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Wenger calls on Arsenal to express themselves

Published: Tuesday 23 October 2012, 20.10CET
Arsène Wenger is unshakable in his Arsenal FC vision, insisting "there's a lot to come" from his side ahead of the visit of FC Schalke 04, whose coach Huub Stevens expects a tough test.
by Jamie Reid
from London
Wenger calls on Arsenal to express themselves
Arsenal in training on Tuesday ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics


Goals scored13
on target43
off target21
Fouls committed123
Yellow cards26
Red Cards0
Published: Tuesday 23 October 2012, 20.10CET

Wenger calls on Arsenal to express themselves

Arsène Wenger is unshakable in his Arsenal FC vision, insisting "there's a lot to come" from his side ahead of the visit of FC Schalke 04, whose coach Huub Stevens expects a tough test.

Arsène Wenger wants Arsenal FC to "keep faith and justify our ambition" as they seek to extend their dominance in Group B when second-placed FC Schalke 04 visit north London. Wenger's charges are top of the section with two wins from two but must bounce back from a weekend setback if they are to prolong that run. Huub Stevens, meanwhile, knows his side are likely to have to survive plenty of pressure if they are to succeed.

Manager Arsène Wenger

We got over [Saturday's defeat at Norwich City FC]. I expect us to respond in a strong way, because this team is very ambitious and wants to do well. The players were very disappointed but the only way to deal with it is to put it behind us and focus on Schalke. We have a good opportunity; since we won in Montpellier, our qualifying will depend on how well we do at home.

Schalke try to play good football and build from the back, like all German teams. They've just got a very good result in Dortmund; they're a solid side with good organisation and up front they have [Klaas-Jan] Huntelaar and [Jefferson] Farfán, plus [Ibrahim] Afellay or [Julian] Draxler. They are dangerous on the counterattack.

The Champions League is always a bit cagey. You play against teams that are always well organised, can play good counterattacking football and are used to dominating games in their own championship. Teams do not only come to defend, they come to play their game; possession is much more even, which gives us more chances to score.

What is important is that we want the ball, we concentrate on the quality of our game, express our talent and enjoy playing. We must keep faith in our game. This team has a very strong ambition, and on the pitch we have the quality to justify that ambition. There's still a lot more to come from this team.

Weekend result
Saturday: Norwich City FC 1-0 Arsenal (Holt 19)

Mannone; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos; Ramsey (Gnabry 82), Arteta; Gervinho, Cazorla, Podolski (Oxlade-Chamberlain 65, Arshavin 74); Giroud.

• Serge Gnabry, a 17-year-old midfielder, made his senior debut as the Gunners lost for the second time in three Premier League games.

Team news
Wojciech Szczęsny (ankle), Łukasz Fabiański (back), Theo Walcott (lung), Kieran Gibbs (thigh), Abou Diaby (thigh) and Tomáš Rosický (tendon) are all out. Jack Wilshere "will have no involvement" as he continues his recovery from a long-term ankle injury and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joins the casualty list having damaged a hip at Norwich. Laurent Koscielny, however, might be involved after a back problem. Wenger completes a three-match touchline ban against Schalke.

Coach Huub Stevens
The way they have played their home games, they have put lots of pressure on their opponents, and that's what they will try again tomorrow. But we must focus on our own game and make sure we are prepared.

[Santi Cazorla] is a very good technical player. He has an excellent range of passes and he can control the game. He is very important for Arsenal. But it's not only Cazorla, they have many good players – you cannot focus on only one.

If we can play against 80,000 in Dortmund then I think we can play here as well. There will be a lot of people in the stadium, but my players are professional and they have to be able to cope with that. This is the type of pressure that comes at the top and we must be prepared. We have 21 players in the squad here. I want to have a fresh team tomorrow. The players make it very difficult for me to choose, but that's the situation and it's not a problem.

I haven't been here [at Arsenal] for a while. I was here ten years ago, when Wenger was already around. It's amazing that a manager is at a club for such a long time, and he's done an amazing job. I'm happy he's still here and I'm looking forward to seeing him.

Weekend result
Saturday: Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Schalke (Lewandowski 55; Afellay 14, Höger 48)

Unnerstall; Uchida, Höwedes, Matip, Fuchs; Höger (Jones 79), Neustädter; Farfán (Barnetta 70), Holtby (Moritz 86), Afellay; Huntelaar.

• Schalke consolidated third place in the Bundesliga by winning the 141st Ruhr Valley derby.

Team news
Julian Draxler is available for the first time since breaking his left arm on matchday two, but Kyriakos Papadopoulos has not travelled because of flu.

Match fact
The teams met in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League group stage, when the coaches were as they are today – Wenger and Stevens. Arsenal prevailed 3-2 at home but lost 3-1 in Gelsenkirchen. Schalke have never won in five competitive contests in England.

Last updated: 26/09/14 12.39CET