The productive international break being enjoyed by members of Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal squad continued during Norway’s meeting with Slovakia.
Ståle Solbakken’s troops were back in action on Friday night.
In the first of the nation’s two friendly fixtures slated for the March international break, Norway welcomed Slovakia to Oslo, hopeful of a bounce-back result on the back of a disappointing close to their World Cup qualifying campaign.
And, when all was said and done at the Ullevaal Stadion, return to winning ways is precisely what the evening’s hosts managed.
The game’s opener came courtesy of an almost inevitable source, as Erling Haaland latched onto a perfectly-weighted defence-splitting pass to pick out the far corner in style.
And Norway’s 2nd of the evening followed in quick succession, courtesy of captain Martin Odegaard.
After picking up the ball on the edge of the Slovakia penalty area, Arsenal’s in-form midfield conductor steadied himself, before bending a sumptuous left-footed effort into the top corner of the visitors’ net:
As alluded to above, Odegaard’s strike capping a fine individual display on Friday came amidst what has proven an altogether productive 24 hours on the international stage for Arsenal’s stars.
This comes with Nicolas Pepe having opened the scoring in Cote d’Ivoire’s friendly clash with France, and in some style:
Nicolas Pépé gives Ivory Coast the lead against France!
Make sure you stay for the celebrations pic.twitter.com/t1WCGLeJpk
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 25, 2022
Gunners loanee Matteo Guendouzi then played a central role in France’s eventual comeback, teeing up Aurelien Tchouameni’s last-gasp winner courtesy of a pinpoint corner kick.
And another member of the club’s loan army was too on target at youth level, as Folarin Balogun opened the scoring in England U21s’ win over Andorra:
Tino Livramento & Folarin Balogun link-up to give England U21s the lead against Andorra. pic.twitter.com/eytd3ybdG1
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) March 25, 2022
Not only that, but, after John Stones pulled up with an injury problem in the warm-up for England’s showdown with Switzerland this evening, Ben White was afforded his senior debut for the Three Lions.
White, in the process, became the 3rd member of Mikel Arteta’s ranks to secure his first-ever cap for his country this week, following both Gabriel Martinelli with Brazil, and William Saliba for the aforementioned France.
@Arsenal‘s Gabriel Martinelli comes on for his Brazil debut!
What a moment for the talented youngster pic.twitter.com/zPussxN2lL
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) March 25, 2022