Why Germany's World Cup Will Help Arsenal Return To Past Glories
Germany's victory at the World Cup will undoubtedly cause quite the party throughout the country, but how will their success impact Arsenal's German contingent, and will they emulate their international success in North London?
After France's victory at their own World Cup in 1998, the Daily Mirror ran the headline "Arsenal win the World Cup!" At the time France won the World Cup, there was actually only two Arsenal players in the French squad; midfield duo Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit (Thierry Henry and Robert Pires would join the club at later dates).
In the summer of 1998, and shortly before the World Cup in France got underway, Arsenal gloriously won the FA Cup and Premier League double, and didn't actually win anything again until 2002, finishing 2nd to Manchester United three seasons in a row. This fact suggests that international success doesn't significantly impact club performance either way. Could it be different this time around for the Gunners?
It has been suggested that Germany's performance in the World Cup could actually hinder Arsenal's attempts to mount a title challenge, for a few reasons. Fatigue is so often a factor at the start of a season, especially after a World Cup year; it should certainly be considered that Podolski, Mertesacker and Özil will be more tired than most players at the start of the season, and a prolonged rest period may be considered, to ensure they enjoy a proper rest period. Theo Walcott's injury during the Christmas period will act as a cruel reminder to Arsene Wenger not to rush players back into action, and he may act cautiously when putting the German's back into his Arsenal side.
Whilst the issues of potential injuries and fatigue will undoubtedly be in Arsene Wenger's mind, Arsenal's first signing of the summer will give him a massive helping hand. No, not Alexis Sanchez, but Shad Forsythe, the former Germany and now Arsenal fitness coach. Forsythe has worked with the German national team since 2004, so will have worked with Podolski and Mertesacker for eight years, and Özil for five. Forsythe's expertise regarding fitness and knowledge of Arsenal's German trio will prove absolutely vital when assessing their fitness levels and when each of these players are fit to return.
Whilst Germany's World Cup win will definitely be psychologically beneficial to the German trio, the impact their win could have on the rest of the squad is interesting. More likely than bitterness and resentment is that the Arsenal players will react positively to their teammates success; it also means that should Sami Khedira follow Mesut Özil to Arsenal from Real Madrid, he will already have the utmost respect of the Arsenal squad. Coming into the Arsenal dressing room as a World Cup (and Champions League) winner can only be a positive thing for Khedira, should his move from Real Madrid materialise.
What also has to be considered is the confidence of the players as they return to Arsenal; believe it or not, I've never won a World Cup, but I would guess that you feel pretty good for a while afterwards. Lukas Podolski didn't feature too much for Germany during their World Cup campaign, but he seemed to be enjoying himself as much as anyone (and why shouldn't he)? I think Podolski is a player that will benefit hugely from a win on this scale. An undeniably talented player, he often "hides" on the left flank, and I think the confidence of being part of a World Cup winning squad will do him wonders. Mesut Özil is often dubbed a "confidence player", with critics citing negative body language during games when things are not going his way. Again, like Podolski, I think Özil will really benefit from the triumph in the Maracana, and we'll see more of his best next season as a result.
Whilst it's impossible to definitively say how Germany's World Cup win will impact Arsenal's German core and the rest of the squad, I think that we can expect a positive reaction from the rest of the squad, and we may see three (four?) invigorated German Gunners at the start of the season.