Schalke vs. Arsenal: Score, Analysis and Grades
In a tale of two wildly different halves, Arsenal and Schalke eventually fought each other to a 2-2 draw in their second Champions League meeting in as many matches.
Arsenal had been in poor form recently and looked hapless in its loss to Schalke two weeks ago, but the Gunners came out firing at the start of this match. The attack looked dangerous and goals from Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud in the first 26 minutes gave them control of the match.
But Schalke battled back before halftime, and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar cut the lead in half just before the break. The momentum carried over into the second 45 minutes, and Schalke spent the majority of this time in front of Arsenal's goal searching for an equalizer. They found it in the 67th minute when Jefferson Farfan's shot was deflected into the goal.
Neither team will be all that disappointed with the result, as they both remain in the two top spots in Group B and are in excellent positions to advance through to the knockout stage.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Schalke: B+
Huntelaar maintained his form as a dominant centre-forward in this match, and his goal could not have come at a more perfect time for Schalke. Down 2-0, the team needed to score before the half, and the Dutch striker delivered with a clinical finish.
The momentum from this goal led to a vastly improved effort from Schalke in the second half, and Huntelaar had a fantastic opportunity to equalize shortly after play resumed, but was unable to get his shot past Vito Mannone. Still, his effort was instrumental in getting Schalke a favorable result.
Olivier Giroud, Arsenal: B+
If this were a first-half grade, Giroud would have received an A. His pressure led to the first goal and he delivered the Gunners' second strike with a clinical header.
But in the second half, Giroud once again faded into the shadows of this game and failed to make an impact. It is not entirely his fault as the whole Arsenal team's form dropped dramatically in the final 45 minutes. But the team could have used a spark from him at some point late in this contest.
Lewis Holtby, Schalke: A
Playing behind the strikers, Holtby was the mastermind behind Schalke's attack. He put on the type of performance Arsenal was hoping to receive from Santi Cazorla.
With two assists in this match, the central midfielder was the German side's best player, which is an impressive accomplishment given the form his attacking partners were in to finish the match.
Theo Walcott, Arsenal: B
Like Giroud, Walcott would have received a significantly higher grade if this match was only 45 minutes long. The speedy winger was aggressive and got into the right places at the right times during the first half, but he was nowhere to be found after the break.
Arsenal's attack was commendable to start the game, with Giroud and Walcott standing out due to their goals. But the team seemed far too content to rest on its early accomplishments, and this cost it two points.
Jefferson Farfan, Schalke: A-
Farfan notched Schalke's equalizer and the spectators could see this goal coming. The winger was able to get up the pitch and put constant pressure up the right flank right from the start of the second period.
Arsenal was on its heels for much of the second half, and the scrambling defense was unable to keep Farfan's shot out of the net.
Schalke maintained their two-point lead over Arsenal in Group B, as both sides solidified their status as the favorites to advance.
The Gunners will return to London to face Montpellier in two weeks, while Schalke will stay in Germany to host Olympiakos in the November 21 set of matches.
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