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A few thoughts on the Schalke 2-2 Arsenal Champions League match

November 8, 2012

Tuesday Champions League day. Unlike Spudsday, which is today with Spuds taking on Haribo. Theo should play for them.

After a cold, busy Tuesday working day in the City of London. it was nice to get home, stick away some nosebag then sit and watch Arsenal take on Schalke 04.

There are some supporters of AFC who would prefer winning the League Cup and playing on Spudsday next season. Me I would prefer the Champions League, but would prefer it going back to how it all was, so if we had to play on Spudsday, it would be in a bigger, better competition, like the old UEFA CUP or Cup Winners Cup.

Sky Sports 2HD switched on  – mine host for the evening the one, the only and thank God he is Geoff Stelling sitting along side him my other guests Souey, Twaddle and Uncle Festa (wish someone would stick a lighbulb in his mouth). There is also this sort in a white dress giving out information about all the fixtures this evening.

Sky go to a Montage all about Arsenal tasting home defeat against Schalke, their first defeat to foreign opposition in the CL since taking up residence at the Emirates. Also tonight Arsene Wenger is back on the touch-line after serving his three match ban..  So his puffer jacket fan club should be happy. Not such ban for Mancini who has a pitch rant with the referee.

Early team news :  Mannone, Sagna, Mertersaker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla, Walcott, Podolski, Giroud.  So Theo is in and Santos is out.. Santos – left back (in the dressing room). Ref: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy) Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)

Twadlle, Festa and Souey, doing their best stick it to Arsenal – expert analysis, my ARSEnal. These guys get paid to do this?  Arsene is interviewed and said he understands the fans frustrations. I’m sure many are happy to hear that AW.

There can be no doubt that the support Arsene has had is diminishing as each poor result comes along. However, I do feel a lot of it is unjustified and supporters using some comments just as a stick to beat the club with. Therefore Arsenal really have to get something from the match and hope that the result in the  Montpellier against Olympiacos works for us.

Arsenal get the game underway, Schalke take control. Howdy Doodey went past Lu Lu down the left as if he were not there and got an early cross in that was cleared. Where’s Santos when you need him? 🙂 Arsenal were being pinned in their half like prisoners of war in the Schloss Adler… Broadsword calling Danny boy!!! Broadsword calling Danny Boy!!! Come in Danny Boy!!!

Arsenal calmed proceedings down a bit after five minutes, passing the ball around taking the sting out of the game. The ball was played to Theo who attacked the Ethel’s defence and there was the candy man to take the ball off Theo with a bag of sweets. Fuchs bombs forward like a Messerschmitt on the counter and Arsenal defend at the cost of a corner, which comes to nothing. Arsenal must have taken it for them.

The pitch was slippery and Arsenal did not look comfortable – Podolski slipped and lost the ball and the Messerschmitt’s flew forward towards the Arsenal area again – Afellay shot low and hard and Mannone saved well in slippery the conditions. Another Schalke corner saw Howdy Doody head over and the ball drop on to the top of the net. Another poor start to a match from Arsenal, confidence does seem to be a huge problem.

At last!!!  Cazorla caused some trouble for Schalke as he plays the ball to Jack, but the Ethal’s defend well and block Jack out.

Goooooooooooooooal!!! Right out of Nothing the BFG playing double agent on the night sends the ball on its long journey up-field ala Stoke and Oberstleutnant Neustadter could only flick the ball into the path of Giroud, who let’s be frank, messed it up and he can be thankful that Theo with the Candy Man nowhere to be seen this time picked the ball up, flicked it over the keeper and ran the ball into the empty net… Well done Theo!!!

Theo makes it 1-0

1-0 to the Arsenal… 1-0 to the Arsenal…

Oooooooooooo!!! Cazorla’s crossed to Theo who got it all wrong and the ball was cleared. Cazorla was booked for diving to stop the ball with his hands. I know Arsenal are short of goalies but this is getting crazy.

Gooooooooooooooal!!! Ladies and gentlemen I give you…..  Mr. Giroud… Somehow the ball finds it’s way to Podolski on the left, he goes one way – falls over – picks himself up goes the other way and crossed superbly for Giroud to send a flying header into the net for 2-0. The Ethel’s are not obeying Orders..

Suddenly it was a different game altogether. The goals have given Arsenal a much-needed 

leaving the Ethel’s slightly rippled with a flat under-side..

Arsenal did not start the game well but they picked up as the game went on. Theo again given a bag of sweets – he has to be the most frustrating of frustrating footballers. Giroud was down. Twitter holds it breath, but it was Ok! as the big French resistance fighter got up to carry on.

The BFG rescued Arsenal with a Stoke like clearance. Farfan got all excited, turned TV5 every which way and shot wide of goal. Must be a United fan with a name like that. Fuchs clattered into Theo and picked up a yellow card.

Oberscharführer Holger was all over Podolski like a rash. Free-kick awarded to Arsenal and yes! You guessed it, nothing came of it. Two minutes of injury time at the end of the half for Arsenal to hold onto what would be a very good score to go into the dressing room with.

There’s a shocker!!! Cazorla of all people could not keep control of the ball and slipped, the Ethal’s took control of the play and pushed forward, just as the Arsenal defence was pushing out leaving them flat-footed. Holby City sent the ball across to Huntelaar, who controlled the ball and rifles in a shot – past Mannone to make the score 1-2 going into half-time and just what Arsenal did not need.

HT 1-2 – Arsenal were not really at the races in the first half even though they had got themselves into a 2-0 lead. On reflection Schalke deserved at least a goal. A case of must do better in the second half.

Schalke sensing they need to get the upper hand quickly try to gain an early advantage as they come onto the pitch at the start of the second half.

No matter how much hardwear the Ethel’s bring out it was Arsenal who had the first chance of the second half as Cazorla found Podolski down the left and his cross in turn found Giroud at the back post who should have done better than try to make his volley look good for TV and only ended up hitting the ball into the ground and over the bar. That was a good chance to take control of the game.

Wilshere down and getting treatment, but was soon up and running… Hold on!! I though the BFG was acting double agent in this game, but it seems he is actually a double, double agent as he went missing, leaving Hunterlaar all on his own, bit like RVP on Saturday and only a fine stop by Mannone kept the score at 1-2. Vito was doing well. Game is looking more spread now and both teams looking to take the game.

Schalke are now goose stepping up the gears looking for an equaliser, Arteta makes a great block that went for a corner. The corner was crossed and after pinging about in the area, where Arsenal just could not get the ball away a shot from Schalke looked to have hit the BFG’s hand and the Ethel’s scream for a penalty, but this is not Escape to Victory and the referee did not see anything wrong. TV replays showed the ref was correct and double agent BFG is in the clear. Now it was Koscielny’s turn to wind up the Germans into calling for a penalty. instead all they get is a corner, from which Oberstleutnant Neustadter heads wide.

What!!! Podolski was away and SS-Hauptsturmführer Hoger fell  over his own feet – the ref gives Schalke a free-kick. Podolski has the right hump and kicked the ball at the hoardings and got booked for his troubles. “Vot is ya name” “Don’t tell him Lu Lu” shouts Theo. “Ah! Lu Lu says the ref, your name vil also go on ze list for when ve win ze war” Yeah the ref was Italian, but a bit of artistic license.

Holby City hits a 25 yarder which is deflected and pushed out by Mannone, lucky for him it just failed to fall for Huntelaar. Vito must learn to push those shots wide and not back into the danger area as like he did at Norwich. Affellays turn to have an effort and he shoots straight at Mannone

I suppose it was on the cards as a cross comes off Holby City’s head and falls nicely for Farfan and his shot came off TV5 and went past Mannone for 2-2 Arsenal will be under the kosh.  Bit unlicky for TV5 there, not sure he could do much else.

Schalke manager celebrates their equaliser

The BFG again slips and thankfully Holby City cannot get the ball to Huntelaar. Cazorla’s has a shot that goes over the bar. Kos slipped in Theo who hit the post with his shot, but the Linesman had already raised his flag for offside. The game looks to have dropped a bit as if both sides are happy with the draw. I would take it right now. The score from Olympiacos is 3-1 to the home side. Arsenal down to ten men as TV5 goes in hard on Jones and comes off worse. Nothing going right for TV5 this season.

Podolski and Cazorla go off and replaced by Coquelin and Santos..

Oooooo!!! Santos coming on has wound up the Twitteratti… The fourth official holds up the board showing four mins injury time. Coquelin had the ball and was bundled over in the area, Penalty!!! Referee says no.  What a chance to nick it at the end, Theo finally shows some muscle, maybe sick of the sweets he has been given in the match and holds off Matip and should make it 2-3 but he hardly gets any power in his shot and the goalie makes the stop. Theo wants £100k a week? He has to stop taking sweets and scoring those sort of goals that win matches.

The ref blows the final whistle and the game ends 2-2. I reckon most of us would have taken that result if offered before the game, so job done. Schalke are a very good side and a draw away there is a good result. Turn the TV over as I really don’t need to hear more bollox from the terrible trio and the smug Stelling.

Arsenal played in patches but at least looked like they gave a damn. Still looks like a confidence issue in the team going forward though and hopeful that will come good again very soon, starting in the home match against Fulham this Saturday. We have to spank someone and not just by the score, but by dominating them, taking them apart.

Mannone played well. The defence was not bad, but then again not great. The midfield was not able to fashion many chances. Jack played his heart out and maybe stayed on for the full 90 as he is suspended for the Fulham match. Cazorla looked knackered but played well, save the slip. Arteta is having a  few poor games by his standards. Giroud tries as did Podolski for much of the match till replaced. Arsenal are not playing to Giroud’s strengths. When they get the ball into the area for him, he proved last night and against West Ham he can score.

With Olympiacos winning 3-1 at home to Montpellier, it has left the group in Arsenal hands to qualify and in Schalke’s hands to win the group. Should both Arsenal and Schalke win their next games, then both will progress to the knock-out stages.

So it’s onto Fulham on Saturday and looking forward to it.

Cheers

@harlowgooner

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