Does Wenger need to make wholesale changes ahead of Schalke game?

By Avenell Dave

I get it that people are despondent after the Norwich game.

We all are. Does it mean we have turned into a bad side over night? No.

Does it mean we should panic about the prospects for the rest of the season? Hell no.

Of course it's easy to write the team off after two defeats in eight games and we have to do something about the increasingly long injury list if we are to compete.

Arsene Wenger is correct when he says that giving teams a goal start always makes things difficult.

Of course, as M*nure showed last night, if you play well enough, even a two goal lead is surmountable, but when teams come have to push forward in search of equalisers, it makes it far easier than if you are defending a lead and able to take advantage of defensive gaps yourself.

Arsenal need to get back to defensive resilience. It is vital Vito Mannone gets as much protection as possible and that the entire team works hard whenever they don't have the ball. Barca may look pretty but they work hard to earn the right to pass the ball. It's something we, as all teams, need to aspire to.

I can't see Jack Wilshere being risked but getting him fit again is going to be such a fillip and should complete the midfield with the two Spaniards and really give the opposition something to think about. At the moment we have a tendency of being too predictable.

Olivier Giroud needs to start scoring regularly, we know that, but let's be honest, he didn't get a lot of service last weekend.

A lot of that is down to Lukas Podolski and Gervinho not being players or taking responsibility. We know both of them are capable of doing so but if anyone needs to find consistency, it is the wide players.

Apparently Podolski has a good record against Schalke - who will be no mugs as their win over Dortmund at the weekend suggests.

One of the great beneficiaries of Saturday was Theo Walcott. After his match-winning cameo against West Ham, he's shown how important he can be for the team and it's certainly strengthened his position.

He dazzles and frustrates in equal measure and while the amounts he is reportedly asking for do seem extreme, it is still less than the cost of replacing him unless we sign someone who can better his surprisingly decent goals and assists stats.

I can't see Arsene Wenger making huge changes - a win puts us within touching distance of qualification, allowing him to rotate once first place is secured.

Of course, his options are limited by the absence of so many players. I'd love to see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain given another go but I doubt he'll be risked after his injury on Saturday.

Looking at who we have injured, I can't see Wenger making a single change - and rushing players back is only going to be counter-productive in the long term.

Addict XI


Jenkinson Mertesacker Vermaelen Santos

Arteta Cazorla Ramsey

Gervinho Giroud Podolski