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Arsenal V Schalke 04: Match Preview

By: Jason Hope 24 Oct 2012 17:31:02

Arsenal V Schalke 04: Match Preview

Arsenal have an extraordinary record at home against non-English opponents, they are unbeaten in 45 matches at the Emirates and they'll be looking to continue that run when they face Schalke 04 on Wednesday night.

This will not be an easy task for The Gunners though, as they have a number of key players out with injuries. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain picked up an injury in Saturday's defeat against Norwich. He'll be joining Bacary Sagna, Theo Walcott, Laurent Koscielny and Abou Diaby on the sidelines.

One piece of good news however was the return of Jack Wilshere, after a 15 month lay off. The England international was included in the squad for the match against Norwich although he didn't get a run out. It is unlikely that Wilshere will start against Schalke seeing as he still won't be fully match fit, but depending of how things are going for Arsenal we could see him make a cameo appearance during that latter stages of the match.

Schalke will be without German international Julian Draxler who suffered a broken wrist during the teams last Champions League outing against Montpelier, although Schalke manager Huub Stevens has said that Draxler could play with a cast on his arm if the player felt comfortable enough. Two other players that will be sidelined for the German team are Kyriakos Papadopulous who is suffering from chicken pox and Christoph Metzelder who is a doubt with a knee injury.

Arsneal go into Wednesday nights Champions League game on faltering form, losing two of their last five games and winning three. The Gunners will be looking to be more creative against Schalke after they appeared to run out of ideas against a determined Norwich side last Saturday. But with Chamberlain and Walcott both out Podolski and Gervinho will have to give the team width with the goal shy Giroud playing as the main striker.

Last Five Results:

Norwich 1 – 0 Arsenal

West Ham 1 – 3 Arsenal

Arsenal 3 – 1 Olympiacos

Arsenal 1 – 2 Chelsea

Arsenal 6 – 1 Coventry

Schalke have in been in good form in their domestic league and in the Champions League although they dropped two points against group rivals Montpelier on October 3rd. The German side will take confidence from their 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund at the weekend and will be hoping to carry that form into the Champions League.

Last Five Results:

Borussia Dortmund 1 – 2 Schalke 04

Schalke 04 3 – 0 Wolfsburg

Schalke 04 2 – 2 Montpelier

Fortuna Dusseldorf 2 – 2 Schalke 04

Schalke 04 3 – 0 Mainz

I would usually pick Theo Walcott as Arsenal's danger man, his blistering pace makes him a constant threat to any defence in the world. But as the England international is injured I'll have to go with Santi Cazorla. He'll be the player pulling the strings in the middle of the park, he has a brilliant eye for that killer pass and has an awesome shot, with both feet might I add. He has been a delight to watch so far in the Premier League although I have to say he was not at his best against Norwich. So if Schalke want to stop Arsenal from playing, they need to close down Cazorla and give him no space whatsoever.

Schalke star player has to be Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. The Dutch international has been prolific for the German club, scoring 66 goals in 90 matches. Huntelaar is well travelled as a player and has had spells at some of the biggest clubs in the world including Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan. The player has already notched five goals in eight appearances so far this season and that stat alone makes him my man to watch for Schalke.

The two teams have only face each other once previously, back in the Champions League group stages in 2001. The teams came out one a piece, both winning at home. Although Arsenal conceded more goals in those two games.

Prediction

I'm going for another home win for Arsenal to keep their record in tact. It won't be easy though as they'll have to bounce back from their defeat to Norwich. But if Cazorla is given the time and space that he needs he will be able to dictate the pace of the game and keep Arsenal in control of proceedings.

Arsenal 1 – 0 Schalke

Podolski getting the only goal after being put through by Cazorla.


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