In terms of team news, both Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott join Abou Diaby on the sidelines with only Koscielny returning to the squad after recovering from a back injury. No mention has been made of young Englishman Kieran Gibbs with it being assumed he is still recovering from the thigh strain he picked up against West Ham before the international break. It is hard to say whether Wilshere will get a run, but it is unlikely given he played a full 90 minutes with the reserves on Monday.
Going into this match, it is clear Arsenal must stop their recurring trend of going behind 1-0. They have done so on four occasions already this season and is a trend that must obviously be reversed. The first goal is imperative in any match, particularly with Arsenal. Once opposition teams have the upper hand on Arsenal they are usually content to shut-up shop and defend tight and deep to nullify the Gunners favoured build-up play through the middle.
There is no doubt defence will be tested tonight with classy players such as Huntelaar, Afellay and Holtby in attack for Schalke. The Gunners should be superior in midfield and hopefully Cazorla is able to improve on his flat performance from the weekend. We certainly need this win to not only preserve the remarkable home record against non-English opponents, but also to boost our confidence for the upcoming Premier League match on the weekend.
on the latest updates…
We lost Oxlade-Chamberlain, he will not be back. The only player who will be back in the squad, recovering, is Koscielny.
on Walcott’s contract talks…
They are going on but there is no news about that. The good news is that Theo had his first run today and is looking quite well so he should be back shortly.
on reports of Juventus’ interest in Walcott…
My determination has always been the same, to extend his contract. [Whether] other clubs are interested or not, the determination is the same.
Jenkinson Mertesacker Vermaelen (c) Santos
Gervinho Cazorla Podolski
Arsenal to win: 11/10 (2.10)
Draw: 5/2 (3.50)
Schalke to win: 12/5 (3.40)
Arsenal 2 Schalke 1: 15/2 (8.50)