Champions League 2012 Results: What Draw with Schalke Means for Arsenal
Arsenal’s mid-week Champions League match saw them finish with a 2-2 draw away from home to German side Schalke—a result that the Gunners would likely have been happy with before kickoff but not after the match had concluded.
The North London club took a two-goal lead after just half an hour of play, courtesy of goals from Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud, but surrendered their lead midway through the second half.
They would hang on for what could turn out to be a very important point in the Champions League this year—just how significant will likely be revealed over the remaining two weeks of the competition.
Let’s take a look at what the impact of Arsenal’s 2-2 draw will be for the club in both their quest for European glory as well as their season as a whole.
UEFA Champions League
Perhaps the most obvious point here that the draw means for Arsenal is that it keeps their chances at qualification through to the knockout stages alive, and keeps them above third-placed Olympiacos by one point in Group B.
Schalke are on top with eight points, with the Gunners on seven points and the Greek club on six points—meaning that their match away to Olympiacos on the final week of competition could have a huge impact on the competition.
That is, unless Schalke defeat Olympiacos when they meet in Germany in Week 5 and Arsenal beat Montpellier at the Emirates Stadium—results that could well fall the way of Arsene Wenger’s men given the performances from both teams so far.
In a nutshell, the draw against Schalke means that Arsenal aren’t going to have to travel into the heart of Greece and try and earn a win against Olympiacos to ensure their qualification through to the knockout rounds.
Providing Schalke win next week and they beat Montpellier themselves, they wont have to win in the final week of competition and can start to plan their run at European glory this season.
As mentioned previously, it could turn out to be a very big point for the Gunners’ chances at the UEFA Champions League campaign this year.
Season as a Whole
But what did the result do for Arsenal’s season as a whole—particularly given the poor start that the North London club have made to the 2012/13 season?
It’s become well-documented that this is the worst start any Arsenal team has made in the English Premier League under Arsene Wenger, with the Gunners struggling to beat any of the top teams they’ve played this season—Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea—as well as some of the lesser sides, including Norwich City, Sunderland and Stoke City.
They were comprehensively beaten a fortnight ago by Schalke at the Emirates—failing to even record a single shot on target—and were in danger of completely collapsing before the season had even truly begun to get going.
Thus for Arsenal to come out and net the opening two goals and pick up a point in Germany, against a side that had dominated them two weeks back, will have done wonders for their confidence and belief this season.
Sure, picking up all three points would have been ideal to silence any critics, but don't be surprised if this result is somewhat of a turning point for Arsenal this year—a statement game to prove that they can fight for results even when their backs are up against the wall.
Their next month or so of Premier League matches is still a difficult stretch, with the Gunners playing the likes of Everton, Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion all in the next five weeks of competition.
It will be fascinating to see how their Champions League progress impacts their domestic progress in both the Capital One Cup, and more importantly, the English Premier League and the race for that all-important top-four spot.
What did you make of the draw against Schalke for Arsenal?
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