Wednesday 7 November 2012

Schalke 2 -2 Arsenal | Happy With A Draw | How Sad

My first reaction on seeing the team list about an hour before the game was one of relief not to see Andre Santos. He was replaced at left-back by Vermaleen while Koscielny took his position at center-back alongside the increasingly reliable big German, Mertesacker. On paper it would seem like the perfect call to make under the circumstances especially since Vermaleen plays as a left-back for his country. But given his and Koscielny's bungling forms in recent times, I was wary of having both on the field at the same time.

I was also glad to see Theo in the starting line-up because we've lacked verve down the flanks in the past few games and he really is the only one in the squad -fit or otherwise- that can offer any penetrating threat down the right.

The rest of the starting eleven was as good as it gets for us with Wilshere starting in midfield alongside Arteta and Cazorla while Poldi manned the outside-left. Sagna was at right-back while Giroud led the line.

Schalke gave us a pounding inside those few opening minutes and were unlucky not to score. An errant header back in the direction of his own goal by a Schalke  player saw the ball fall for Giroud who latched onto the ball and bore down on the Schalke goalie with his phobia for scoring in tow. He scoffed the chance but luckily Walcott's predatory instinct was alive to the opportunity and he latched unto the loose ball and buried it with ease.

We hadn't looked like scoring before that goal so when the second goal came from Giroud -whose phobia had gone off to take a leak and he seized the opportunity- Goonerland went haywire. A quick look at my watch showed the second goal had come in the 26th minute. There was too much time left and the way we've been playing of late we were more likely to concede than extend the lead.

On the stroke of half-time, Cazorla slipped in our own half while on the ball as he tried to wriggle out of a tight spot. Schalke pounced and quickly moved the ball around until it found Huntelaar who placed the ball beyond Mannone. 1-2.

Of course it wouldn't be Arsenal if we don't contrive a way to ensure that our blood pressures stayed high. The way the game had gone, there surely was another goal or more to come but it was important that we got the next one. We didn't.

Schalke got the equalizer in the 69th minute deservedly so after laying siege on our goal for large portions of the 2nd half. There was at least 20 minutes more to play and the momentum was with Schalke.

We did have a chance to steal it in the last minute of injury time but Theo lacked the composure to put it beyond the keeper when he found himself one-on-one with the keeper and the moment was lost.

Despite throwing away a 2-0 lead yesterday to draw the game against Shalke, most Arsenal fans seemed relieved to have come away with a point. This reaction must have a lot to do with our form in recent times and the fact that the opponent had beaten us in the reverse fixture a couple of weeks ago at home to halt our unbeaten home record in the Champions League.

The reaction was understandable considering the trepidation most of us must have felt 10-15 minutes into the game when Schalke appeared ready to annihilate us once again as we ran all over the field as bereft of confidence as we've been in the past few weeks.

I admit I was relieved after the game that we had not lost it but on second thoughts that reaction scared me as it seems that our expectations of the the team are being lowered by the day. Just as our club's ambitions seem to have moved from world beaters to also-rans over the past few years -a state of mind that has slowly but surely diffused into the team. If the club considers a fourth place finish a trophy and is not ashamed to say it publicly repeatedly, it is inevitable that that is the much effort the team will put into the campaign.

Now we expectedly throw away a good 2-0 lead and are happy to get away with a point. We've lost the heart and will to fight till the end.

Let's hope it doesn't get any worse before it gets better.

Follow on twitter@naijaendgooner


  1. its all wenger's fault

  2. The players we have are great technically.
    We have so much possession, so many opportunities to play and win games
    but what we lack is the desire to win, the desire to fight for the
    point, the desire to close off games. Players like Bendtner are the
    perfect example - technically gifted but no desire to fight for the team
    or for this place in the side. he has that air of
    someone who believes we only need to go out,play our game and we will
    win. It doesnt work like that and it hasnt for seven years.

  3. I respect Wenger's philosophy and
    principles. But how can you expect to win anything if you are in the
    process of rebuilding every year. No successful club sell
    its captain every other year?

  4. at the risk of sounding like the proverbial broken record, wenger has to go for the club to move forward. he has run out of ideas

  5. Who is your first choice replacement for Wenger, Sergent

  6. Guardiola is a perfect fit and he is available

  7. @:disqus another delusional Arsenal fan

  8. @:disqus you're right. delusional is the word. why dont we get Ferguson as Guardiola's assistant, Serge


What do you think?

Naija End Gooner