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Arsenal v Schalke: a riotous preview

By Tony Attwood

While Arsenal were losing to Norwich,  Schalke beat Borussia Dortmund.   200 people and eight officers were injured (in Germany nor Norfolk).  Water cannon were used to stop Schalke fans from dismantling a barrier they had taken offence before the start of the game.

Before the game both Dortmund and Schalke fans launched a united attack on the police lines, followers of both clubs were tear gassed and in return attacked police who tried to segregate them.  Water cannons were also deployed.

Over 1000 police officers were involved, and Dortmund fans were accused of taking apart a restaurant.  However much doubt has been cast on this story even though it appears in most papers.  Police had claimed a beer garden was destroyed by Dortmund followers “with furniture ripped apart and used as missiles against opposition fans and police.”  But according to other sources  only one plastic stool had been destroyed ahead of the match.

Police vehicles were attacked, according to reports (and again this may or may not be true although much of the UK press has got excited by the situation), so on that basis the match might have been utterly peaceful.  The Schalke report makes no mention of any trouble, riot police or police dogs being brought in.

Mounted officers were “attacked by Dortmund hooligans with cobble stones”, according to police reports.

Schalke’s manager is report as saying, “That’s not what we imagined happening here.  Before the game, both clubs had made a statement that we hope the rivalry would be contained to the pitch. This is not nice and can’t be accepted. Maybe at some point, we can express emotions through chanting and cheering.”

Dortmund’s police chief, Dieter Keil, said: “This has nothing to do with the enthusiasm for football and has nothing to do with what we want to see in Dortmund.”

The actual incidents read very much like the sort of thing that happened on occasion in England as away fans deliberately changed their arrival points and journey to the stadium, in order to confuse the police, whose levels of intelligence of what might happen seemed painfully small.  I do remember Manchester United playing Orient in the mid-70s where a similar sort of thing happened – everyone in north London seemed to know what was going to happen – except the police.  (And I don’t pick that example as a way of getting at Man U fans – it is just an incident that was perhaps of a similar type to this one, which I happen to remember).

Reports suggest some Schalke fans met at the university while another group arrived at a different train station from that which the police had prepared a welcoming committee.   Police were thus wrongly positioned and their frantic journey back to find the supporters heightened the tension.  (This is not to suggest anything about this is the fault of the police – merely that they got their information wrong, and so had to move at speed, which always heightens tension).

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It is also suggested that Dortmund fans had more information than the police and knew exactly where to find their city rivals.

However, initial reports of Dortmund fans destroying a beer garden ahead of the match were untrue, writes Ruhr Nachrichten. Police had claimed the beer garden was gutted by Dortmund followers “with furniture ripped apart and used as missiles against opposition fans and police.” But according to Ruhr Nachrichten sources only one plastic stool had been destroyed ahead of the match.

Inside the stadium Schalke supporters presented a stolen banner from Dortmund’s Ultra groups The Unity and Desperados. This led to both Dortmund Ultra groups trying to break through to the away section in an attempt to exact revenge but police were able to stop the fans and keep them on their side of the stadium.

So will that affect Schalke?  Will Arsenal’s defeat to Norwich affect Arsenal?   We know the injury list is growing:

Oxlade Chamberlain now joins the long list of absentees who won’t be available for this game so presumably the starting line up will be the same again

Vito Mannone

Carl Jenkinson, Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen (c), Andre Santos

Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey

Santi Cazorla

Lukas Podolski,  Olivier Giroud, Gervinho

One thing I would add about this team is that Jenkinson seems to have come on dramatically from his more hesitant performances last season.  He looks like being a remarkable buy.  If there are to be any changes I guess Ramsey could be replaced by Coquelin,


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13 comments to Arsenal v Schalke: a riotous preview

  • nicky

    I think we will see a different Arsenal on Wednesday night.
    After a lacklustre performance, the team invariably seems to regroup and turns on a totally improved showing.
    It’s as though the players seem to wake up after a bad dream and put the last match behind them.
    I only wish they could avoid these terrible blips when hotly tipped to win, but that has invariably been the Arsenal way.

  • JohnW

    But Schalke are a very dangerous side, really technical. i watched their game with Bayern a few weeks ago and Bayern really sweated blood for the win. As you’re aware by now, Bayern is one of the favourites for the CL this season, so we must beware.

  • John L

    i posted this on an earlier article but believe it applies here as well…i hope to see much much sharper movement against schalke.

    the perfomance v norwich exposed something that ive been observing for quite sometime now. which is that we dont move off the ball and make intelligent enough runs. yesterday was bad, but i feel we are often guilty of running square and to in ‘position’. I believe our technical quality sometimes masks this. also the runs are often individual and not part of a greater team context. a simple illustration of this is when we cross the ball into the box, i dont get the sense that players have roles i.e near and far post runs, a late run into the box, another player sitting at the top of the box to mop up. this allows the crosser to whip the ball into space confident in the knowledge that there will be a team mate breaking his neck to get there, it also makes it a little harder for the defenders as they get stretched. united are a team that do this very well, and they get alot of goals from it.

    which all brings me to think of one of my all time favorite players; freddie ljungberg. not the biggest player, quick but not the fastest, good on the ball but not really a ‘wing-wizard’, good team passing but not really a ‘maestro’. where he was absolutely world class and up there with the best was his movement. he was constantly moving and more importantly his ‘runs’ were varied. drop deep, drift into the center, dart out wide, diagonals then square then direct and back again. this is why he was such a key player for arsenal and, for me, on par with all the rest of the invincibles.
    i think in chamberlain, walcott, gervinho, gnabry, poldi and ramsey we have players that are capable of this. but they need to step it up both individually and collectively. they need to be more creative and expressive off the ball. this was a trademark of wenger’s early teams but i think since the invicibles we have started to lack that a bit, is it the move to 4-5-1? is it that the premiership has changed?…..either way we would do well to improve this aspect of our game!

  • arsenal must do thrie best to beat shalke! so let’s wait and see! but we need to win!

  • Sammy The Snake

    Unfortunately, Arsenal is slipping into mediocracy (if it didnt in 2006) and we’re all getting used to it. Once again, we will be fighting for fourth place which will be achieved with AW’s knowhow by the end of the season. It looks like Chelsea & United are flying in EPL. In CL, we will once again qualify from our group, and then hit the Barca wall.
    I just wish things were better but this is the reality of our beloved Gunners.
    Don’t give me too much stick, I’m just feeling down & demoralized with 2 losses in last 3 games.

  • alex

    TONY !
    I have a different view on Jenkinson.Yes he has developed a lot and one thing that i admire of this guy is his relentless work rate.So far i didnt see any winger or striker that pass him easily.His forward runs and tracking back are magnificent.
    All this attributes we have it with Sagna and for me are very identical.
    The weak point of both of them is they are just one sided and they only cross the ball.No other sort of creativity.Good right/backs they dont just run and cross the ball.Certainly this is good for the likes of Stoke but not Arsenal as it is a kind of norm if we dont score on set pieces.Both of them are one dimensional and easily guessed and sorted.

    THANK YOU TONY BIG THANK YOU for mentioning COQUELIN instead of Ramsey.

    To many excuse has being given for this boy.One minute is being said his nasty injury.The other minute Gary Speed death affected him.

    Endless excuse which has nothing yo do with his game.
    He is just a cancer in that midfield.
    On what merit is there ?
    Is he a prolific dribbler ? Absolutely not.
    Are his passing ala Cesc ? Absolutely not.

    Piff puffing all over the pitch is his trade mark.The result is confusing Cazorla -Podolsky-Gervinho .Testimony to this is the Norwich game Almost 70/% ball possession and this boy is all over to kill the move.

    Sorry, but i had it enough of this guy.To me is a championship level and he should be sent out on loan for good year at least.

  • Florian


    Maybe you should be the one that gets sent to watch Championship games. Then make judgments about the quality of the players there.

  • rk

    I am an Arsenal supporter from India and this is my first comment.

    I think Arshavin should play as a supporting striker. He runs around and wins the ball, always giving more than 100%. Santi cazorla and the midfield was too predictable against norwich because they pass a lot. Arshavin will give some flexibility to the team by cutting inside and playing in the center. Also if he can switch positions with cazorla it will be good(i consider him a bit different and more deadly than gervinho). Ramsey is good but sometimes he is off the game. He can be rested and Coquelin will have a chance to show how good he is. I hope Arshavin plays and put in performance like he did against Barca.

    just my thoughts

  • Damien Luu

    @Alex: You are really poisonous! What you said is utterly rubbish. I couldn’t help myself from wishing something very bad for you.

  • Damien Luu

    @nicky: I agree that we will see a totally different Arsenal tomorrow night. Because sadly we can’t do any worse than we did the last weekend, can we? But even so, those snakes with their poisonous tongues really drive me mad.

  • ARSENAL 13

    @ nicky….

    all of us hope so.

    @ Alex….

    Do you really know what you are saying.

    I hope Ramsey plays on the left of the midfield. He had good games playing there.

  • alex

    I took some time to reply to see if there is someone worth a reply.
    Unfortunately there is none.
    If you guys are from the Wales and if i touch your welsh nerve i dont mean it.But one thing worth to mention is “not all player that come from your shores are Ryan Giggs”.

    I have said what i said about Ramsey based on what i see in the field.

    We had seen plenty midfelders in our time and the chap is still way down the level of the mediocre one let alone the best.

    Will i boo him……Certainly not.To express my point is not a sin.

    Again this is my observation on the field.

    Once the manager has deided that is fit enough to play the excuses that they come here and there are simply rubbish.
    Simply for me as a fan that i am able to watch the game from the terraces are not something that i take into account.

    Ramsey as a midfielder :
    Is he the type blessed with dribbling skills ?

    No sir, i do not see one single event that make me change my opinion.I am here to listen to your opinion if you have one.

    Is he the type of box to box player able to pass ala TOURE or DYABI ?
    No sir, I didnt see any of that.Is not blessed with enough physical strength.By no means i am saying is weak but come on guys…. look at Toure and Dyaiby.

    Is he the type that cut inside and is a constant nuisance and headache to the opponent ala Gervinho ?
    No Sir, is not.

    Ramsey as amidfielder is he loaded with bag of triks and dribbles ? Go on lie to yourself if you sau yes but he is not

    We have seen propper midfielders in our time .The likes of Cesc make good example.Just by looking at his passes accuracy,timing is not only beautifull to watch but cahnges the course of the game in no time.The likes of CESC they do need first to look at the player before they pass they just kick the ball and it is there right at the legs of the player.
    The likes of Ramsey is not in him this attribute and takes few seconds or minutes to think to whom to pass little that he know is already dispossesed by the opponent.

    Ramsey boy has insatiable appetite to run all over the pitch .Hundred per cent work rate .Is not a lazy chap he is always there.He showed top attitude to come back and play after that hoorible injury.

    Question is what he does with this enormous work rate ?

    In one hand people look at his work rate and tend that i underestimate him .I rate more than anyone his work rate.

    My verdict is a disruptive figure that has no known function in the pitch.Therefore needs to up his game and define his role some where else.Surely for me is not Arsenal first starter.He is still 21 therefor he got plenty of time to rectfy it.Bring it only when is absolutely ready.

  • bjtgooner


    Cut Ramsey a bit of slack, he is a much better player than you make out. To pick on a player and attack him in the way you have shows just how little you know about football. Lay off.