The international break has come at a time when Arsenal probably wouldn’t have liked it because it can slow down their momentum. However, several of their players have big roles to play for their countries over the next seven days.
Here are five to keep an eye on.
Arsenal’s Polish goalkeeper will be playing a vital role for his national side as they cling on to hope of making it into second place in Group H, giving them a play-off shot of making Brazil next summer.
Poland have two difficult back-to-back games against Ukraine this Friday and England this Tuesday and they will be relying on England to do them a favour on Friday against Montenegro.
Arsenal’s French centre back is likely to start in France’s match against Finland next week. He’s producing some of the best form of his Arsenal career and France will be looking to him to replicate that.
Spain play their Group I game in hand on Friday and France simply have to win this Tuesday if they want to avoid the play-off round and Koscielny will be a vital component of their side in the back four.
Wales will not be playing at the World Cup next summer but this next round of fixtures is important for Aaron Ramsey for two reasons.
Firstly, he’ll be hoping to maintain the good form he’s shown for club and country so far this season. Secondly, Wales are bottom of Group A and good results in their last two games could push them up a few places towards a respectable position.
Considering all of the negative press that Wilshere has recently been receiving, there will be a lot of people watching him in this game and expecting a response in the form of a positive performance.
England are under a lot of pressure as they face two sides that are fighting to get to the World Cup instead of them. Wilshere can control the England midfield, providing a solid platform for the attack to improve on the 25 goals scored already.
Giroud is Arsenal’s in form striker with five goals in the Premier League and Champions League this season.
However, he hasn’t scored a goal for France since the start of the 2013/2014 season, which means he’s under a lot of pressure at international level. He’s likely to start against Finland and Spain are only ahead of France on goal difference (plus two) at the moment, which means Giroud needs to produce on Tuesday.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald