A few more dull and depressing days have past since, you know, that much hyped game at Old Trafford, where we failed to show up, but a Dutch cunt did. These days in the doldrums have been spent by overeating and indulging in abuse, rants and all of that.
But, it is time to get back to business again, tonight, as Arsenal face the daunting prospect of a trip to Germany to face a Schalke side, that so convincingly beat the Gunners just couple of weeks back.
One of Arsene Wenger’s most famous quotes was “A team like is a woman. You have to keep telling her how beautiful she is.” And that piece of Wengerism holds good in the coming days. On the back of the insipid performance against Manchester United, the boss has admitted the side lacks a bit of belief.
And it is belief, hunger and a desire to win that will be required in large helpings, if Arsenal are to get out of Gelsenkirchen with a point tonight. As most Arsenal bloggers point out, the team has been let down too often this season by a defensive lapse or two every game. Out of the 8 goals, the Gunners have conceded in the league, 5 of them were completely avoidable.
Despite Arsene Wenger’s belief that the team needs a more of an offensive drive, I think there needs to be some semblance of confidence that needs to be instilled among the players, who have been shipping goals for fun in the recent past.
Pinpointing the blame on individuals alone is barely going to help, and Andre Santos has been at the end of a fair bit of rough weather. What we must know is that it is the team that defends as a whole. And it is an area which the team needs to develop, and can be done only over a period of time.
Mikel Arteta has claimed that there is no problem with the attitude of the players, and the team remains focused on the job ahead.
We’ve got another massive game again. We lost against [Schalke] at home, which was a big disappointment and it’s going to be a really tough game in Germany.We have to bounce back. I think we have to show how much we want to win it and go there and show big attitude.I have no doubt about the attitude that we have in the dressing room, and the desire. I think the attitude was good [against Manchester United]. We all kept trying, even with 10 men.We had a couple of chances to score and we have to give some credit to the lads. But again, conceding those goals against a big team just kills the games.
And Arsene Wenger will look forward to starting with Jack Wilshere, again, who has been a catalyst, so far, since his return. Despite his red card against Manchester United, the midfielder looked like one of barely two or three Arsenal players willing to take the fight to the opposition.
I think I will play him, Then we have a block of three games and maybe the fact that he gets a period of recovering will be just right for him. He gets better in every game.We had a very promising start and of course we have gone through a difficult spell. We want to respond to that and rectify that very quickly because it is not only the fact we lost the [Manchester United] game but the way we lost it.We are still in a strong position in this group but of course we want to come out with a good result.
In other news, one of the major fallout stories of the Manchester United game has been the shirt incident of Andre Santos. And the Brazilian has apologized for his actions on Twitter. I felt that the reaction all over the internet was a bit over the line.
Yes, it was Arsenal and Manchester United, and Robin van Cunty of all people. But, with all this talk of respect and equality and all of that, don’t you think there are bigger concerns right now. Yes, it was disrespectful to some extent, but to go on to berate a player is the last thing to do. Santos’ wife had to do much of the talking, and speak of the cultural differences. The manager said he had a word with the player, and insisted on not making a mountain out of a mole hill. So, hopefully it will be forgiven and forgotten.
What we always forget that Santos is an international player, and a player good enough to make the Brazil squad, surely has some ability. Unfortunately, Santos is a defender, who loves to attack, and this has caused him to get caught out of position far too many times for our liking. I feel, there is some work needed to be done, and Santos in no way is a bad second choice left back.
On the other flank, things look slightly rosier, with the manager having two quality right backs vying for the spot and Bacary Sagna has invited the competition. This means the manager will now have more options, and hopefully give both players sufficient chances, and time to rest and recover through the course of the season.
In a final news snippet, Moroccan striker Marouanne Chamakh has insisted he will stay at Arsenal beyond January, after rejuvenating himself with two goals, in last week’s crazy night against Reading. While Chamakh may not be the long term answer to Arsenal’s goal scoring problems, I think he deserves as much chance as Olivier Giroud to prove his worth. As far as I remember, he won us like a gazillion penalties, and was a mean goal scoring machine when he first arrived, till exhaustion took over.
Team news, then. Latest news is that Walcott could be out after being sick. He is expected to be on the bench though. This leaves the manager short of options in midfield as well as up front, with Aaron Ramsey having been ruled out for a week, with a groin problem. With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain expected to return only for the weekend game against Fulham, and Gervinho expected to be out for atleast another two weeks, Arsenal will be short on the right side of midfield.
Despite the name of Serge Gnabry being touted around quite a bit, I would personally hope Andrei Arshavin starts, because he has looked good when he has played so far this season. His direct approach, and pin point crossing could be vital as Olivier Giroud keeps his place in the lineup. The Russian has 6 assists to his name so far, 5 of which have come in 2 league cup games, and the other was when Cazorla capitalized against Manure.
In defence also, there will be concerns about Andre Santos. But again, there are rounds doing on Twitter that Thomas Vermaelen will get the nod ahead of the Brazilian, with Laurent Koscielny to slot in the centre of defence. Koscielny and Mertesacker, I feel, are Arsenal’s best defensive duo at the moment, due to Vermaelen’s recent spate of errors. Rest is what I would hope he gets.
I feel the burden of captaincy has cost the Belgian a bit from his game. We all know he is a highly competitive and aggressive defender, but at times, more likely to shun defensive duties to go forward. Hopefully, with Koscielny playing, it will ease some tension off him, and he can contribute more. Vito Mannone is expected to start, despite Szczesny being fit.
Schalke have no injury worries, coming into the game and are expected to start the same side that won at the Emirates. They will be welcoming back Greek, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, a beast of a defender, back into the side. The German side were at the losing end at the weekend, as well, as they slumped to a 3-2 defeat to Hoffenheim. Here is how I think the teams will line up.
The Germans were tactically astute against Arsenal, well disciplined, and manufactured their moves very well. What Arsenal can expect tonight is more of the same organisation, efficiency and work rate, and it will take something special to win tonight in hostile conditions.
Enjoy the game wherever you are!
Jai Arsenal 🙂
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