By Graham McNorthbank
I was originally going to write this post yesterday, but such is my anxiety about Arsenal at the moment that I didn't want to jinx young Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, hence the 24 hour wait.
Of course that means I'm potentially jinxing Aaron Ramsey, Ju Young Park, Robin van Persie, Laurent Koscielny, Johan Djourou, Per Mertesacker, Andrey Arshavin, Tomas Rosicky, Lukasz Fabianski, Alex Song and Yossi Benayoun, all of whom have a chance of playing for their respective countries tonight.
To be honest, if all of those players return to London this week 100% fit I'd be astonished. The way our season is going I fear that RvP will lose a limb in a freak accident with the corner flag in Sweden this evening, Mertesacker will suffer concussion by hitting his head off the crossbar in Dusseldorf and Arshavin will put in the kind of shift for his country that we seldom see him do for his employers, thus depleting his duracell batteries and counting him out for the considerable future.
Call me paranoid cos, um, that's what I am.
However, there has been some fairly good news from this round of internationals. Young Oxlade has hit the goal trail for England and could well find himself in contention for a start at the Emirates on Sunday. Similarly Park scored both goals for South Korea against Fabianski in goal for Poland; Chamakh scored a goal to help Morocco top their group in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers; Ramsey scored a penalty for Wales against the Swiss; and Gervinho and Theo Walcott provided assists in their international outings.
Another silver lining for us Gooners - although not for the player himself - is that Alex Song's Cameroon failed to qualify for the African Cup, so come January he'll remain at Arsenal.
On the pint half empty side of things, Chamakh and Gervinho will both make their way to Equitorial Guinea and/or Gabon and could be out of contention for a month or so, while the continued good form or Emmanuel Frimpong is surely tempting Ghana to call him up before England can stake their claim for him. As a Scotsman I can't believe I'm about to say this, but Come on England. Pull the finger out.
So us Gooners will be keeping our collective bits crossed this evening in the hope that we don't add to the injury list. But at least we'll have Abou Diaby available for selection again this weekend against Sunderland, while Thomas Vermaelen is apparently on the mend and could be back for the Stoke or Chelsea games.
I'll update you as the various air ambulances return our players to London Colney later in the week.