Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Arsenal's Champions League Game With Schalke Previewed

After falling off the horse against Norwich on Saturday it's back to action for Arsenal tonight. The Norwich game was in the Premier League but Schalke come to visit an Arsenal team on top of their Champions League group. They're in that position thanks to wins against Montpellier and Olympiacos in their first two games.

Arsenal didn't exactly set the world alight in either of those games, but they did enough to win them both. There are very few soft touches in the Champions League and tonight's opponents will be no exception. Schalke are two points behind Arsenal after winning away in Greece and drawing at home to Montpellier.

They're currently third in their domestic league with five wins and only one defeat in their opening eight games. That's the position they finished in last season to qualify for the Champions League.

The Arsenal defeat to Norwich at the weekend was so disappointing because of the performance of the team. Not only did they fail to create enough chances in the game, but they were unable to raise their game when Norwich went ahead. In previous games this season Arsenal were able to up their game if they went behind, and get back into the game.

The team have an opportunity tonight to show that the Norwich defeat was a one off. They need to be up to the task from the first minute and impose their game on Schalke. The most disappointing team for me on Saturday was the lack of movement off the ball by Arsenal.

With the current spate of injuries the chances are the same team will start tonight for Arsenal. The players need to play the game at a pace that will cause Schalke real problems. It's an opportunity for them to show the fans that Saturday was just a mishap.

Santi Cazorla has had a great start to his Arsenal career and he's the player most likely to get the team ticking tonight. If he can find the space he needs to play in then he is good enough to make Schalke pay. He needs other players to get into good positions for him to open up the Schalke defence.

Arsenal's set pieces have been far from good so far this season too. Lukas Podolski did score directly from a free kick against Southampton, but I can't remember any other set pieces that reaped a reward. Arsenal have the players to benefit from all the set pieces they have, but maybe they need more time to work on them in training.

As a fan it's infuriating to see Arsenal waste corner after corner in succession. I find it hard to understand how a professional footballer fails to clear the first defender from a corner. Steve Bould's influence seems to be having an effect on the defence and maybe he can pass on a few tricks of the trade from an attacking sense.

When Bould was a part of the famous Arsenal defence of the 1980s and 90s they were very good at scoring from set pieces too. Surely it's only a matter of time before he can get the current crop of players to use set pieces to their advantage.

A win tonight would put Arsenal in a fantastic position with three games left to play in their group. It would almost certainly spell qualification for the knock out stages yet again. Usually 10 points are enough to qualify from a Champions League group and a win tonight would see Arsenal on nine points with three games left.

I'm hoping and expecting to see a response from the players and I think it should be enough to get the win Arsenal want. I'm predicting a 2-0 win for Arsenal to get them back to their winning ways. A performance to banish the memories of last Saturday would be perfect, but I'll be happy with any win really.

After this game Arsenal play again on Saturday afternoon at home to QPR. It's a game I'll be attending and it will be my first trip of the season. Confidence can be a big factor for footballers and a win tonight will hopefully give the players the confidence they need to thrash QPR on Saturday.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. As devout follower of Arsenal, I am so glad that you have this blog. It's good hear anything about my favorite team. Good or bad, we will always surpport the team.