Schalke vs. Arsenal: Gunners Hold Champions League Fate in Their Own Hands

Mike Hoag@MikeHoagJrCorrespondent IINovember 10, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 24:  (L-R) Thomas Vermaelen, Vito Mannone and Andre Santos of Arsenal look dejected during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Arsenal and FC Schalke at the Emirates Stadium on October 24, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arsenal blew a two-goal lead in its most recent Champions League fixture against Group B-leading Schalke. The German side holds a narrow one-point lead over the Gunners heading into the final two games of group play.

In this case, second place is good enough to advance, so it should be good enough for a struggling Arsenal club. And at this point, they’ll take it.

Whether it’s the striking woes one match or defensive lapses the next, the Gunners have had their fair share of woes across the board this year.

They’ll have about two weeks to let their poor second-half performance stew before they take the pitch again in Champions League play against Montpellier on Nov. 21.

That match is one of the biggest for the Gunners in recent history. They still hold their fate in their own hands, though the mounting skepticism and negativity around the team would have you believe they have already been eliminated.

Arsenal still has a very good chance to keep its Champions League hopes alive. All the Gunners have to do is not lose a match. They don’t even have to win, just keep the bottom two teams from their group at bay, and they’ll advance to the next round. That should be easy enough against Montpellier and Olympiacos.

The Gunners edged the French side 2-1 and bested Olympiacos 3-1 in their opening two Group B matches.

But even if the London side does advance to the knockout round, it doesn't look like it has the same chemistry to take the club much further this season.

Arsene Wenger’s transfer window shakeups and the loss of Robin van Persie have been big factors in the Gunners’ decline this season. Things are taking longer to come together than most expected or would like to see.

Don’t miss the exciting conclusion to group play at the end of the month and beginning of December, as we’ll see if Arsenal is indeed worth its salt.


Mike Hoag Jr. is a Breaking News Team writer and NFL featured columnist for Bleacher Report.

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