Arsenal vs. Schalke: 5 Talking Points from Champions League Tie

Mikhail Turner@MikhailTurnerContributor IIIOctober 24, 2012

Arsenal vs. Schalke: 5 Talking Points from Champions League Tie

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    Arsenal lost its first Champions League tie of the season at home to Schalke and surrendered first place in Group H in the process.

    Fans and critics alike were waiting to see if Arsenal would bounce back from the weekend loss to Norwich City, and the Gunners disappointed.

    Arsenal is still likely to get to the knockout stages of the Champions League, and may even end up on top of the group.

    This loss, the Gunners' third in their last five games, provides even more question marks as to the prospects for success for this Arsenal side.

    Here are a few talking points from the Champions League tie between Arsenal and Schalke.

Offense Still Not Clicking

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    Despite some promising moments in the first two games of the season against Sunderland and Stoke City, Arsenal's attack looked like it would be much weaker without Robin Van Persie.

    There have been highs and lows since then, with the 6-1 thrashing of Southampton standing out alongside solid games against West Ham and Liverpool.

    Still, the last two games have seen the offense sputter a little, and one has to wonder where the goals will come from on a regular basis.

    The new signings have yet to fully make their mark, and the old guard is yet to step up since the departure of their former captain.

    Just as with the game against Norwich this past weekend, the Gunners lacked any real creativity and drive in the final third, which resulted in another loss.

    Had the Gunners peppered the Schalke goal and unfortunately lost, it would have been a different matter, but it seems that the players aren't firing on all cylinders in the final third.

Gunners Are Becoming Reliant on Santi Cazorla

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    Santi Cazorla again failed to have a major influence on the game, but had a few positive moments. When Cazorla has played well this season, Arsenal has looked at its best up front.

    With Mikel Arteta further back in the team's formation, Cazorla is the creator-in-chief, and the other three attacking players, whoever they may be, seem unable to make too much of a difference without.

    This game saw the Spaniard line up behind the trio of Gervinho, Lukas Podolski and Aaron Ramsey but the quartet was not exactly positive 

    Gervinho showed his inconsistency, Ramsey was not playing in his usual position and drifted inside quite a lot. Podolski is direct and clinical at his best, but had an off game in all aspects, including work-rate.

    Cazorla was expected to provide chances and direct the flow of attacks for the club, but was unable to with Schalke's double pivot partnership protecting its defense well.

    If the rest of Arsenal's attacking players don't begin to step up their game when the Spaniard cannot create all the chances, the team could face some real problems moving forward.

Andre Santos Again Showed He Is Weak Defensively

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    Andre Santos' Brazilian traits can make for an intriguing option when going forward, but defensively, he is quite weak.

    Schalke concentrated much of their attacks down the right side in a bid to target the defensively inept Brazilian and got their reward in the end. It is true he did not get the help that Lukas Podolski usually offers his left-backs, but that is still no excuse.

    Santos kept Klaas-Jan Huntelaar onside for the German team's opening goal, and his recovery was not good enough when the ball was played out to Jefferson Farfan for Schalke's second.

    Farfan had a field day when going up against the Brazilian one-on-one and got a well-deserved assist to end his day. 

As Always, Some Young Gunners Shine

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    Carl Jenkinson, Francis Coquelin and Serge Gnabry were all bright spots for Arsenal on the day.

    Jenkinson was again solid for the most part, and while his opposition for the night, Ibrahim Affellay, did end up with a goal and an assist, not many of Schalke's positive moments came down his side.

    He also continued to show his willingness to get forward, though considering the lack of productivity of his attacking teammates, he wasn't able to make a difference.

    Coquelin was also good in the midfield alongside Mikel Arteta, showing a good work-rate and doing the best he could to help his side on both ends.

    Probably the most impressive of the trio was Serge Gnabry, who was lively during his short time on the pitch. As soon as he came on, the young 17-year-old showed dazzling skill to beat to Schalke defenders and get in a cross. Later on, he tested the keeper with an accurate shot with his weaker foot.

    As always, the future is bright with Arsenal, and these three showed that is just the case.

Arsenal Needs to Bounce Back Big This Weekend

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    A home game against a QPR side yet to pick up a win in the Premier League this season couldn't come at a better time for the Gunners.

    It won't be easy, though. This Arsenal side will be low on confidence after two straight losses and will certainly face a packed QPR defense.

    An upset could very well be on the cards, and Arsenal cannot afford to limp to a win or draw. A big win would be the best thing for Arsenal moving forward, and Arsene Wenger needs to get his side prepared for that game.