Sunday, 4 November 2012

Szczesny & Gibbs back for Schalke

Following Saturday's depressing result in Manchester, there is finally some good news emanating from the club. The Mirror are reporting that Kieran Gibbs has been back in full training and is ready to return for Tuesday's encounter with German giants Schalke.

Gibbs has been missing for Arsenal since last months fixture at West Ham, a run that has coincided with a terrible run of form for us. Gibbs had struck up a very fluid relationship with Podolski in their short time together at the club, most brilliantly discovered in the victory at Anfield earlier this season, where Arsenal played some of their best football in the last year arguably.

His understudy, Andre Santos, has been struggling to fill in for the England international and has had  to bear the grunt of many unhappy supporters. In fact this evening his wife took to twitter in an attempt to defend her husband, and was abused by some Arsenal fans in the process, which is simply awful behavior, lacing any class that Arsenal Football Club is meant to represent.

Santos seem to be struggling for form and fitness, and was woeful against Schalke at the Emirates a fortnight ago. That night Jefferson Farfan ran riot against the Brazilian, orchestrating man threatening attacks that cut through the Arsenal backline with ease. With Arsene un-keen on a similar night in Germany, he is very keen on bringing in Gibbs to the starting eleven, despite the 23 year old not being fit enough to start the weekend game against United. Despite Santos' poor form, it would be silly to rush Gibbs back into the first team after the injury woe he has had during his short Arsenal career, which has limited him to only 41 league appearances for the club.

There is more good news for Arsenal with first choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny ready to resume his role as number 1, following almost 2 months out with an ankle problem picked up against Southampton.

Since that game, where we lost our clean sheet record, we have struggled to get anywhere near to keeping a clean sheet, with only 1 in 11 matches due to the lack of attacking intentions by QPR. Even last week Arsenal managed to concede 5 goals to Reading, with some woeful defending. Mannone - who did not feature in that Capital One Cup game - has had mixed performances in the Polish 'keepers absence, with some spectacular saves against United but simple mistakes against Norwich in particular have shown a shaky side to his game, that a top side like Arsenal shouldn't have to be content with.

Szczesny is a top class goalkeeper, despite his youth, and is a real leader of the defence. His immediate return will be much welcomed.

Arsenal sit second in their Group B Champions League group, behind the German side following their defeat last week. With our 3 games remaining, including 2 difficult away ties in Germany and Greece, it is vital we get something from Tuesday's match.

Arsenal were lackluster and simply did not turn up at Old Trafford at the weekend, and frankly need to win over some of the disgruntled fans with some top quality performances that have been all too rare recently.

Arsenal's opponents on Tuesday suffered a 3-2 defeat at Hoffenheim this weekend. The "Royal Blues" had been in great form and seemed to dominate the game, but their defensive mistakes were punished as Hoffenheim scored in second half stoppage time to win the game 3-2.

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