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Monday, March 29, 2010

Swiss misses

Despite the numerous Arsenal players that will be gracing this summer’s World Cup, there are plenty of the multi-national squad that will be watching from home. Eduardo, Andrei Arshavin, Thomas Vermaelen and Tomas Rosicky are the star players of European teams that missed out, whilst the large French contingent cannot all feature in Raymond Domenech’s squad.

Things are not going particularly well for Arsenal’s Swiss pair, Johan Djourou and Philippe Senderos. Pencilled in as Ottmar Hitzfeld’s centre half pairing after featuring at German ’06 and Euro 2008, the careers of the young Gunners pair have gone into freefall and are unlikely to be involved in World Cup Bet In play situations this summer.

Djourou has suffered an injury nightmare and faces a race to be fit for the finals. It is nearly a year since he suffered a serious knee injury against Wigan Athletic and a long period of recuperation from surgery is not ideal preparation. The strong performances of the defence in his absence means he might miss out even if fit.

Senderos’ problems are form-related. Arsene Wenger finally lost patience with his talented but error-prone defender after some costly mistakes in a Champions League clash with Liverpool and loan spells at Milan and Everton have not revived his career.

Senderos has struggled particularly at Goodison Park, making just two league appearances since joining in January. It is hard to know where his career progresses from here, but his future surely lies away from the Emirates.

Both Djourou and Senderos missed the recent friendly defeat by Uruguay, for different reasons, and the pair that looked set to form the defensive base for Switzerland could well be watching on TV like many other Arsenal players who might have expected to feature in South Africa.

As for Switzerland as a whole, FIFA World Cup odds don’t expect them to progress to the latter stages of the competition, but they will want to try and exceed expectations in South Africa.

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