Arsenal will look to bounce back from Saturday’s horror show at Norwich and virutally guarantee their path into the knockout stages of the Champions League by taking on German outfit Schalke 04 in London.
Arsenal’s teutonic visitors will be buoyed by their away derby win at champions Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.
Arsene Wenger is fully aware of the threat posed by the visitors, ‘They are a team that tries to play good football and they try to build out from the back, like all the German teams,” said Wenger. “They have just had a very good result in Dortmund and they are solid with good organisation.
“They are a team with few superstars,” he went on, “but they have good players in every position.
“The central defenders and full backs are dangerous going forward. Up front of course they have Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Jefferson Farfan, who we know well. They have Ibrahim Afellay and Julian Draxler too, if he plays. They are dangerous on counter-attacks and, for me, they are a very complete team.”
Meanwhile, Schalke boss Huub Stevens was efusive in praise of his counterpart, ‘It`s unbelievable that the man has done such a good job for so many years,” Stevens said at Tuesday`s press conference. “Every time he manages to bring through young players. It`s outstanding work that he`s done and I`m looking forward to seeing him tomorrow.
“I expect them to play as they have in their home games up until now, with a lot of pressure going forwards. I think they will try to do that tomorrow as well. It`s up to us to bring our quality.”
Arsenal Team News:
Arsenal have Laurent Koscielny back from a slight knee injury, but lose Alex Oxlade Chamberlain who went off with a kick on his ankle in Saturday’s defeat to Norwich.
Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs aren’t expected back from injury until Saturday. Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Emmanuel Frimpong will be in contention for that game too, the Schalke match is deemed too soon after all completed 90 minutes for the U-21s on Monday.
Wojciech Szczesny (ankle), Abou Diaby (thigh), Tomas Rosicky (achilles), Lukasz Fabianski (ankle) are out of contention. Damian Martinez is ineligible, so James Shea will be on the bench.
Arsenal (from); Mannone, Shea; Jenkinson, Djourou, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, A.Santos, Arteta, Coquelin, Ramsey, Cazorla, Arshavin, Gnabry, Gervinho, Podolski, Giroud, Chamakh.
Player to watch: Gervinho
Reports suggest that Olivier Giroud will be dropped to the bench with Gervinho resuming the central striker role. It’s been an odd season for the Ivorian, who has infuriated some with inconsistent form from the wing.
Yet as a central striker, he has clocked 5 goals this season. Even with no injuries to forwards, Arsenal did not have a recognised striker on their bench on Saturday. Gervinho might be auditioning for a more permanent shift upfront.
Schalke 04 Team News:
19 year old midfielder Julian Draxler is a major doubt after breaking his wrist in the win over Montpellier. Kyriakos Papadopoulos is also a doubt having just recovered from a bout of chicken pox.
Player to watch: Jan Klaus Huntelaar
Huntelaar plays as a lone striker and causes defences no end of problems with his intelligent movement and ability to sniff out chances. Huntelaar scored 27 goals in 28 appearances last year, which tells you all you need to know.
Match Facts & Stats
Schalke have yet to lose away from home this season- the only side in the Bundesliga to lay claim to that record.
Schalke have not won in England in 5 attempts.
The sides met in the first group stage in 2001, with Arsenal winning 3-2 at Highbury, but losing 3-1 in Germany.
Jan Klaus Huntelaar scored the first ever goal registered at Ashburton Grove when he put Ajax 1-0 up in Dennis Bergkamp’s testimonial in 2006.
Huntelaar was a teammate of Thomas Vermaelen at Ajax from 2006-09.
Schalke coach Huub Stevens coached Lukas Podolski for a year back in 2004 with Koln.
The referee will be Sweden’s Jonas Eriksson.
I think this will be a tough tie and am plumping for a 1-1 draw. Huntelaar for Schalke and Podolski for Arsenal.
The two sides meet again in Germany in 13 days time in the group. Arsenal’s next domestic game is at home to Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.