Match Analysis: Arsenal 0-2 Schalke

Match Analysis: Arsenal 0-2 Schalke
© PA Photos
Sports Mole takes a closer look at how Schalke 04 managed to end Arsenal's unbeaten Champions League record at the Emirates Stadium.

Schalke 04 went top of their Champions League group tonight courtesy of a 2-0 win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

Second-half goals from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Ibrahim Afellay ended the Gunners' unbeaten European home record; a run stretching back to 2003.

Here, Sports Mole takes a closer look to see if the result was fair.

Match statistics

Shots: 5
On Target: 1
Possession: 58%
Corners: 2
Fouls: 13

Shots: 7
On Target: 2
Possession: 42%
Corners: 3
Fouls: 14

Was the result fair?

Absolutely. Arsenal started better, but Schalke soon got a foothold in the game and got better as the first half gradually wore on. They should have gone ahead before half-time when Klaas-Jan Huntelaar fired wide, while Benedikt Howedes also spurned a chance 10 minutes into the second half. Ibrahim Afellay also had a good penalty shout waved away. However, Schalke got their just deserts when Huntelaar put them in front with 15 minutes to go, before Afellay wrapped up victory in the 85h minute.

Arsenal's performance

It was a poor second-half performance that cost the Gunners dearly. They just didn't come out after half-time. They made a decent start to the game and had an early chance when Lukas Podolski played in Gervinho, but the Ivorian could not direct his effort on target. Andre Santos had a shocker and was caught out on a number of occasions. He got a bit of a chasing and was guilty of letting Atsuto Uchida roam unchallenged down the left. Santi Cazorla looked sharp in the early throes of the game, but soon faded. Mikel Arteta carried a lot of water but had no cutting edge. No-one really stood up for Arsenal tonight and in the end it was all a bit flat, much like their performance at the weekend against Norwich City.

Schalke's performance

It was a perfect away performance in the Champions League, despite their rather sluggish start. Schalke are well drilled defensively and can break with speed. When they began to string their passes together midway through the first half, they caused some havoc among the Arsenal backline. Jefferson Farfan, Lewis Holtby and Ibrahim Afellay posed a constant threat in the second half and Arsenal struggled to contain them. The first 15 minutes aside, they never really looked like conceding and ran out worthy winners.

Referee's performance

Jonas Eriksson had two major decisions to make tonight; the first one he got wrong, the second he got right. Firstly, Afellay appeared to be tripped by Vito Mannone inside the area in the first half, but instead the Swede brandished a yellow card to the Dutchman, whose over-elaboration probably proved his undoing. Secondly, Gervinho went to ground following a challenge by Jermaine Jones in the second half and he also received a booking. At first, it looked a legitimate shout but a closer look revealed that Eriksson had made the right decision.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Ibrahim Afellay: This accolade goes to the explosive winger, who not only worked hard for the team but had some end product as well. His vision to create the goal for Huntelaar, as well as his technique, was brilliant. He then capped a great performance by getting himself on the scoresheet.

Biggest gaffe

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, no doubt already devastated by my decision to name Afellay the 'Man of the Match', will be even more glum-faced to hear that he was guilty of the biggest gaffe. Although he probably already knows it. He will be more unhappy with his missed effort from yards out in the first half.

What's next?

Arsenal: The Gunners make the trip to Germany for the return fixture in two weeks, but welcome Queens Park Rangers to the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday.

Schalke: Die Knappen host Nuremberg on Saturday looking to keep pace with the Bundesliga leaders.

Jurgen Klopp
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