Arsenal Take A Point But Did They Make It?

 

Schalke 04 2 – 2 Arsenal

0 – 1 Walcott (18)
0 – 2 Giroud (26)
1 – 2 Huntelaar (45)
2 – 2 Farfan (67)

It could have better, it might have been worse but in the end, Arsenal will be content with a point in what was viewed as the toughest fixture of this Champions League group. If you had asked beforehand, I am fairly sure that most would have been happy with a draw but the circumstances of dropping a two-goal lead always leaves a tinge of disappointment.

Schalke started brightly, Mannone made a couple of routine saves before the Germans conceded the opener. Giroud pounced on poor defensive work and bore down on goal, a recovering challenge halting his progress but Theo Walcott scavenged and scored from close range.

Eight minutes later, the start Arsenal wanted got better. Giroud’s value to the team was shown as he battled for the ball on the left, fed Podolski and met the German’s cross with a powerful head for a two-goal advantage. The defence seemed tighter with Vermaelen moved to the full back position, improving that side of the pitch as much as moving his own indecision from the centre. Sadly that improvement could not last the match.

Either side might have scored in the time to the interval; Farfan blasted high and wide, Giroud found the goalkeeper with a decent header from Cazorla’s free kick. Just as it seemed Arsenal had reached half-time with the advantage firmly entrenched, they conceded. Holtby has been impressive in the two matches and robbed possession, fed Huntelaar. The Dutchman had the time and space to shoot across Mannone into the far corner.

The Italian made a good save from Huntelaar early in the second half as the hosts sought to equalise. Arsenal were enjoying spells of possession and making it difficult for clear chances to appear. When they did, Mannone was performing well, protecting the lead. Until midway through the half, Farfan’s shot found its way home despite a valiant, if doomed, effort from Vermaelen to stop the ball crossing the line; the power of the shot meant it was always going in.

If the worst was feared, it never materialised. Schalke seemed content with retrieving the deficit and as the match drew to its conclusion, the clearest chances were Arsenal’s. Theo Walcott struck the inside of the post before he should have stolen the points at the death, we’ll be generous and offer it as a good save from Unnerstall; a centre forward must score those opportunities but even the best can be culpable in the circumstances.

The performance was a vast improvement on Old Trafford yet there is still further to go. The manager observed that if the team continue to work hard, in a month they will be back firing on all cylinders. To me, that is stark honesty but it is foolish to take it at face value, too many will though. Talking of performance levels is too obsessive amongst Arsenal supporters, the manager fed that to some extent before this match. But the results will drive those performances; good points in tough away matches and wins elsewhere bring the confidence that is missing from the players. The manager and coaching staff have to reinforce the outcomes, driving the players forward. Arsenal traditionally stutter at this time of the year and whilst he has a month to wait for performances, Arsène knows that the Premier and Champions League’s will not offer him that time in terms of results.

Re-introducing Theo Walcott to the line-up had a positive impact, offering another outlet for the defence, pace and provision for the rest of the attack. That is not to say he was the sole reason for the better performance, he wasn’t. However, he did enough to justify his inclusion last night and warrant a sustained run in the side. With Giroud and Podolski working well together, I would suggest that the manager would have options, fitness permitting, to vary the forward line when fitness allows.

Looking forward, Arsenal retained control of the situation. To finish top, they have to win both games and hope that others drop points. On current form, they will not want to be going to Greece needing to avoid defeat to qualify. The result does not alter the problems which beset the squad at the moment nor is it an indicator of matters improving beyond this single game. But it was a good point and an improvement. Small steps, walking before they run. It is a long road to recovery and Arsenal need the results first, performances second.

’til Tomorrow.

 

322 thoughts on “Arsenal Take A Point But Did They Make It?

  1. JJ, I am not worried about RVP or United. I believe our team is much better than given credit for and we will all see it. As is said “watch this space”.

  2. Oh, so its not the board? crap, I am confused.

    So being middle ground is to jump all over the manager? seet deh.

  3. I heard in clinton cards the other day that rvp was told he should sign for utd by ivan as they offered £5m more then juve!!

  4. its much better than its showing yes

    but we were finishing 20 points behind them when we had a world class striker..

    now theyve got him…so im not expecting miracles but i’ll keep watching the space..

  5. i heard that ivan told rvp two more years and rvp told him to do one so wenger sold him to utd for 24mil footballing reasons.. 🙂

  6. who is slagging off the manager.. we are just saying what sort of job is being done at the club. i want wenger to stay by the way paul. although i might get in bobs trench soon. i m waiving but i have been waiving for a couple of years now.

  7. JJ, I am not expecting any miracles either but the team to perform to what they are able to.

    Our team did finish 20 points off but were better than that. I was on here saying that our team was excellent last season and many did not really believe until we totally dominated City.

  8. Here is a question for you paul, a serious one now….we all bang on(me included) about how good our squad is and that utds is not better then ours right?? so why do we do so much worse then them??? wenger must be under acheiving if our squad is just as good as theres??

  9. our team was excellent paul..
    it took a while to get going becuase we sausaged up the summer and the winter windows but we had a good squad..
    a great squad that looked like it was closing the gap..

    then we sold em..

  10. Duke, I think our injuries are our biggest hinderance. I am sure why we get so many. Maybe we should sell some of the injured players but seing that so many did not want us to sell RVP, I don’t see many who can cry about that.

    I also think that United get the rub of the green more often than not. I am not going to go into that but that is who I see it. Ironically, my uncle who is in his 70’s, and is a United supporter say’s the same thing. He thinks something is funky.

    One thing I do give United credit for and I think it has helped them is keeping some of the older players around. I believe that a few of the Invincibles would have been good for the youngsters to learn from, the winning mentality and all that.

  11. fair points paul, we have had a nighmare with injuries but then so have utd, look now they have no defenders and are still top.

    the refs yep they get the rub of the green for sure but these conditions alone arent enough.for me i feel utd are more determined to win then us and that comes from the manager, wenger has been more concerr=ned about doing things the right way( from the horses mouth)then winning at all cost, fergie will win at all costs, i think this is the difference.. when you read wenger come out with statement like winning isnt everything people should be happy win lose or draw, people should not be so down after a defeat and so high after a win it does make you wonder whether he has that wining ability in him still?? after all this is a sport its not politics.

  12. Should we really worry too much about the champions league ? I mean sure we dont want an embarrassing exit at group stage (though it could do us good in the league) but seeing we can hope for a quarter finals exit at best , we are kind of playing for respect rather than glory anyhow . Then again we are no longer title contenders in our league too and we`re hoping to qualify for the champions league . I think we should play our strongest side in the league cup . Wait a minute – which is our strongest side ?

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