Welcome to Talking Heads.

Before and after every first-team fixture, our MatchDay Show guest and an Arsenal blogger have their say on the game.

Arsenal took on Schalke in the Champions League on Wednesday and our Talking Heads for this game were former Gunner Martin Hayes and David Faber aka Goonerholic.

Read on for their verdict on the Schalke game.

Martin Hayes

It was a very disappointing evening in the Champions League. A 2-0 defeat and we probably got what we deserved because we were a bit flat, we struggled, we didn't really create anything or break them down. Schalke showed what a good side they are, they defended well and took their chances late in the second half. In the end it was a fair result and that makes it two concerning performances in a row for Arsenal - at Norwich and now in Europe.

There were some positives of course - Per Mertesacker looked very assured at the back and Francis Coquelin impressed me with his energy and drive in midfield. Serge Gnabry made another good impression after coming off the bench. But there are lots of things to sort out too and Arsenal need to rediscover their verve ahead of Saturday because that Queens Park Rangers game is massive now.

I think Schalke will be happy to come away from Emirates Stadium with a point. Everyone looks to win their home games and pick up points on their travels. They will have seen the Arsenal game on Saturday and observed how Norwich frustrated them. I would hope that after Saturday, the players will be fired up to prove a point. They’ve taken some criticism in the press and hopefully there will be a positive and quick reaction.

The Bundesliga is a strong league and Schalke have started well. They are third in the table and had a great win at the weekend. I think Schalke will come to Arsenal with high hopes of getting something out of the game. Teams often know they probably won’t outplay Arsenal, but they will come and make it difficult.

Saturday was Arsenal’s flattest performance of the season. Maybe it’s a timely reminder that you can’t take games for granted. Hopefully the team will respond in a positive way. It will be a great night on Wednesday. You can’t beat an evening cup tie. It’s the Champions League and we have to win our home games. It’s important to win the group because, on paper anyway, it gives you a slightly easier fixture in the knockout stages. Another home win and three points would almost cement qualification. From there it’s just a case of finishing first or second.

I think there will be a nice reaction from Saturday. I think Arsenal will win 2-0 and hopefully normal service will resume from there.


There is no getting away from the fact that we have experienced a disappointing few days. As on Saturday the side appeared to be flat, unable to lift the pace of the game when needed, and strangely unwilling to support each other as they usually do. While you could savour individual moments of class from Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla, there was a general lack of will to make things happen as a unit.

The usual suspects have been singled out for the errors that led to a very good Schalke side getting the points, but too little attention was paid to the lack of support for them on the night. There is some serious work to be done at the training ground before Saturday. The shortcomings have to be addressed and the players lifted again for Saturday. We have bounced back from consecutive defeats before, and will do again this time. Those returning to full fitness may just provide the boost we appear to need at this early stage.

Olympiacos at home three weeks ago. Partizan Belgrade away in September 2010. Standard Liege at home and away in 2009. FC Twente at home in August 2008. FC Porto at home in September 2008 and Dynamo Kiev at home, November 2008. I could go on, through Steaua Bucharest (2007), FC Thun and Sparta Prague (2006). All Champions League games we won after losing the preceding Premier League fixture. It has to happen more than we would like, but invariably we do the business. We are good at recovering.

Now it has to happen again, against a Schalke side bang in form, unbeaten away from home this season, and who have just this weekend won at the German champions, Borussia Dortmund. You will recognise the names of the star players, Farfan, Afellay, and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Seasoned transfer window watchers will also know the back-up goalkeeper, Timo Hildebrand, who was regularly linked with us in the early days of the Arsène Wenger era, but who has seen little action since leaving Hoffenheim in 2010.

With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joining the walking wounded the 11 that started at Norwich could well be given the opportunity to show that was a blip. If Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla can get us off to a solid and creative start in the middle then we should once again demonstrate that ability to bounce straight back. A supportive home crowd will expect nothing less.

* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd

Copyright 2017 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