Arsenal will be looking to right the ship when they face Schalke on Wednesday (7.45pm BST) at the Emirates for their third game in this season’s Champions League.
Arsenal were woeful in their weekend league visit to Norwich, falling to a 1-0 loss that was both surprising yet totally in character of many previous Arsenal teams.
Arsene Wenger’s side would have been looking forward to the trip and the chance to make up ground on the league leaders. It should have been a goal fest. Their previous league game at West Ham gave every indication that maximum points would be had from the trip to Norwich.
Blaming the international break becomes silly when you look at the other results around the Premier League and even around Europe. Quite plainly, Arsene Wenger’s team didn’t turn up.
It was also a day that saw absolutely nothing go right. The team are currently without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who picked up a hip injury only seconds after coming on as a second half substitute. Adding to the absences of Abou Diaby, Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott, Arsenal are starting to look very short of attacking numbers.
Jack Wilshere did, however, feature in the travelling squad. Fortunately, the Arsenal manager resisted any urge to bring on the midfielder in the second half. Wilshere started an U21s game for Arsenal on Monday afternoon but may have another place on the bench against Schalke to make up the numbers.
There would be little point in highlighting players such as Olivier Giroud, Gervinho or Santi Cazorla for a lack of any attacking threat because the whole team were terrible against Norwich. You’d also like to think that Giroud will remain in the starting XI for the Champions League tie on Wednesday.
Due to the injuries it’s unlikely we’ll see much change from the woeful team that started against Norwich. The other absentees were Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs from the defence.
If Arsenal are anything like the team that showed up at Carrow Road on Saturday, they’ll have a very tough time beating Schalke.
The Bundesliga side, on the other hand, are hot off their 2-1 win away to Borussia Dortmund. The current Bundesliga holders may have been fancied as favourites for the match, but the visitors poured more misery on Dortmund and their struggles to gain a foothold in the title race.
Schalke opened the scoring through on-loan Barcelona midfielder Ibrahim Afellay and remained comfortable for the best part of the game. In fairness, Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp had opted for a surprise tactical switch to a 3-5-2 formation, leaving the defence wide open for Schalke’s attackers.
Marco Hoger’s goal for the visitors was cut in half by Robert Lewandowski with just over half an hour to go, but there only looked to be one winner.
Schalke are the most likely to advance out of the group stages along with Arsenal and have four points from their first two games. The Germans did throw away two points by drawing with Montpellier in their last Champions League game. Allowing the French champions to score in stoppage time with their only notable attack of the second half was slack.
Arsenal v Schalke Betting Tips Advice
Schalke (best 3/1 with Ladbrokes, Stan James, Boylesports) have a very good side, from top to bottom, but Arsenal’s quality in midfielder should see the home side win this game. The draw is largest odds of 30/11 (that is just under 11/4) with Pinnacle.
Cazorla will be key to finding gaps between Schalke’s centre-back pairing of Benedikt Howedes and Kyriakos Papadopoulos. However, I also fancy Schalke to get on the score sheet.
- Arsenal are the favourites and biggest @ 21/20 with BetVictor for this game. That looks attractive.
- If you want a correct score bet then we advise 2-1 to The Gunners @ 17/2 with BetVictor.
- Klaas-Jan Huntelaar should be backed to score at anytime @ 2/1 (Blue Square, Stan James, Ladbrokes, William Hill). The Dutch international has scored in both of Schalke’s Champions League games so far.