By Avenell Dave
When the most recent international break came to an end, I must admit I hoped one of the title challengers would skip up, their rythmn hampered by the disruption.
I feared it could be us and so it has been, with dummies thrown out of the pram, critics circling and the club yet again seen to be in crisis.
We've always been a punchbag for critics who called us defensive even when we scored more than 100 goals in a season, back in the day and because, historically, we're the most successful team in the south.
Things aren't right at the moment. We lack heart. We lack winners. We lack confidence. We lack a coherent vision that sees us competing at the top table.
It could be worse. We could have Stewart Houston, Don Howe or even Bruce Rioch in charge again, and I suspect many of you don't even remember those dark days.
A win two weeks ago against Schalke would have put us on the verge of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League but we now have a fight on our hands to finish in the top two.
Few would bet against Schalke givings us another footballing lesson this evening and we have to seriously up our game if we're to put ourselves back in the driving seat.
Defeat would mean having to go to Olimpiacos and winning, a place few English teams have done well at and certainly a ground where we have struggled in the past.
So how does Arsene Wenger turn it around?
For me, it's simple. He brings in Theo Walcott to play alongside Olivier Giroud and brings in Andrey Arshavin in a midfield four.
I know it's en vogue to play 4-3-3 but we don't have the players to make it work and the fact that we're the second-lowest on-target shooters in the CL says it all. We're shot shy.
Theo wants to play as a striker and to be honest, he's got more chance of causing trouble there than he has out wide, where he is often ineffectual unless he comes off the bench.
Giroud, as @legrove said recently, needs to be playing with a partner and the current formation just doesn't suit him.
Wenger isn't one to drop players easily (though some could argue he did exactly that with Jens Lehmann after a couple of errors) but maybe now is a time to rest Santos, despite the storm in a teacup over his shirt swapping giving media and the high and mighty far more to moan about than the act itself warranted.
Some have suggested moving Thomas Vermaelen over to left back but having seen the Belgian struggle there in the past, it isn't going to do him or the rest of the team any good.
Captain or not, he is in woeful form and must be dropped and Sagna would do a far better job on the left with Jenkinson coming in on the right.
We can win tonight. We have to be disciplined and we have to use Theo's pace as they push for goals.
Keep believing, Addicts. Football can be a lot lot worse than under Wenger ove rthe past five years.
Many of you, fortunately, are far too young to remember it.
Jenkinson Mertesacker Koscielny Sagna
Cazorla Wilshere Arteta Arshavin