Schalke Shocker?: There couldn’t be a worse time to meet them
By Tanaka Felix Chidemo
On a day that all our main title rivals battled hard from behind to clinch vital wins in their respective fixtures, we failed to do the same or even come close.
We were so poor, we can’t even say we were unlucky. We gave nothing to the game and got as much out of it.
I wonder when we are ever going to stop looking like a work in progress and start being the finished article? I’m sure everyone is in agreement that we were off colour. The less said about that appalling performance the better for me.
Looking ahead, we have a tough date with Schalke in the champions league on Wednesday. There couldn’t be a worse time to meet them. They are fresh off a moral boosting win against reigning Bundesliga champions Dortmund.
For me, Schalke are our main threat in the group. Dropping points at home against Montpellier wasn’t good for them but they are the ones that I feel are capable of upsetting us at home and beating us to the top spot in the group.This one for me is genuinely hard to call. We have a great record in the Champions league at home but the way we played against Olympiacos left a lot to be desired.
They were always in the game until Ramsey put them to sleep in the dying embers of the game. It is my expectation that Wednesday’s encounter against Schalke will have the same intensity. In Huntelaar they have a quality marksman. For the kind of money we are comfortable with paying in the market, I believe he was the closest thing to RVP that we could buy. Fingers crossed, he doesn’t show it on Wednesday.
Our defence will certainly be audited on this one. The trickery of Affelay will not be easy to deal with, especially without Gibbs who remains sidelined due to injury. Its prudent to believe in the strength of your rival but it would be foolish to underestimate yourself. In Carzola and Podolski we have a killer attack. Podolski will want to get one over some of his countrymen while Santi will just be Santi and school ’em all!
Really wish contract rebel Theo was fit for this one. He’s come through with some good performances of late. There’s talk about him heading to Liverpool. No one is bigger than the team but at times for the team to stay big it ought to be able to tie up a deal for its most capped player quickly.
Another absentee will be Oxlade-Chamberlain but Arshavin or Gnarby can fill that gap. Wonder when Eisfeld is going to get a place in the team? He was good in pre-season and he’s still scoring from midfield with the U21s. Jack will probably stay on the bench for longer but I suspect Sagna will join him there. It will be interesting to see how the latter gets back into the starting Xl because Jenkinson hasn’t given Wenger any reason to have to make a decision.
I’ll go for a 2-1 win in favour of the best team in London and my starting Xl will be as follows. Mannone; Jenkinson; Vermaelen; Per; Santos; Arteta; Coquelin; Carzola(of course); Podolski; Giroud; Ramsey. Gervinho didn’t do enough for me on Saturday so he can sit this one out.