Schalke Preview: A Tough Nut To Crack But A Win Is Vital

“Sure Arsene, I’ll take your bet, you’re gonna regret ‘cos I’m the best that there’s ever been!”
Whatever Poldi, just bloody score.”

An early chance to erase the memories of Saturday arrives as Champions League football returns to The Emirates. A win tonight would go a long way to bring some semblance of realism back to the world of Arsenal as we vacillate between despair and desire, both overwhelming and extreme reactions. Arsène has demanded a strong reaction to the desperate performance at Carrow Road, with strong opposition that is all the more important. Whilst Schalke have not set the group alight in this competition, domestically their form has been good with a solitary defeat at home to Bayern Munich the only real setback although an opening day draw with Hannover wasn’t the best result. They will be in good heart given their five game unbeaten run including Saturday’s derby win at Dortmund. Puncturing that run is the outcome Arsenal need.

With only Koscielny returning from injury, the personnel from Saturday will be largely unchanged. Jack Wilshere’s ninety minutes in the Under-21s match at Everton preclude his inclusion tonight and to be honest, I doubt it was ever the manager’s intention to include him. It seems Jack really was just along for the 14 minute plane ride at the weekend; who knows perhaps the pilot let him into the cockpit as a special treat.

The injury situation at Arsenal is quite astonishing, even by our high standards. Seven of the sixteen listed midfielders for the Champions League are unavailable for selection. Of the nine remaining, there is a huge gap in the experience levels once you get beyond the starting trio this evening, to the extent that if Arteta or Ramsey are forced to leave the field, the likelihood is that either Djourou or Vermaelen will fill their role. It puts some perspective on the pressures of the squad system and where we are right now.

Arsène serves the final match of his suspension and a win will prevent another one starting immediately afterwards. I understand that Wenger gets frustrated but having been in his job for sixteen years and witnessed how prissy Uefa officials have become, it is surprising that he is still caught out. The new direct attitude on display this season does not bode well. Such chagrin is shared by supporters, something which is not lost on the manager,

I understand every frustration. I share that concern. I would love everybody to be happy, but overall the club is in a strong position. The fans have a good team, they have fantastic players and they have a strong financial situation. People feel as well that the players have a good attitude. It’s down to us now to make the maximum of this during the season, but there is no reason really to be doom and gloom. We have a good team and a strong financial situation. Combining both is not easy.

It might not be but given the respective salaries earned by players and manager, it is not unreasonable for us to expect maximum effort to be put in during every 90 minutes of a season, irrespective of the competition. This is about personal and professional pride, both of which have surely been stung as the harsh realities of a ten point gap to the top of the Premier League sets in. Winning is a good habit to have, no matter what the competition, they all count.

For this evening, reprieves all round I think will be the order of the day. Injuries have saved some from the axe and I can only see one, maybe two changes being made. For this match, I expect Gervinho to be the forward to make way. The Ivorian has been erratic in recent matches and had Walcott been fit – even Oxlade-Chamberlain – he would probably be on the bench. In his place, I would move Cazorla to the right and bring Arshavin into the creative role. It is a total shake-up and offers the Russian his preferred role. In midfield, Coquelin for Ramsey would be the change to offer a bit more defensive nature to the triumverate, allowing the two creatives to move forward with no inhibitions.

The line-up would be:

Mannone; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos; Coquelin, Arshavin, Arteta; Cazorla, Giroud, Podolski

The only saving grace for Gervinho might be the knock Podolski was carrying. If that is not healed, Arshavin to the left, Cazorla in his favoured role and Gervinho on the right. It was a stagnant attack on Saturday but there is more life than displayed in the mustard seeds.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

 

420 thoughts on “Schalke Preview: A Tough Nut To Crack But A Win Is Vital

  1. Clerkenwell, you can have the vice next to me any day mate!, as long as you help me step on these cockroaches that appear on nights like this.

  2. Do your thing JJ.

    I will enjoy the team and see them shut people up. I had faith last season when others thought we were crap and would not get into the top 4.

    SV, what does your post mean?

  3. it’s a poor game but not necessary a disastrous result (in getting a ticket out of the group stage,) what’s worrying is like most fans, we watched the team struggled last and this game where they couldn’t mount a conclusive offence, not even an assured and clear approach to direct the ball into the final third. Last season we suffered a lot because the first choice full backs were unavailable, now we have the problem of missing Gibbs overlapping run in the left and Walcott pace at the right. If some of the players aren’t doing their required jobs, then the whole team doesn’t click as one unit. What I mean is if Gerv is the striker, he should be at the centre of the front line, if Ramsey plays as right winger then stay there, Santos is our left back and where the hell was he most of the time ? You see, the problem is about each position. More often than not the players converged near the centre and to the left, leaving the whole space to the right not explored. Jens bombed forward with no support to pass the ball to and has to turn back.
    I pay particular attentions to Cazorla’s movement during the game, I believe he’d operate even better on the wing. Hopefully Wilshere will return and take centre stage, freeing Cazorla to an advance position. But still we’re a man short at mid. Diaby maybe. Really missing TR7.

  4. Dortmund replaced Kagawa with a better player from the same league in Marco Reus, who was Bundesliga player of the year.

    We will probably get out of the group and finish 4th in PL. And again we will celebrate. That’s where we are now. And that’s not too shabby even if it is quite uninspiring.

  5. Its a long season and we have come out the starting gate well enough. The injury list is long but thankfully they aren’t long term. We have SAGNA AND JACK back already.
    this crew IS a better team than what we had last year and given a chance they will out do our accomplishments of last year
    Everyone stop having kittens and get behind the club you SUPPORT .
    Unconditional love and support for each and every player, and the coach.
    those who felt happy or vindicated after the game yesterday should be ashamed, same goes to those who booed and walked out with time left in the game. How dare they call themselves supporters. The away fans were more passionate all through the game even if their team wasn’t doing well at times.
    Your roll is not to sap the confidence out of your team but to supplement them where down.
    UP THE. GUNNERS OF. ARSENAL!!!!!

  6. Its a long season and we have come out the starting gate well enough. The injury list is long but thankfully they aren’t long term. We have SAGNA AND JACK back already.
    this crew IS a better team than what we had last year and given a chance they will out do our accomplishments of last year
    Everyone stop having kittens and get behind the club you SUPPORT .
    Unconditional love and support for each and every player, and the coach.
    those who felt happy or vindicated after the game yesterday should be ashamed, same goes to those who booed and walked out with time left in the game. How dare they call themselves supporters. The away fans were more passionate all through the game even if their team wasn’t doing well at times.
    Your roll is not to sap the confidence out of your team but to supplement them where down.
    UP THE. GUNNERS OF. ARSENAL!!!!!

  7. Same old characters with the blunt knives out.
    Matt Scott of the telegraph thinks that was the worst performance in years. Like Don above he must have been watching the City game. Could there be any other rational explanation for the jibberish?
    Perhaps some people need to get out more often? Actually watch the games of football they are referring to?

  8. Same old characters with the blunt knives out.
    Matt Scott of the telegraph thinks that was the worst performance in years. Like some above he must have been watching the City game. Could there be any other rational explanation for the jibberish?
    Perhaps they need to get out more often? Or even just watch the games of football they are referring to?

  9. There’s Trouble at the Mill? Does the fact that the Manager decided not to go with Giroud from the start, a striker he bought less than 3 months ago say something about his faith in him- he needs a run of consistent games.. to quote a Arseblogger Gerv looked like he was playing in wellies last night…

  10. Same old blunt knives are out.
    Matt Scott of the Telegraph thinks that was the worst performance in years. Maybe he was watching the City game? Could there be any other rational explanation for such jibberish?

  11. Phew. Can’t use the J word I guess.

    Man, it’s the same old blunt knives out. Matt Scott of the Telegraph thinks that was the worst performance in years. Pffffffft. What a plonker.
    Maybe he was watching the City game and got confused?

  12. Schalke were exceptional on their right. Often outnumbering their opponents. And I’m supposed to accept the conclusions of all the amazing and ginormous football brains out there that this was all the fault of the opposing LB?
    As above, perhaps some were watching the other game?

  13. Henristic @ 9:40 pm,

    No!

    I became a doomer (relating their disappointment with mine) but there were mitigating personal circumstances yesterday and I was not as positive as normal.

  14. Arsenal are D**Med. It’s official.*
    &
    Tottenham are a goal down to the mighty Maribor.

    *They can’t even organise a proper AGM like they do at clubs such as Chelski-upon-Battersea and Abu Dhabi City.

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