Arsenal, England and Euro 2016: Why they aren’t a match made in Heaven


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The England team will make its way to France this summer for Euro 2016. However, if the fantasy football pundits are to be believed, then none of the Arsenal squad will be joining them.

Despite riding high in the Premier League, football nut @JonnyGabriel has found that none of Arsenal’s English lads would be lining up on June 11 if Roy Hodgson used each player’s fantasy football rankings to pick his team.

Reviewing this season’s fantasy football rankings, @JonnyGabriel found that zero Arsenal players, one Liverpool player and two Man City pros would make it into the starting XI. While it’s unlikely Hodgson will use the fantasy football rankings to pick his team, the revelation shows that Arsenal’s individual performances have been less than stellar this season.

In fact, when you scroll through the Euro 2016 betting markets listed on the 32Red UK website, you’ll see that the odds makers aren’t thinking about the Gunners’ top players either.

Looking ahead to the team’s first opening Euro 2016 match against Russia on June 11, 32Red UK is offering odds of 6/1 on Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy to be in the starting XI. Although this is a fair bet by most football fans’ standards, the absence of names such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott will likely stir up feelings of surprise and dismay among us Arsenal fans.

No Love from the Odds Makers

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Things don’t get any better for the boys over at Coral; Oxlade-Chamberlain making the team has garnered odds of 12/1.

However, despite the absence of any Arsenal players, the odds on an England victory at Euro 2016 aren’t as bad as you might expect. 32Red’s betting line currently has England booked at 10/1 for an outright win and 9/1 to become runners up.

Of course, when you compare those odds to Spain’s 5/1 rating it’s clear the players who do make Hodgson’s side have a lot of work to do, but the lack of love for Arsenal doesn’t seem to be doing too much harm to the team’s odds.

While that’s great for the country as a whole, the news that Arsenal may not be represented at all during Euro 2016 once again raises the question of the team’s temperament. The story of this season has been one of familiar highs, lows and dashed expectations particularly in the light of yesterday’s FA Cup exit.

Is It a Lack of Mental Toughness for the Gunners?

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Sublime performances against the likes of Manchester United and Dinamo Zagreb before Christmas have been undone by poor performances in the New Year. A disappointing draw with Spurs away and a loss to Swansea meant 2015’s high hopes for Premier League success were all but flushed away just three months into 2016.

This trend is one that’s characterised the last few seasons at Arsenal, but the most worrying thing for us as fans appears to be the players’ lack of mental fortitude. As the Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson noted, Arsenal’s average number of points per game this season is 1.82 and while Wenger has made some tactical changes, the main reason for this appears to be the players’ inability to put the pressure on when it counts.

Although Wenger cites the mental strength of the players in the squad, Wilson notes that this is almost always in the context of “fighting back when all seems lost.” In fact, with Oxlade-Chamberlain barely making it into the first team and Walcott almost disappearing into obscurity, it’s little wonder that many pundits aren’t putting too much stock in Arsenal’s English contingent this summer.

While we all know that they could do a job for the country, it seems a lack of drive, passion and, importantly, results, isn’t inspiring much confidence in those outside of the North London bubble. The 2015/2016 Premier League campaign certainly hasn’t been a disaster by any stretch of the imagination, but a failure to see any of the team running out for England during Euro 2016 would certainly leave a bitter taste in the mouth.

As Arsenal fans, we can only hope that the bookmakers at 32Red, @JonnyGabriel and everyone without an allegiance to the club are wrong and that the Gunners’ home-grown talent get a chance to shine in France this summer.

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