Arsenal saw most of the possession in a closely contested first 45 minutes, yet hardly threatened Schalke's goal. The visitors' second-half pressure took its toll when Dutch duo Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Ibrahim Afellay hit the back of the net.
Chances for Arsenal
Schalke coach Huub Stevens left his side unchanged following last weekend's impressive 2-1 Ruhr derby win at Borussia Dortmund, while Arsene Wenger omitted forward Olivier Giroud to field midfielder Francis Coquelin after the 1-0 loss to Norwich City.
Arsenal looked anything but put out by that surprise domestic defeat, repeatedly passing their way towards the visitors' box in the opening stages, yet lacked precision in the final third of the pitch where Lukas Podolski twice crossed the ball but couldn't find a team-mate. He did better a good ten minutes into the game when Gervinho failed to steer the Germany international's sharp cross on goal.
Schalke step up a gear
Again Gervinho could have broken the deadlock after 23 minutes, picking up a marvellous opening ball from Santi Cazorla, but the Ivory Coast frontman struggled to get past two Schalke defenders, while Cazorla himself had the opportunity to finish four minutes later, only to see another half-chance from long range blocked by Joel Matip at the expense of a corner.
Schalke geared up as the game progressed and had their first promising scoring opportunity near the half-hour mark. Jefferson Farfan's left-footed attempt from inside the box bounced off the sliding Thomas Vermaelen, before the unmarked Huntelaar failed to connect with Atsuto Uchida's pass when just ten yards out.
Double Dutch delight
Despite Arsenal having their most notable opportunity just after the break, Schalke were clearly in charge as the Gunners awarded the guests increasing amounts of space. Benedikt Höwedes should have done better than to blaze Farfan's pass over the crossbar from close range (50'). Schalke's probing eventually paid dividends in the 76th minute, when Afellay's header freed Huntelaar who left keeper Vito Mannone no chance to give his side the lead.
Arsenal tried to up the pressure, yet despite bringing on two attacking players, they couldn't get anywhere near their opponent's goal in the remaining quarter of an hour. In the closing minutes, Schalke scored a decisive second from a swift-counter, with Afellay tapping Farfan's cross into an empty net at the far post.
Arsenal: Mannone - Jenkinson (83. Gnabry), Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos - Coquelin, Arteta - Ramsey, Podolski (83. Arschawin) - Cazorla - Gervinho (76. Giroud)
Schalke: Unnerstall - Uchida, Höwedes, Matip, Christian Fuchs - Neustädter - Höger (46. Jones), Afellay - Holtby (65. Barnetta) - Farfan, Huntelaar (88. Marica)
Goals: 0-1 (Huntelaar 76'), 0-2 (Afellay 86')