Arsenal face Schalke in their third match of the Champions League campaign on Wednesday.
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THE THIRD MIDFIELDER
Aaron Ramsey and Abou Diaby have both won plaudits for their performances this season, but with Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla mainstays in the Arsenal team the fight for the third midfield spot is fierce.
The return of Diaby after an injury-plagued last season has been a major boon for Arsène Wenger. His technique, height and physical qualities bring a welcome robustness to the Arsenal team, and he has won 47.4 per cent of his overall duels this term. The France international stands at 6ft 4in and has won an impressive 46.2 per cent of his aerial duels - a superior rate to Ramsey's 11.1 per cent.
But while the Welshman may be shorter in stature than his team-mate, his vision and passing range bring something different to the midfield. Ramsey has made 372 passes so far this term, of which 89.5 per cent have reached their target. Ramsey has also made and won more tackles than Diaby, and his success rate of 91.7 per cent attests to his quality in an aspect of his game that perhaps gets overlooked.
With Diaby injured at present, Ramsey is the man in pole position to nail down the third spot in Arsenal's midfield triumvirate. But with Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Emmanuel Frimpong all on their way back from injury, will the Wales international be able to keep his performances at the high level needed to keep his place? It promises to be an intriguing battle.
ARSENAL v GERMANY
Wednesday night's game is Arsenal's 25th against German opposition. This is their record so far:
History suggests that Arsenal have a good chance of making it three wins out of three in the Champions League tonight. Here's their record on corresponding nights in the competition:
ARSENAL V SCHALKE - FACTS
- Arsenal met Schalke in the 2001/02 group stage, winning 3-2 at home and losing 1-3 in Gelsenkirchen
- Schalke have won just one of their last eight European games against English teams (W1 D1 L6), but that was their 3-1 win over Arsenal at home in September 2001
- Schalke have failed to score in four of their last five European games against English opponents, including their last three home matches
- All three of Aaron Ramsey’s Champions League goals have been netted in the 90th minute or later
- Lukas Podolski has scored four goals in his last three Champions League matches
- Since losing to Inter in 2003, Arsenal have only lost two out of 43 Champions League home games and those were against other English teams
- Schalke have won 14 and lost just four of their last 25 European matches
- The German side have won nine and lost none of their last 13 Group matches in Europe (Champions League and Europa League)
- Arsenal have the best conversion rate in the Champions League so far, scoring with 36 per cent of their shots
- Schalke have faced only six shots on target, but have conceded from three of these
The Matchday Programme is now available on the iPad! Find out more here.Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 24 Oct 2012