With just a few days until the first ball of the tournament is kicked, World Cup fever is beginning to go into overdrive across the planet.

Arsenal, like many major clubs across the world, will be keeping a close eye on the 2018 World Cup in Russia at players who may make a splash on the global stage.

It wouldn’t be the first time the gunners have taken a chance on a player after a strong tournament – if Andrey Arshavin hadn’t lit up Euro 2008, he may never have donned an Arsenal shirt.

And while there’ll be a look to the new, there will also be a focus on players already on the books.

Arsenal are being represented by nine players at the tournament, which in relation to some other British clubs such as Manchester City (17), Tottenham Hotspurs (12) and Manchester United (11), is quite a low tally.

Last time around, when the tournament came to a close, Arsenal played home to 3 World Cup winners in Germany’s Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil. That feat is impossible this time around due to no one country having over two players from Unai Emery’s team, but there is quite a good chance that there will be some players turning up to pre-season after progressing to the late stages of the World Cup in Russia.

Below is a more in-depth look at what Arsenal’s representation at the tournament looks like and how they’re expected to perform at the tournament.

Mesut Ozil, Germany

The only player in Arsenal’s team with the auspicious honour of already owning a World Cup medal from his German sides victory in 2016, and surely the player in the best position to add another one to his collection.

Germany are an international team with extraordinary depth – so much so, they chose to leave PFA Young Player of the Year Leroy Sane at home.

Ozil is an integral part of the German set-up so it will be interesting to see how he gets on at the tournament, with expectations so high. When the playmaker is in-form, there’s rarely a better player in the world at doing what he does, and when he’s not fussed, he can be unremarkable – so it will be interesting to see which Ozil turns up this time around on the world stage.

Joel Cambell, Costa Rica

Campbell’s is a name that hasn’t been heard around North London for a while, with the midfielder spending the season on loan at Real betis in Spain.

Sadly for the Costa Rican – who has been at Arsenal since 2011 but has failed to hold down a starting berth in the team – was injured for much of the season, making only 8 appearances in which he scored 2 goals and made 1 assist.

With Campbell’s contract approaching a close, the 25-year-old is very much in the shop window in Russia, and will be eager to impress his new manager.

David Ospina, Columbia

Ospina’s performances with Columbia in 2014 no doubt played a pivotal part in him moving to Arsenal in the first place.

With Arsenal being linked with many goalkeepers already this window, his future at the club may be in jeopardy, as it would be unlikely he would remain at the club as a 3rd fiddle behind Petr Cech and a new acquisition.

Columbia have a tricky group that includes Poland, Japan and Senegal. The South American team will be expecting to get through the group stages, but it may be tricky as they’ll be up against some decent sides, meaning Ospina will need to be on-form in Russia.

Mohamed Elneny, Egypt

Elneny picked up an injury towards the end of the Premier League season, which was bad news for Egyptian football supporters.

Fortunately for both team and player, Elneny is expected to be for the tournament – along with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, who was also a doubt after picking up a shoulder injury in the Champions League final.

With a relatively fit team, Egypt will hope to progress through the group stage ahead of Uruguay, Saudi Arabia or the hosts Russia.

Alex Iwobi, Nigeria

Of all the players going to the World Cup from Arsenal, I think it’s safe to say that Iwobi will be wearing the nicest kit, with the Super Eagles World Cup jersey selling out all over the world thanks to its unique design.

Iwobi is a vital part of the Nigerian international team, but will be up against it in Russia. He will be coming up against Croatia, Iceland and Argentina, meaning he’s in what a group that could lay claim to be the much feared “group of death”.

If Nigeria make it through the group, it will give Iwobi a great opportunity to impress his new manager and stake a claim for continued involvement next season.

Danny Welbeck, England

Welbeck is Arsenal’s only contribution to the English national team, with Jack Wilshire being somewhat controversially left out.

The forward has always performed well for England – which is most likely what warranted his inclusion in the side – but one can’t imagine him seeing too much playtime in Russia.
Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy will be the top 2 to play in the striker role, but if England do somehow manage to make it to the later stages of the knock-out rounds, then Welbeck’s experience may need to be called upon in what is a very youthful English squad.

Welbeck’s Arsenal future is not yet secured, so an opportunity to impress his new boss on the world stage could do him good.

Nacho Monreal, Spain

Monreal was one of Arsenal’s standout performers this campaign and was a stalwart of the defense in Arsene Wenger’s final season at the club.

Generally a fullback, Monreal was employed as a centre back on several occasions this season just gone and has done well. Perhaps it was this versatility that earned him a place on the plane to Russia.

Monreal is in with a genuine chance of getting his hands on the World Cup trophy, as he is playing within a revitalised Spanish team with quality all over the pitch. Monreal will likely not be in the starting line-up, but as the tournament progresses, his positional versatility could see him getting some time on the field.

Granit Xhaka, Switzerland

I think it’s fair to say that Xhaka hasn’t entirely won over the Arsenal faithful with his hot/cold performances, but it’s very different in his native country, where he is considered an absolutely integral part of the team.

In the absene of his now teammate Stephan Lichtensteiner, Xhaka will be the cpatian of the Swiss team. Regardless of who is wearing the armband, the Swiss have a tough group and will need to be on their game to progress.

Brazil, Serbia and Campbell’s Costa Rica make up Group E, making it one of the strongest groups in the competition. Brazil surely have top spot sewed up, meaning second place will be a likely shoot-out between the Swiss and the Serbs.

Stephen Lichtsteiner, Switzerland

Arsenal’s newest recruit joins Xhaka in the Swiss team, and he will likely be the man donning the captain’s armband.

At 34-years-old, Lichtsteiner is vastly experienced at international level, having played for his country 99 times since he began in 2006.

With AC Milan’s Ricardo Rodruiguez on his opposite flank, the Swiss boast perhaps the strongest pair of full-backs in the competition. Lichtsteiner will hope to impress at what will likely be his last World Cup campaign, and set himself up nicely to begin life in North London after the competition draws to a close.