CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Arsenal 'low on confidence' after Schalke defeat

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 October, 2012, 12:16am
AFP

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Arsenal assistant manager Steve Bould admitted the Gunners are short of confidence and energy after Schalke inflicted their first home defeat in the Champions League group stages for nine years.

Arsene Wenger's side were out-fought and out-thought by Schalke as late goals from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Ibrahim Afellay secured a shock 2-0 victory that took the Germans top of group B.

It was Arsenal's first home loss at this stage of Europe's elite club competition since Inter Milan won at the Gunners' old Highbury stadium in 2003. The Emirates fans responded by booing the team off the pitch at full-time.

Coming just five days after Arsenal produced an equally tame display in a 1-0 loss at struggling Norwich in the Premier League, this lacklustre effort prompted Bould to concede his team were stuck in a rut.

"We haven't played anything like we can. That's the big disappointment," Bould said. "We looked jaded. I don't know why that is. We don't look confident on the ball at the moment.

"It's not what we are accustomed to. We normally create chances and we need to correct that. We lack a bit of confidence for whatever reason, but it's a tough competition. They are a good side." Bould believes Arsenal's already fragile confidence is taking a major dent whenever they concede the first goal at present and he hinted changes could be made for tomorrow's clash against QPR.

That would likely mean a first appearance for 18 months for England midfielder Jack Wilshere, who is returning from a series of injuries.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could also feature after a hip injury.

"In the West Ham game we looked really sharp but since returning from the internationals we've looked jaded. We need to pick it up again," Bould said.

"One or two might need freshening up on Saturday. Jack and Alex could be available."

 

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