Schalke 2 - 2 Arsenal: Decent point in the grand scheme of things

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Post by Jay29 Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:39 pm

For the first time in a while, I can talk about the tactics and incidents within the match instead of having a moan about how we rubbish we are. It should be a nice change of pace.

Lineups

The biggest question for Arsenal before kick-off was who would play left back with Santos being in such poor form. Although the more cynical of us thought he wouldn't change things, Wenger did shift Vermaelen over to left back and restored Koscielny to the team.

Elsewhere, injury to Aaron Ramsey meant that Theo Walcott would actually start a game. Wilshere retained his place in midfield, being suspended for Saturday.

Schalke went with their familiar 4-2-3-1.

First half

Schalke had the majority of the ball and probably the better chances in the first half. Given our recent slow starts and poor performances, and that we are playing away to a very good team, it's not too surprising that we couldn't control the match.

The difference for this game though was that we were a bit more cautious when going forward and kept a better shape when defending. Uchida did get the better of our left flank again, though, as Podolski didn't track him well so it was a nice slice of luck that he went on injured and Hoelger, not as gung ho as the Japanese full back, came on.

Arsenal also got a nice bit of luck for the first goal. Giroud is actually offside as Mertesacker plays it long, but nonetheless is put through one-on-one with Unnerstall when the Schalke defender fails to clear the ball. Giroud, bless him, ends up kicking the ground and screwing up the chance, but fortunately Walcott was following up behind and he cooly cleaned up after the Frenchman.

I think that goal settled us down as we saw more of the ball afterwards. We didn't look like a threat, but somehow managed to grab a second goal. Wilshere made a good run forward and received the ball on the edge of the area. He laid it off and the ball made its way to Podolski to the left. Podolski fended off Hoelger well and swung in a cross for Giroud, who had taken advantage of a Schalke defence that had fallen asleep, to nod in.

Honestly, if we went in at halftime with a 2-0 lead I think we would have won the game. But we committed one of the worst sins a team can do and that's concede a goal on the stroke of halftime.

Cazorla loses the ball deep in our half and that sets Schalke away. It's not too bad since Arsenal had men back, but there are two key errors to note here: Sagna has pushed up, meaning he can't come round on the cover, and Mertesacker is duped by the simplest of movements from Huntelaar; as soon as he steps up to mark him, Huntelaar just moves in behind him. Holtby picks him out superbly and Huntelaar finishes like a pro to set-up a difficult second half.

Second half

This half was, predictably, all Schalke. Gee'd up by that goal, they dominated the play and should have levelled the game sooner than they did when Huntelaar failed to convert a one-on-one chance. Mertesacker, again, pushed up, this time in an attempt to play offside, and it almost cost us again.

Defensive positioning seemed to be an issue all game, despite our more cautious approach. The equaliser came about after a positioning mistake from a centre back playing left back.

Schalke were, at this point, pretty much playing with four attackers. One would cross while three would attack the ball. Afellay swings the ball in this time for two targets - Huntelaar in the box, Farfan on the right hand side. Mertesacker and Koscielny are fine in their positioning, but Vermaelen makes the mistake of getting sucked in. He marked the same post as Koscielny, and then tried to challenge for the same ball. When the ball finds its way out to Farfan, he has acres of room and when you have defenders going back in a desperate attempt to make a block, there's a high chance of an own goal. Lo and behold, Vermaelen concedes an own goal.

One of the reasons we were disappointing in the second half was because of our midfield being beaten. Cazorla, unaccustomed to this sort of level and having played nearly every game so far, didn't do a very good job dropping back and helping his midfield. With Wilshere also looking weary, we lacked cover from our midfield and the likes Lewis Holtby and Jermaine Jones were finding a lot of room. This also had the knock on effect of our transitions being poor and we were forced to lump it long to Giroud in hopes that he could hold it up.

Amazingly enough, we could have nicked it right at the end as Walcott seized upon an error from the Schalke defender. Unfortunately, he couldn't finish and the game ended 2-2. Probably should have passed it to Giroud.

Conclusion

Overall, the performance could be best described as mixed, but bordering on below average. We took our chances when they came, but didn't exercise enough control over the game and made one too many defensive errors which cost us a very good result.

The result itself is pretty good. Had we beaten Schalke at home, it would've been a very good point. As it is, it means we're unlikely to win the group now and have to be very careful of Olympiakos.

As far as our overall form goes, the defensive mistakes isn't going to help any but the result and performance were better than the United game, so it's a positive step in that sense. This is a hard game to draw conclusions from, though.

Player Ratings

Vito Mannone - 8. Made several good saves to keep us in the game. Becoming a reliable keeper and may be unlucky to be dropped when Szczesny returns to fitness.

Per Mertesacker - 6. Made plenty of interceptions and tackles, but also a couple of bad mistakes, one of which cost us a goal. Disappointing given he's been excellent this season so far.

Laurent Koscielny - 6. Decent performance. Didn't make any high profile errors, which will help his confidence.

Bacary Sagna - 6. Looked a little off the pace; wasn't as dynamic as usual. Could be down to a lack of games.

Thomas Vermaelen - 5. The last thing he needed after the weekend was to make more errors, but unfortunately that's what he did. Maybe I'll give him the benefit of the doubt since he was playing left back, but it is worrying.

Mikel Arteta - 6. Did okay. Had to do a lot of defensive work and got little assistance from his fellow midfielders.

Jack Wilshere - 6. Also did alright. Evidently still finding form and fitness, but he came through the whole game unscathed which is positive.

Santi Cazorla - 6. Honestly being a bit generous giving him a 6. Struggled tonight and hasn't been at his best for a while. Needs someone to take some of the workload off him.

Theo Walcott - 7. Grabbed another goal, did okay helping out Sagna. Definitely needs to start games now. We cannot leave our top goalscorer on the bench.

Lukas Podolski - 7. A much better performance from him. Got an assist and worked hard on the flank.

Olivier Giroud - 7. Isolated all game, but grabbed a goal.


Last edited by GoonerJay29 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:42 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by SamuelJayC Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:39 pm

Arsenal v Montpellier, Schalke v Olympiacos. We SHOULD be through on Matchday 5 :coffee:
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Post by Rev Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:41 pm

Before the match, I would have been satisfied with a point, but losing a 2 goal margin is disappointing.

Our offense looked way better this time around, need Gibbs to come back and everything will be fine. Thumbs up
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Post by urbaNRoots Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:47 pm

Need Diaby to comeback and push Wilshere out of the first team for a while, Gibbs too.

Very disappointing and poor match. Mertesacker was cack and so was Vermaelen.

One of Podolski, Sagna or Mannone were man of the match for me.
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Post by Jay29 Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:49 pm

What was wrong with Wilshere tonight?

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Post by RealGunner Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:50 pm

Our defenders are not as good as they should be... It's worrying.

We were very good going forward, much better than we have been in recent weeks. Thought Wilshere was very good but obviously he isn't fit enough. No idea why he played 90 minutes. He was on top of Holtby untill he got tired around 60 mins, that's when Holtby showed up.

point is good. I don't see much difference in finishing 1st or 2nd because we can potentially get Madrid by finishing 1st or get Barcelona by finishing 2nd.

We need Gibbs back asap and Diaby.

Was still a good performance today though attacking wise.

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Post by urbaNRoots Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:55 pm

Defensively inept, got beaten too easily, looked afraid to pass forward, slowing down our attack etc.

Diaby is better in current form, Wilshere needs some more U21 games to get ready completely.

Cazorla was poor aswell.
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Post by 6unner Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:56 pm

GoonerJay29 wrote:What was wrong with Wilshere tonight?

Bigger question for me is why are wee relying on a kid coming off a long term injury to save our season.

Don't say Diaby.

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Post by DuringTheWar Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:59 pm

RealGunner wrote:Our defenders are not as good as they should be... It's worrying.

We were very good going forward, much better than we have been in recent weeks. Thought Wilshere was very good but obviously he isn't fit enough. No idea why he played 90 minutes. He was on top of Holtby untill he got tired around 60 mins, that's when Holtby showed up.

point is good. I don't see much difference in finishing 1st or 2nd because we can potentially get Madrid by finishing 1st or get Barcelona by finishing 2nd.

We need Gibbs back asap and Diaby.

Was still a good performance today though attacking wise.


He played 90 minutes because we want him back at his best ASAP. Playing 90 is a significant landmark, nice to get it out the way early

Agree with your assesment on his performance, i had to stop watching at about 55 minutes, up till then he was very good. Retained the ball really well
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Post by DuringTheWar Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:00 pm

And i dont even get how wilshere gets critisised when cazorla has been worse
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Post by Eman Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:00 pm

We couldn't get out of our end for almost the whole second half. It felt at times as though we were just hoofing the ball forward and hoping for the best, although we did look good on the counterattack. Our midfield was pretty poor I thought, and to be honest, every goal tonight could be blamed on poor defending from both sides. Oh well, I'll take the point.

And Wilshere is suspended in the EPL remember so he will be getting a breather after tonight.
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Post by EL Patron Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:02 pm

We have been poor at the back in recent weeks, just not defending with any confidence. We are making way too much mistakes at the moment, we could have won this game if we'd defended better. The positives we can take from this is Jack looked good, Giroud and Theo scored and Overall we looked much threatening going forward. A win was there for the taking but we defended poorly all game as a result we don't get to take the 3 points tonight. The Fulham game is a must win because we are playing with zero confidence at the moment, even when we were winning we look scared and never imposed ourselves in the game.


Last edited by gunnerlistick on Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by RealGunner Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:04 pm

Cazorla has been poor for quite few games now.
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Post by RealGunner Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:05 pm

Diego Armando Maradona wrote:

He played 90 minutes because we want him back at his best ASAP. Playing 90 is a significant landmark, nice to get it out the way early

Agree with your assesment on his performance, i had to stop watching at about 55 minutes, up till then he was very good. Retained the ball really well

I guess it makes sense. He is gaining 5% with each game. Atm IMO he is on 80-85% back
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Post by El Gunner Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:05 pm

A draw... Well it's okay. But still disappointing to be honest.
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Post by EL Patron Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:06 pm

RealGunner wrote:Cazorla has been poor for quite few games now.

I am worried he will do a Silva and we will be fcked No
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Post by waitressinthesky Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:07 pm

MOTM easily Mannone. Actually might be in the running for man of the season, thus far -- third-choice goalkeeper playing like a first-choice goalkeeper. No coincidence we haven't let many goals in so far, despite massive errors by our defenders.

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Post by waitressinthesky Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:08 pm

After the match, they asked Arteta if he was happy with the point. He said that before the game, he would have been happy with the point, but that he was very disappointed with the result, since we lost after being up 2-0. That is the correct way of thinking, better than Wenger saying a point is fine, since we've been on a losing streak.

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Post by El Gunner Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:11 pm

It's almost criminal that we have to rely so much on Santi Cazorla at the moment. Because he's juz moved to English football this season. And yes, he started great, but we're relying to much on him. And it shouldn't be like that.

And it has been evident in the last few games that he isn't 100%. A move from La Liga to the fast paced Premier League surely is getting to him. I mean, it'd be inhuman if it didn't.

He is fatigued. But of course I understand why he is starting almost every game, it's because there's simply no one with near his quality on the bench at the moment. That's why we need Rozza to come back as soon as possible.

And also Diaby for Arteta!
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Post by MJ Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:15 pm

Cazorla looks awfully tired. Podolski did well.

Our defense :facepalm:

Seeing the light for our attack Thumbs up
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Post by EL Patron Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:21 pm

Could start Arshavin there but he is unfit,lazy and sloppy.
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Post by Sina Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:31 pm

very happy for Giroud scoring
but he was spectator for much of second half

we could have introduced Coquelin in midway through 2nd half and deny Holtby space and freedom

but overall attacking wise it was a lot better
i was happy with jack he looked sharper but i realise why urban is not happy with him defensively he should have done better
pitch didnt help us at all

should have done better in counter situation 2nd half we couldnt get out of pressure for sustained period
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Post by REWB Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:36 pm

wish we had kept rvp on for one more season. he is way better than giroud at holding the ball up and maintaining possession.
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Post by Sina Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:39 pm

most distance covered in our team
Jack:12223 meters :bow:

one of the rare times probably that Arteta pass success rate was below 90(88%)

we completed zero dribbles Schalke 2 - 2 Arsenal: Decent point in the grand scheme of things 37329810
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Post by Jay29 Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:43 pm

Completed the write-up. No moaning for once. cheers

wish we had kept rvp on for one more season. he is way better than giroud at holding the ball up and maintaining possession.

Would've made no difference tonight.

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