Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Wenger demands response -Rambo wants Wilshere reunion -Exciting Gnabry to get chance?

Morning Gooners..

If there was ever a time Arsene Wenger could do with a win, tonight would be it. The defeat at Carrow Road on Saturday has certainly proved to be a wake up call that even the smaller teams in the league can beat the bigger ones if their attitude and work rate is better.

Tonight Wenger needs his team to respond to that loss with three points and a better display against Schalke to ensure we progress into the knockout stages as group winners. Lets not beat around the bush, the Germans will be our toughest opponents yet this season.

They had an excellent result at the weekend and will come to the Grove tonight believing that we are there for the taking. It means little that we've lost just one match in the Champions League since we moved to the new stadium because Schalke will be up for this one.

If we don't display the same attitude which was clearly on show against Liverpool and Manchester City we won't come out of the game with the result we need. And Arsene Wenger and the board will be left to answer a lot of tricky questions at tomorrow's AGM.

However the manager has some tricky decisions to make with very few options to chose from given our lengthy injury list. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Abou Diaby, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs and Emmanuel Frimpong are the outfield players Wenger will be unable to select. Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski are also missing.

So does the manager ask the same set of players who were so abject against Norwich to have a go against the Germans? He could bring in Francis Coquelin to play alongside Mikel Arteta and switch Aaron Ramsey to the right. Or he could bench Ramsey, continue to play Gervinho on the right and bring Coquelin in to the midfield.

The other option could be to play Gervinho at the tip of the attack but I don't think Wenger wants to dent Olivier Giroud's confidence any more than it already is. Plus he's off the mark goal wise and needs to continue to play games to get up to speed with the way we play the game.

I think it's most likely we go into the game unchanged. The manager really has little wiggle room until he gets some players back from injury.

It's clear the players want to make amends for the defeat on Saturday.

Aaron Ramsey, who is looking forward to being reunited on the pitch with Jack Wilshere, said::
"When you have an upset like that, you want to get back out there as quickly as possible and put it right. 
"That is what we hope to do and be in a really strong position in this European group." 
And Arsene Wenger wants to see them respond. He said:
"The players know we want a big performance. The most important thing is that we have the ball, express our talent and enjoy playing. 
"I expect us to respond in a strong way because this team is very ambitious. The players were very disappointed to lose at Norwich but we have to put that behind us and show a strong response."
I know that I'm up for the game. I just hope those around me tonight at the game are. We've seen in the past what an influence the supporters at the Grove can be to lift the team and act as a 12th man. I hope we get to see that again tonight.

With Serge Gnabry not involved in the under-21s game with Everton on Monday, I would imagine he'll be on the bench tonight. I can't wait to see him live for the first time. Hopefully that will be at some point during the game later.

If you're off to the Grove tonight, I'll see you there. Otherwise I'll be back tomorrow with more.

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