A positive start for the home side was undone when defensive lapses allowed Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud to put the Gunners into a commanding lead, before goals either side of the half-time break from Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Jefferson Farfan gave the home side a well-earned point, keeping them top of Group B.
Gift for the Gunners
Knowing that they could seal qualification for the last sixteen and possibly even win the group with a victory, Schalke began the game full of purpose, as Ibrahim Afellay forced a smart low save from Arsenal keeper Vito Mannone. Benedikt Höwedes then went close with a looping header, before the Blues' undid all their good early work by gifting Arsenal the first game's first goal.
There was little danger when Per Mertesacker knocked a long ball forward, but miscommunication in the defence sent Giroud clean through and Walcott was on hand to poke into an empty net. Crucially, Arsenal had scored the first goal, and Schalke’s confidence looked fatally dented. A caution for Joel Matip for a cynical foul on Santi Cazorla typified their loss of concentration, and minutes later it was 2-0 as Giroud headed in completely unmarked from Lukas Podolski’s cross.
Huntelaar pulls one back
The home side managed to get into some good positions and Farfan missed a presentable opportunity when he drove at the Arsenal back four to only shoot wide, but in the main, the away side’s defence looked solid. The hosts needed to strike before the break, and with time running out they did just that, as a delightful touch from Lewis Holtby released Huntelaar to drill in a lifeline for Schalke.
A priceless goal had arrived at the perfect time for the Bundesliga outfit, and they roared into gear in the second period. Backed by vociferous home support, they pushed Arsenal back and began to pepper Mannone’s goal with shots. Huntelaar’s effort was blocked after an almighty goalmouth scramble, before the Dutchman then spurned a glorious opportunity, firing at the legs of Mannone with the freedom of the Veltins Arena before him.
Farfan evens it up
With Schalke utterly dominant, the chances continue to present themselves. Holtby and Afellay both had decent attempts from range palmed away, but Arsenal were gradually worn down by a relentless Royal Blues performance. Afellay’s cross was flicked on by Holtby and picked up at the back post by Farfan, who drove in an equaliser via the toe of Thomas Vermaelen.
After having pressed so hard for the second goal, the home side's tempo slowed temporarily and the Arsenal defence, seemingly content to now settle for a point, were able to gain a foothold. Jermaine Jones and Huntelaar both went close to a winner, but it was Arsenal that enjoyed the best chance oto win it, Unnerstall saving brilliantly from Walcott in injury time. It prevented what would have been a harsh defeat on Huub Stevens’ men, who remain unbeaten in the competition.
Schalke 04: Unnerstall – Uchida (Höger, 25’, Papadopoulos, 66')), Höwedes, Matip, Fuchs - Neustädter, Jones – Farfan, Holtby (Barnetta, 90'), Afellay - Huntelaar
Arsenal: Mannone – Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen – Arteta, Wilshere – Podolski (Andre Santos, 90'), Cazorla (Coquelin, 90'), Walcott - Giroud
Goals: 0-1 Walcott (18'), 0-2 Giroud (26'), 1-2 Huntelaar (45+2'), 2-2 Farfan (67')