Arsenal 0 - 2 Schalke
Having just lost to Norwich away, Arsenal were looking to get back on track at home against a strong Schalke side. With Arsene Wenger serving the last of his three match touch-line ban, Steve Bould was in charge. And after tonight’s performance, he’ll be eager to return to his assistant manager role as soon as possible.
Arsenal began the night settling into their passing rhythm. Arteta, Cazorla & Coquelin were easily keeping possession for the side, spreading the play with ease. Schalke seemed happy to sit and wait for their opportunities, rather than aimlessly chase shadows.
Surprisingly, Gervinho was called upon to start the game upfront. Taking into account his recent performances, leaving Giroud on the bench for the Ivorian seemed to be a brave move. A move which, unfortunately, didn’t pay off. At all.
Gervinho’s lack of movement and commitment up front meant that our midfielders and wingers were fighting a lost cause. Crosses and through-balls were played in, yet Gervinho simply didn’t have the positioning acumen to take advantage. The Schalke defenders easily dispossessed him and marked him out of the game.[quote_right]”Our offensive menace hadn’t matured with age as per usual. We were looking tired, and Schalke weren’t. A huge contrast to what we’ve come to expect from Arsenal.”[/quote_right]
The second half brought nothing new, as our midfield continued to distribute the ball wide, avoiding the direct route to a hopeless Gervinho. Ramsey & Podolski were playing wide, and were struggling to make any impact at all. Our toothless attacks became more and more frustrating as time went on, and Steve Bould seemed determined to keep all of his substitutes in the dugout.
The game was gasping for a change, and n the 73rd minute, Gervinho was finally swapped for Giroud. The fans let out a sigh of relief, followed by sarcastic cheering for the Ivorian. Unfortunately, the despicable dive in the Schalke box was enough to lose any respect he once possessed from the fans.
To put it simply, it was too little, too late. Our offensive menace hadn’t matured with age as per usual. We were looking tired, and Schalke weren’t. A huge contrast to what we’ve come to expect from Arsenal. A bad defensive line led to the ball falling to the feet of Huntelaar in the box, and the Dutchman slammed it past Mannone.
Gnabry & Arshavin were thrown on for Podolski & Jenkinson, as a last attempt to salvage at least a point, however, much like Giroud’s introduction, the changes were late and felt forced. We were a sinking ship.
In the 85th minute, Schalke finished us off, as Farfan crossed to the far post, where an unmarked Ibrahim Afellay (who would have been marked by Jenkinson, had he not been taken off) slotted it home. Disaster.
The night ended with Serge Gnabry getting our only shot on target in 90 minutes. Followed by loud boos at the final whistle.
[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]
Couldn’t do much for either goal. Made a few good catches and one extremely good punch, which unfortunately missed Gervinho’s face.
Yet another solid performance from the Englishman. Kept Afellay quiet for the entire game. Shouldn’t have been subbed.
Needs to get out of his rut of average performances. Showed signs of his brilliant passion. We need him to step up.
The big German hasn’t had one bad game this season. May have been better positioned for the opener. Made some great blocks.
It hurts to say it, but Santos was run ragged by Farfan tonight. Looked dangerous going forward.
MOTM. Francis did excellently all game to cut out passes and made some fantastic challenges. Head & shoulders above Aaron Ramsey in the central midfield position.
Kept thing moving as usual. Calm and collected, but couldn;t do much to prevent a lacklustre team performance.
Our midfield maestro wasn;t able to inspire a win tonight, but did well individually. There’s no such thing as a tight space for the little Spaniard.
Barely in the game, but lively when he got it. Should have been played as a striker.
Another average performance from the Welshman. Won’t be putting up much of a fight against Jack Wilshere it seems.
Simply Abysmal. Every pass played to him amounted to nothing. The fact that we went 9 minutes without a shot on target has Gervinho’s name written all over it. Dived in the penalty area and was rightly booked. Terrible. Subbed.
As soon as he got the ball, he beat two Schalke defenders and whipped in an excellent ball. Got our only shot on target. Arsene, more of Gnabry, less of Gervinho.
Giroud [N/A], Arshavin [N/A].
[title]Shocker Against Schalke[/title]
There’s never a good time to lose 2-0 at home in the Champions League, but doing it after a defeat at Norwich just makes it worse. Arsenal are currently suffering from not penetrating defences. Our midfielders are clearly frustrated by the lack of attacking quality in the side.
The Ox, Walcott & Jack Wilshere are all due back this weekend, and will provide a much needed boost. However, the fundamental issue tonight was Gervinho starting ahead of Giroud. A poor decision followed by an even worse performance. QPR up next. Let’s set the record straight.
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