Arsenal’s starting XI for the game against Schalke.

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday Nov 6th, Schalke (a)

Afternoon folks.

I chose not to post yesterday becuase I figured a days rest from all the hullabaloo and outrage would do me good. It’s kind of worked…

I’m still unhappy with the team’s performance on Saturday. However I may feel towards the ongoing shenanigans at the club, and the various speculatory tales of unrest and discontent; I’ve come to the conclusion that it all amounts to nothing on match day – supporting our team, regardless of how irked we may be, is of paramount importance.

With that in mind, I’ll focus on the game tonight, and it’s a big one.

Schalke proved at the Emirates that they are a class team. They’ve a solid, organised base sprinkled with talented folks like Huntelaar, Affelay and Holtby. On their own patch, roared on by their rather splendid fans, they are a match for anyone. Only our very best can be on display tonight if we hope to leave with any sort of result.

The teams news isn’t promising. Theo Walcott has been struck by a mystery ailment and is rated as highly unlikely to play, as is Aaron Ramsey. Chamberlian is expected to be ready for selection, and there are a few rumours that state Szczsney could be back too. The other notable absentees – Diaby, Rosicky, Gibbs, Gervinho – are no further to a return.

Then there’s Calamity Santos. Wether you’re a fan or not, it’s impossible to dispute his form – defensively – has been woeful, and I’m of the opinion he shouldn’t play tonight. Partly for his own sake, partly for the sake of the team, but mostly for my sanity. Vermaelen can play left-back, as can Sagna. Slotting either Koscielny or Jenkinson into their vacant positions seems a far better idea than subjecting our chubby Brazilian to any more torment.

It’s difficult to predict a team tonight, because I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arsene throw in a wild-card, or something to shake things up a bit. Wilshere could be rested after his exploits at the weekend, but I would guess at that not being the case, given the game’s magnitude. My best prediction would be:

I know many of you disagree regarding Santos, and your opinions are always respected by me. However, I can’t see how putting him in tonight benefits anyone – allowing himself to play back into form is one thing, it’s a huge risk in an important game.

We face a tough task tonight, and I hope to see a bit of the fight and determination that’s been sadly lacking in our league form. We need a performance tonight, we’re due a performance. Let’s hope the players show us what they can really do and we get one.

I’ll go for the extraordinarily bold prediction of 2-0 to the Arsenal.

Thanks for reading today, you beautiful bastards. Allow yourself a moment to indulge in the wonderful comments section below. What are your thoughts on Santos and the team? Let me know.

If you fancy throwing caution to the wind and putting some of your hard earned cash on a prediction, you can head over to Bet Victor, who have a plethora of delicious betting options for your perusal.

24 Comments

  1. Pingback: Arsenal News

  2. Emma

    Santos shul b leFt out

    Reply
  3. Musonda

    sagna will not play rb not in your wildest dreams

    Reply
    1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

      I think you mean left-back…

      Reply
  4. David Dong

    Their should be a shift in Arsenal game today from too many back passes to an offensive game with speed. This is what has always let us down in my opinion. When players have a chance of taking on opponents on counter, the opportunity is killed by slow play of the ball and back passes giving room for opponents to reorganize their defense. I pray Arsenal adopts a game where our player gets a ball and every body is opening ready to receive the ball and not to look on like spectators. This will make it difficult for the opponents to mark our players. I’m very optimistic that when we adopt this kind of play, we shall win games. Success for Arsenal against Schalke.

    Reply
  5. lopez

    Personally i think Vermaelen was way way way worse than Santos and he is to blame for the first goal and also Mertersacker should have headed off that ball for the second goal.

    Reply
    1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

      The difference for me is simple; I know Vermaelen is capable of far better. Santos on the other hand…

      Reply
      1. David Dong

        All this gets back to Arsenals transfer policy. Selling our best players expensively and buying moderate players cheaply. Arsenal forgets that the principle should be: Sell a player so as to buy one better than him. If we did that, there wouldn’t be complains

        Reply
  6. Smith

    Santos plays a left back,so he shud be left back @ dressing room

    Reply
  7. Smith

    Anytime we play vermaleen @ left back, gets himself injured in the process

    Reply
  8. Christian ojogbane

    Wenger should play dat 4mation kos i tink its a better and stronger side.g.luck arsenals

    Reply
  9. Docbrody

    Sagna is such a threat on the right you have to keep him there. Maybe Jenkinsen on the left, though I still hope Santos can dig deep and find some form.

    Reply
  10. Duke zarzar

    Rosicsky is the key to the sucess of this Arsenal team. His speed in mildfield and technical ability is great. Arsenal always plays better when Rosicsky runs the mildfield and currently, nobody that ability to do so. We will surely be a force when Tomas

    Reply
    1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

      @Duke zarzar:

      I wouldn’t say he’s the key to success, but I do agree his presence speeds up our play.

      Reply
  11. paul

    koscielny is better than vermalaen, he might be nervous for some minutes but he deserves to play as center back while vermalaen can flop at left back

    Reply
  12. ashik

    Szesneny is injured?

    Reply
    1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

      When I wrote, there was some hope he’d be fit to play – he isn’t. I included him more in hope than expectation.

      Also, Walcott could feature tonight, as he’s having tests to determine his fitness before the game.

      Reply
  13. Gozman

    I realy agree wit zarzar rosicky is d brain behind everytin even wen song is there if rosicky is not playin our ball wil not flow,i wil always repeat dis i didn c any gud quality from podoski wenger shuld always used pacy winger not people like ramsey nd podolski i don like both.

    Reply
  14. Adrian

    Santos needs to be shipped back to wherever he came from – he is not worth the risk!

    Reply
  15. Deepesh

    we’ve had a problem going forward this season. something’s missing ! vermaelen should play midfield and kocielny as centre back. need to play 4 4 2 instead ! with podolski and walcott up front

    Reply
  16. afc_fan!

    I like Rosicky a great deal but Santi is a better player in my opinion. The problem I’ve seen lately is Ramsey playing on the right side where he doesn’t have the pace we need there to spread the defense and keep them honest. A midfield with Santi and Rosicky playing together will be a sight to see though.

    Reply
    1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

      You’re absolutely right. Ramsey struggles on that right side, and I don’t feel it’s his fault – he’s a central player.

      Reply
  17. danny

    Santos would look out of place in the championship, which begs the question why Wenger bought him..

    Reply
  18. jan

    i blieve arsenal luck pace from the wings so wish tonight game we have the the pace of theo14 and the ox for me. podolski need a rest and have no pace to scare the defenders and create chance for the only striker and this santos dont even deserve a call should be sold,he is entatainer…LUCK
    GANAS

    Reply

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