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Schalke were unlucky not be awarded a penalty with 14 minutes on the clock as Ibrahim Afellay went down under the challenge of Vito Mannone after a lack of communication in the Arsenal box. However, the striker was booked for diving by the referee.
The home crowd were on their feet midway through the half when Gervinho was put through on goal by Santi Cazorla, but there were soon groans of disappointment around the stadium as the forward's lack of pace saw him closed down by the visiting defence.
Meanwhile, the away side repeatedly threatened on the left as they looked to exploit Andres Santos.
Per Mertesacker came to Arsenal's rescue towards the end of the half when he threw himself in front of Afellay's goal-bound effort.