Schalke 2-2 Arsenal: Five reasons for the Gunners to be optimistic

Schalke 04

Arsenal went 2-0 up against Schalke in the Champions League before the German side drew level. Despite letting their lead slip, here are some reasons for Arsenal to be optimistic.

Olivier Giroud

Giroud had one of his better games in an Arsenal shirt and looked a genuine handful for the majority of the match. He bagged Arsenal’s second goal which will give him confidence heading into the club’s next few Premier League games. He has been under pressure ever since he joined the club and this slight ease of pressure in terms of his goal rate will be useful for both the player and the club.

Theo Walcott

Walcott showed just how useful he can be when he cuts inside and plays through the middle. He didn’t look too unhappy in an Arsenal shirt so there is cause to believe that he can get a new contract sorted out with the club before Christmas. Walcott had a bit of luck with Arsenal’s first goal but he kept his composure well and made sure the ball crossed the line to put the Gunners ahead.

The Statistics

Arsenal had only 17 shots on target from all of their Champions League games before the start of the match with Schalke. They added a further five to their tally which shows the attack his been listening to Arsene Wenger who has been calling for more precision. Arsenal also controlled the ball well with 54% of possession throughout the game. They stayed disciplined when they were out of possession and only gave away five fouls.

Counter Attacks

Arsenal’s defence looks shaky at the moment, that’s obvious for all to see, but they held out well in the first half an hour which primed them for the counter attack. Arsenal produced a classic away team display in the first-half of the match as they pinpointed the precise weaknesses in the Schalke team which allowed them to take advantage as soon as they won the ball back inside their own defensive third.

Response

Over all Arsenal showed a great response after the defeat against Manchester United last weekend. Wenger called upon his players to believe in themselves and for the majority of the match they did just that. There are familiar problems in defence but these can be rectified. Physically the response was positive as the midfield and defence never stopped running. If they show the same response and improvement in their final two Champions League games then they will qualify with ease.

images: © Ronnie Macdonald, © achimh

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch