Arsenal will be looking to arrest their concerning dip in form and get their Champions League campaign back on track as they head to Germany and a meeting with Group B leaders Schalke.
Currently second in the Bundesliga, Schalke inflicted a rare home European defeat on the Gunners two weeks ago. It was a listless performance by Arsenal at the Emirates and boss Arsene Wenger would surely concede that his side will need to be considerably more effective at both ends of the pitch to get a positive result in Gelsenkirchen.
The signs were not good, though, for Arsenal at the weekend as they fell to a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United—a score line that, in truth, flattered Arsenal.
While individual errors have plagued Arsenal at the back in recent matches, Wenger has revealed that his major concerns lie on the offensive end.
“We are still the best defense in the league if you look at the goals conceded,” he said, according to the official Arsenal website.
“But at the moment we don't have to focus too much on that.
"I think what is most important right now is that we find our game back. Our game is about creating chances, about going forward, about having an offensive drive.
“I believe I have a team of great players and perhaps they have forgotten a little bit how good they are,” he added.
Wenger will be without Aaron Ramsey for the match after the Welsh midfielder suffered a groin injury on Saturday. Theo Walcott could well come into the side, although he is a doubt through illness. Despite returning to training, it is still too early for Wojciech Szczesny’s return.
Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho, Abou Diaby and Tomas Rosicky all remain on the sidelines.
With seven points from three games, Huub Stevens’ Schalke side could all but secure their progress to the Champions League knockout stages with three points against the Gunners. Like Arsenal, Schalke also endured disappointing preparations for the clash as they fell to only their second defeat of the season with a 3-2 loss at struggling Hoffenheim.
Schalke may be missing Greek center-back Kyriakos Papadopoulos through a head injury, while fellow defender Christoph Metzelder is a confirmed absentee with a hamstring problem.
D: Howedes, Matip, Papadopoulos, Fuchs
M: Neustadter, Jones
Farfan, Holtby, Afellay
D: Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos
M: Wilshere, Arteta
Walcott, Cazorla, Podolski
Prediction: Wenger will be desperate to see a reaction from his players, but, with confidence surely low and with several players on the sidelines, Arsenal may well struggle once again against Schalke. Impressive at home this season, Schalke should keep that run going with a narrow win.
Schalke 1-0 Arsenal
Where to watch: The Champions League Group B contest kicks-off from the Stadion Gelsenkirchen at 2.45 p.m. Coverage will be provided by MSG Plus, with a live stream available on FoxSoccer2Go.