Arsenal 2 - Schalke 2

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Arsenal 2 - Schalke 2

Postby TheArsenalPost » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:46 pm

The article can be found here: http://thearsenalpost.co.uk/2012/11/08/ ... ch-report/

Arsenal surrendered a two goal lead to draw 2-2 on Tuesday night against German side Schalke 04. This result leaves the Gunners second in Group B with only two games to go and Champions League qualification in the balance. Added pressure comes from in the shape of an Olympiakos side in third, just one point behind the Gunners, after their victory over Montpellier. Arsenal, who have won just two of their last six games in all competitions, host Montpellier on 21 November before travelling to Olympiakos on 4 December.

Many would have taken a point from this match before kick-off with Arsenal travelling to Germany to play a Schalke side who totally out Klassed (sorry had to) them in the first game, destroying a proud record in the process. But, coming off the back of a loss to Manchester United and going two up away from home in the Champions League you could be forgiven for thinking a spirited performance and a win might be on the cards for this struggling Arsenal side.

Changes were made to the side that were beaten at Old Trafford at the weekend with Aaron Ramsey, who limped off with groin strain replaced by Theo Walcott on the right.
Finally the disappointing Andre Santos was dropped to the bench making way for Thomas Vermaelen to slot into the left-back role and Laurent Koscielny filling in at center-back.

With their 2-0 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates a fortnight ago and surely brimming with confidence it was no surprise that Schalke started brightly. Christian Fuchs set the pace for the home side when he had his shot blocked in the fourth minute, then after Podolski lost the ball in midfield, Fuchs played the ball wide to Ibrahim Afellay who drilled a low shot toward the near post.

By the 12th minute Schalke had another chance whene Benedikt Howedes headed narrowly over from Farfan’s corner.

The home side had created three good chances to score while Arsenal hadn’t really started to get into any kind of offensive position. This all changed on the 18 minute mark when Roman Neustadter’s miscued header let Giroud through on goal. In reality the Frenchman should have done better with the keeper at his mercy but after losing the ball Walcott nipped in to convert from close range.

It was Walcott’s 50th goal in his 233rd appearance for the Club.

Arsenal grabbed another just before the half-hour with Walcott involved once more. The Englishman started the move on the right with Giroud’s strength and tenacity keeping the move alive as he fed the ball to Podolski on the left.

The German slipped but beat his man to whip in an inviting ball toward the Frenchman who flung himself at the ball to crash home Arsenal’s second.

Schalke were rocked with Arsenal 2-0 up away from home within the first half hour but, to their credit, their heads didn’t drop and they continued to fashion chances. Farfan weaved through and blasted his shot wide when he ought really to have hit the target.

Arsenal could have grabbed a third too, Giroud met Santi Cazorla’s free-kick with a powerful flick but it was right at the keeper.

It seemed that Arsenal had done their job for the half. They had soaked up the pressure well and taken crucial chances, but, there was a sting in the Schalke tail.
During injury time at the end of the half, Arsenal lost possession in midfield and Lewis Holtby’s header gave Huntelaar half a chance. The Dutchman let the ball roll and shot a fantastic left-footed effort into the far corner to give his side hope.

He almost did more than that five minutes after the restart. With the Arsenal defence appealing for offside, he collected the ball and picked his spot. Mannone stood firm to make an excellent stop with his legs.

Schalke began to force Arsenal back and put relentless pressure on the visitors. They called for a penalty for a handball by Per Mertesacker with noting given, then Marco Hoger smashed an angled shot against the outside of the post and Holtby had an hot from distance.

Eventually, in the 68th minute, the equaliser arrived for the home side.

A long cross from Afellay was missed by Holtby but found Farfan by the far post. His low drive had Mannone beaten but was turned in by Vermaelen.

After the goal Schalke’s dominance subsided and Arsenal began to look for the winner. Walcott came close when, although flagged offside, he hit the far post. Arsenal continued to press in the dying moments when substitute Francis Coquelin sent Walcott through on goal.
He managed to pull the ball from under his feet but his under pressure shot bounced back off the keeper to keep the score at 2-2.


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David Rocastle
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