Not even half way through the season and it looks like Arsenal are set to go another trophy-less season or it is safe to say Arsenal will have a tough time getting their hands on a silverware this season. with 15 points on table after 10 league games, it is yet another disastrous start to the league campaign by Wenger and co.
Champions league form has also been faltering, as the Emirates Faithful witnessed a shock defeat at the hands of Schalke last time out. This time Arsenal travel to Germany to face Schalke 04 and the German side are looking to capitalize on Arsenal’s slump in form off late and 3 points over the Gunners will keep them at the top of Group B in the Champions League.
The loss of star striker Robin Van Persie to Manchester United has affected Arsenal’s potential attacking threat and the Gunners have been very poor in front of goal this season and having a shot on target is a miracle these days. Van Persie’s replacement, Girioud the Ligue 1 top scorer last season, is yet to find his feet in England and German International Podolski has gone silent after his initial impact.
The Gunners lost to Manchester United last saturday with a dismal performance and are low on confidence at the moment. Schalke on the other hand are in second position in the table, seven points behind leaders Bayern Munich and has been improving ever since their Ruhr derby victory over Borussia Dortmund with just one defeat over Hoffenheim.
The German side will be hoping to repeat their performance over a fortnight ago when they stunned Arsenal with goals from Huntelaar and Afellay late in the second half.
However both Schalke and Arsenal suffered away defeats on Saturday. The Royal Blues fell to a shock upset at struggling Hoffenheim ending their five-match losing streak, while the Gunners were beaten 2-1 at Old Trafford by Manchester United in the Premier League. Both the teams have a statement to make and Schalke’s captain Benedikt Hoewedes has said his side has everything to play for at the Veltins Arena.Schalke will be hoping a repeat performance from Afellay and Huntelaar against Arsenal
“We won in London, why shouldn’t we succeed in front of our own fans at the Veltins-Arena?” said the 24-year-old centre-back. I think we have every chance. We will not be thrown off by a defeat. We have to concentrate on the next task.”
“The result, of course, is a step back, but overall, we put in a good performance against Hoffenheim, dominated the game and we created a number of chances, so you can’t see everything as bad. We simply need to be more consistent in some situations, both going forwards and at the back.”
While Schalke fans are already dreaming of the knock-out phase, Peru wing Jefferson Farfan said the old cliche “one game at a time” must be adhered to.
“We can’t afford to look into the future and we have to take each game as it comes,” he said with Olympiacos and Montpellier also in the group. We were fully focued in London and we must do that again.”
The past month has been one to forget for the Arsenal fans, after that shocking defeat to Schalke with a forgettable match at Old Trafford, a scrambled victory at home to QPR and a breath taking 7-5 win over Reading in the Capital one cup and though it is a win, Arsenal should not have allowed 5 goals to slip past them.
Wenger’s men have shown too much inconsistency and are at rock bottom in confidence levels going into the match. It will be interesting to see Wenger’s line-up this time with three points a must for the North Londoners. And the injury list has not been helpful with Wenger having to deal with a host of injuries. Winger Gervinho will be out for around three weeks, while defender Kieran Gibbs, first-choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, midfielder Abou Diaby and Czech winger Tomas Rosicky all continue their rehabilitation.