Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Schalke 04 (H)

After returning from Norwich with out tails between our legs, tonight we need to re-focus as we welcome the team that I think will give us the most problems in our group, German side Schalke. Unlike us the Germans are coming into this game off the back of a fantastic away win over current champions and bitter rivals Dortmund.

Schalke are a strong outfit and they retain possession well in the middle. Like us they play a tight passing game and they have good chemistry amongst the squad, the midfield in particular. On the wings they have pace from the 3 main wingers who the manager alternates: Farfan, Draxler and Affelay. Farfarn is quick and can deliver when he needs too. Draxler and Affelay are more tricky and are more than happy beating players and cutting inside. Whoever he pairs (I think Farfan and Affelay) our full backs will have to be on the ball tonight and will absolutely have to get back after going forwards. Upfront they have an accomplished striker in Klaas Jan Huntelaar, a poacher no doubt but make no mistake he can work the ball and space well when he has too. That's why he scored 47 in 48 last season, we'll have to tighten up at the back to ensure he doesn't get his way.

In terms of Arsenal we only have one player returning and thats Koscielny. This game has come just a bit too quick for Wilshere and Sagna, this weekend is far more liklely. I have seen a couple of conflicting reports, one suggests we will remain fairly similar to the side that started at the weekend, another suggests we will push Gervinho back into the centre and Ramsey to the right. Another suggestiosn Coq will return to the side to give us a bit more of a defensive minded midfield. I'm not going to guess at a line up cause there's too much flying around at the moment to even get close.

Tonight's game is a huge test for us, the toughest team in the group, and I think there will be goals at both ends. A draw is not a disaster tonight but a win cements our position at the top of the group. Until next time COGY!

Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Schalke