Arsenal - Schalke Preview: Gunners undefeated in 45 matches at home against non-English opposition
Arsene Wenger's men look to extend their incredible record in the Champions League but have a tough task ahead of them, with a number of key players ruled out through injury
By Alfie Meekings
Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos
Gervinho, Cazorla, Podolski
Uchida, Howedes, Matip, Fuchs
Farfan, Holtby, Afellay
Arsene Wenger’s injury list continues to grow, as a knock to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hip) in Saturday’s defeat to Norwich means he joins Bacary Sagna (leg), Theo Walcott (rib), Laurent Koscielny (back) and Abou Diaby (thigh) on the sidelines.
Kieran Gibbs may be passed fit after suffering with a thigh strain, but it is unlikely that he will be risked ahead of Andre Santos.
One piece of more pleasing news for Arsenal is the return of Jack Wilshere to fitness. However, after playing 90 minutes for the Gunners’ Under-21s on Monday, it is unlikely that he will feature.
Schalke will likely be without 19-year-old German international Julian Draxler, who broke his wrist during their 2-2 draw with Montpelier during their last Champions League outing, however, manager Huub Stevens suggested before their clash with Dortmund at the weekend that he may play with a cast on his arm if he feels comfortable enough.
Kyriakos Papadopulous is suffering from a bout of chicken pox and will be unavailable while Christoph Metzelder (knee) is also a doubt.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Arsenal have not lost a home fixture against non-English opposition in 45 matches, since losing to Inter in 2003.
- All three of Aaron Ramsey's Champions League goals have been netted in the 90th minute or later.
- Lukas Podolski (pictured right) has scored four goals in his last three Champions League matches. Podolski is 5/1 with William Hill to score two or more goals in this match.
- Santi Cazorla has scored more goals from outside the box (nine) than any other player in the top European leagues since August 2011.
Schalke have only won one of their last eight European games against English opposition, although that was a 3-2 win over Arsenal in 2003.
- All three shots on target against them in the Champions League have resulted in a goal.
In four of their last five against English opposition, the German side have failed to score.
- The visitors have won 14 and lost just four of their last 25 European matches.
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Top 3 Predictions
Arsenal 3-1 Schalke 04
- 20.53 %
Arsenal 2-1 Schalke 04
- 17.5 %
Arsenal 2-0 Schalke 04
- 14.15 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 6, 2012||Schalke 04 2 - Arsenal 2|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Oct 24, 2012||Arsenal 0 - Schalke 04 2|
|Dec 8, 2013||Arsenal 1 - Everton 1||EPL|
|Dec 4, 2013||Arsenal 2 - Hull 0||EPL|
|Nov 30, 2013||Cardiff City 0 - Arsenal 3||EPL|
|Nov 26, 2013||Arsenal 2 - Olympique de Marseille 0||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||Arsenal 2 - Southampton 0||EPL|
|17||Jefferson Agustin Farfán||Striker|
The Germany international is in dangerous form in the Champions League for the Gunners, and has already managed to rack up four goals in just three appearances. Although he may be deployed in a wider position to facilitate Olivier Giroud in the centre, expect the 27-year-old to put Uchida to the test down the left with his direct approach.
The attacking midfielder is in fantastic form for Schalke this term, having already netted three goals in the Bundesliga. Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta will have to be aware of the threat Holtby poses as he tries to exploit the space between defence and midfield.
Schalke will enter the game with high spirits, coming off the back of a 2-1 derby win over Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Saturday. However, in spite of Arsene Wenger’s injury problems, it’s hard to look past Arsenal for this one. The Gunners have not lost a European match at home for a long time and have a number of experienced players in their lineup which could just edge the tie.