giroud has had a good season though, he might not have knocked 30 goals in but he improved on his tally from last year and has contributed more in terms of on the pitch play. He has already impressed in a pre-tournament friendly against Norway last week scoring a stunning goal* and Deschamps definitely seems to favour him more than Benzema.
3. Per Mertesacker
Mertesacker has just finished his best season at Arsenal since he joined the club and he was the unsung hero of the team. He provided some fantastic defensive performances throughout the year and seeing the solidity of his pairing with Koscielny develop has been great to observe. Mertesacker isn’t as fast as other centre backs but he more than makes up for that in his interception, blocking and ability to read what the opposition are going to do next. He has bundles of experience and that is something the German team will value in what might be Mertesacker’s last World Cup.
2. Lukas Podolski
Podolski has had scored some amazing goals for us this season especially that brace in the FA cup game against Coventry City, his form has improved even after his injury and he looks more comfortable and settled. With Klose Germany’s only recognised out and out striker it is looking likely that Podolski will feature in a lot more of their games than usual as he often proves to be indispensable to them.
1. Mesut Ozil
After a successful debut season at Arsenal which led to Ozil winning a FA Cup medal, all eyes will be on the German Midfielder this summer as he takes his place in a Germany team full of talent. Ozil is a regular in the Germany team and has a great little partnership going with Götze, they both thrive of each others talent and their link up play is classy and clinical. He is going to be exciting to watch this summer alongside our other German counterparts and Loew has already speculated on how he foresees that Ozil will be at his strongest this summer.
These were the obvious choices to me and I really struggled to not put Koscielny and Wilshere into my list as both will feature during the tournament as will Vermaelen for Belgium but I think our German players are mostly likely to stand out and shine this summer.