Arsene Wenger has a lot to do in the next few days to get Arsenal ready for the visit of the German Bundesliga side Schalke on Wednesday in the third round of the champions league. After yesterday’s horror show against Norwich, a game that was looking like it would seal top spot in the group now looks fraught with danger.
Wenger has a number of problems with injuries to deal with, but the main problem is making sure that Arsenal do not repeat the lacklustre and ineffective performance that they put in yesterday. I am still amazed at how bad Arsenal were yesterday. Everybody has an off day sometimes, but it seemed to be the whole team.
After the good win and spirited comeback against West Ham, it was like watching a completely different team. Teams can learn more from a defeat than from a string of victories, and that is what the Gunners must do because Schalke are a good team in form.
Having lost just once all season, to the German league leaders Bayern Munich, Schalke are confident and playing well. They won a fiercely contested local derby against Borussia Dortmund yesterday, and Dortmund ouplayed Manchester City at the Etihad in the last round.
Wenger now has no Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Diaby or Gibbs as well as the long term absentees, so he does not have too many options left in his team selection. We cannot dwell on yesterday’s game but we must make sure it never happens again.