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Match: Schalke vs. Arsenal, Group B, Tuesday
Arsenal fell out of first place in Group B after performing poorly in a 2-0 home loss to Schalke two weeks ago. The Germans outplayed Arsenal at the Emirates and had extensive success attacking the Gunners' left side.
That's where Brazilian full back Andre Santos has been filling in recently during the injury-enforced absence of Kieran Gibbs. Besides angering Arsenal fans with his shirt-swapping antics at halftime against Manchester United on Saturday, Santos has played poorly.
Schalke identified Santos as a weak link and exploited Arsenal's vulnerability down the left. Manchester United noticed and had similar success, with Antonio Valencia creating width in the not-as-close-as-it-sounds 2-1 victory over Arsenal at the weekend.
Arsenal's recent struggles haven't all been Santos' fault, though. Lukas Podolski has shown either an inability or an unwillingness to cover down the left flank. And central defender and captain Thomas Vermaelen made an error that directly led to United's first goal.
Arsenal's defense, in other words, has plenty of issues. But Santos continues to be the weakest link in a rickety, rusty chain-link fence.
Jefferson Farfan ran riot at the Emirates two weeks ago. If Gibbs can't recover in time to play in Tuesday's match (and if Arsene Wenger again refuses to play anyone else, like Laurent Koscielny, there), expect a repeat in Germany at Santos' expense.