Arsenal.com have revealed the Arsenal starting XI and substitutes that will face FC Schalke in the Champions League in just under an hour. It looks like Gervinho will be playing down the middle, with Aaron Ramsey on the right-wing – Olivier Giroud had been dropped to the bench. Coquelin partners Cazorla and Mikel Arteta in midfield.
Gervinho as the central striker is pretty good news. I have always felt that he is better in the middle; he looks slightly lost on the right wing and he has 5 goals already this season when playing in the central role. Don’t forget that we have no Walcott and no Oxlade-Chamberlain, so Andrey Arshavin could maybe make an appearance at some point.
Substitutes: Shea, Koscielny, Djourou, Arshavin, Gnabry, Giroud, Chamakh
What I find particularly interesting is that Schalke have won only one of their last eight European games against English teams (W1 D1 L6). However, that was a 3-1 win over Arsenal at home in September 2001… The Germans have not lost in 13 European group games (W9 D4), but they have failed to score on 4 of the last 5 occasions that they faced English teams.
Speaking ahead of the match, Arsene Wenger was adamant that the team performance must be much better than it was on the weekend against Norwich; this game represents a good opportunity for us to try and cement top-spot in our Champions League group and Arsenal cannot afford to blow it. However, Le Boss was also quick to highlight some of Schalke’s more influential players because he knows that this game could be tough.
“We have got over it and we will focus on our next game.
“As a team, we’re not as efficient as we are used to. It is just of course at a very bad moment for us.
“We have a good opportunity, we play at home against Schalke and since we know that we won in Montpellier, our qualifying will depend on how well we do at home.
“Schalke are a solid side with good organisation.
“Up front of course they have Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Jefferson Farfan, that we know are well, Ibrahim Afellay and Julian Draxler. They are dangerous and play a lot on counter-attacks.”
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