Arsenal – Schalke04: 2-2, Borrusia Dortmund – Schalke04: 4-0

By Walter Broeckx

After having the nearby neighbours of Dortmund in our CL group last season we this time had Schalke 04 in the group.  So a good moment to compare the two teams in my first review of this game that I visited today.

First of all if I have to look at the hospitality the Dortmund fans stood out largely compared to the Schalke fans. I remember from last year we stood in front of the stadium and the Dortmund fans came over and wanted to share thoughts on both clubs, the way they are run, if Arsenal would recover from the loss of Cesc and Nasri (it was early September or thereabouts), wanting to have pictures taken with both sets of fans. Wishing each other a good game and lots of success but not on the day.  Some supporters singing where both sets of supporters sang a song and then the other group would sing a song. All in a great atmosphere and friendly respect.

I somehow missed that today. The Schalke supporters just looked at us as we came from another planet, not getting in touch or wanting to talk to us. They just ignored us. Now of course I only can talk about the events just outside the stadium but I missed the friendly Dortmund atmosphere both before and after the game. Dortmund 1 – Schalke 0

Efficiency… German efficiency…. well they still have a job to do at Schalke.  In Dortmund the Arsenal fans just entered in the same entrances as the Dortmund fans and then got separated in the stadium and even then we had to get our drinks and bratwurst on the same stand. Standing in the same queue.  In Schalke we had a separate entrance with only 4 gates. And it was one person passing the gate, then a thorough body check to see if you didn’t bring anything forbidden in the ground. And then the next person could pass the gate, and the person after that had to wait again. It took ages to get us in the stadium.   Dortmund 2 – Schalke 0

Drinks in the stadium…. In Schalke even the visitors had to buy a card and with that card you can buy your drinks or food. You could get the money you didn’t use back at the end of the game. In Dortmund we just went to the stand and paid with our euro’s and the home fans paid with their club cards. The result was that apart from a bratwurst and a drink outside we didn’t drink or had anything to eat inside the stadium. I think Schalke is losing money that way and it is not really away supporter friendly. The bratwurst outside the stadium was good but well not as good as the ones I had in Dortmund. They seemed smaller. In Dortmund I even had to stop on a stall when going by my car because I just couldn’t resist them. In Schalke I just went to my car.    Dortmund 3 – Schalke 0

The car park was close to the stadium as in Dortmund. Fine but we needed 30 mins to advance 2 meters. In the next half our we advanced about 1 km. After one hour we still hadn’t left the parking lot! In the next 2 hours I drove 200 kms.  I must say that the car parks at Dortmund were cleared easier than in Schalke. And I also noticed that the people didn’t leave any room for other people.  In Dortmund I remember people letting one car in coming from another row and then just let people in one by one. In Schalke I had to drive with my car almost in to another car to force my way. I then showed them how nice people do it by letting others in. Nah! Dortmund 4 – Schalke 0.

So now you know what they are called Schalke 04.

On to the game and this is from my head and from my experience in the stadium. Schalke starting strong as expected. But Arsenal gradually improved. A long ball from Mertesacker, a touch from a Schalke defender and off went Giroud. Just at the moment he wanted to shoot a defender slid in and the ball came to Walcott who rounded the keeper and a defender and Giroud and put the ball in the empty net. The Gooner end all happy.

Schalke was shocked and they tried to reply but it was Arsenal who suddenly looked much better. Some good movement at times. And when the not very popular Podolski got the ball in the far corner he slipped much to the amusement of the Schalke fans but recovered, turned around his marker and gave a nice pass to Giroud who came forward and was surrounded by 4 Schalke players and headed home superbly. The Gooner end of the stadium was filled with joy.

A Cazorla slip in injury time gave Schalke suddenly a chance and Huntelaar took it well.  This was a real let off because Schalke looked down after we had taken our 0-2 lead but now got a big boost just before going in the dressing room.

As could be expected Schalke came out pressing us back to our goal. I think our defence did rather well. And when Schalke slipped through the offside trap (it looked offside but what do I know from where I stood) and Mannone produced a brilliant save to prevent Huntelaar from scoring again.

We didn’t come out of the defence and you felt the second Schalke goal coming. Vermaelen got the last touch but it was going in anyway. 2-2 and you could fear for Arsenal cracking. But au contraire my friend.

Suddenly the team started playing forward again. Or was it Schalke who was happy with the point? But suddenly we did play better.

And lo and behold we even got a Busacca moment in this game. Podolski and a Schalke defender battled for the ball. Podolski won the ball and the Schalke player went down and stayed on the floor holding his leg. Podolski laid the ball back a few touches and then he was send clear on goal (from where we were standing) and then suddenly the ref blew his whistle and stopped the game to give treatment to the injured player. And that just when Podolski cleverly took advantage of the position of the injured player so he couldn’t be offside. But the f*cking ref stopped our attack!!!!?????  And when Podolski protested this lunatic decision he even got a yellow card.

Now I know if there is a possible head wound the game should be stopped immediately but this was clearly a  player who had some trouble with his thigh so no real possible life threatening situation.  This was referee madness at its best (or worst). I still cannot understand the ref and that decision. And then he restarted the game with a dropped ball. And gone was the chance to put us back in front.  Sickening decision.

But it was a tense game between the number 2  from the Bundesliga and Arsenal.  Both teams seemed satisfied with the 2-2 and then it happened. Theo cleverly anticipated the run of the ball and sneaked in behind the last defender and was on his own in the last seconds of extra time. Theo could have earned himself £100,000 a week but he missed his chance.

And as this was virtually the last kick of the game it gave us somehow a sad feeling. The result was a fair one but because of us missing that last chance we felt a bit disappointed.

And I think there were more reasons to be optimistic after this game. We played better and with the speed of Theo we look another team and more threatening.  Vermalen covered in at left back and was certainly doing better than Santos. But we still aren’t satisfied completely to be honest Thomas.

Jack Wilshere is getting better and better each game he plays. It won’t be long and we will have our Jack back. The team as a whole was ready to fight and to battle. And that was great to see. Cazorla looks like he is coming back from a few lesser games. With Vermaelen behind him Podolski looks better again.

Arteta was himself and was working his socks off for the team.  Giroud scored a great goal and was working very hard for the team. Walcott his pace made us a different team and speed has been missing. Mannone was playing very confidently and apart from one bad punched ball looked very composed.  Koscielny looked the player from last season most of the time.

And my special mention goes to our BFG Per Mertesacker.  What a player he has turned in to this season. (I will probably have jinxed him right now – touch wood)  And from the second the ref blew his whistle at the end of the game he immediately came over to us and applauded the away fans from which I was a proud part this time.  We’ve got a Big F*cking German, we’ve got a Big F*cking German…  A wise lesson: don’t write new players off too soon!

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50 Replies to “Arsenal – Schalke04: 2-2, Borrusia Dortmund – Schalke04: 4-0”

  1. my god is this for real?

    TV5 had another bloody shocker in defence. christ

    the second half was a piss poor performance. The only highlight for arsenal was walcotts last 94th minute chance. Other than that we played bloody terrible. Giroud did nothing second half. Kosienlny is a disaster, podolski i dont even know what he does. The fact we only let in 2 is a shocker. Apart from 2 goals in 8 mins in the first half, it was another shocker.The fact we were 20 goals up was another shocker in itself.

  2. The player who looked most assured, in my opinion, was Mannone. He did well, held on to the ball when required, pushed it wide, and made one very good save. The BFG has been great all season, but he did lose Huntelaar for Schalke’s opening goal (not that it was terrible defending. It happens) and his slip could have proved costly.

    Which brings me, why were our players slipping all the time? At least 7-8 slips by Arsenal players and none by Schalke players (That I can remember)

    Theo had a strange game. On the one hand he scored a goal, and was sharp throughout the game. On the other hand he did miss the opportunity at the end (should have passed) and he also took the ball off Podolski when he was offside. His pace is vital for us though, but Walcott was his frustrating self because he could have done so much more. (Again, not a tirade. Just an observation)

    Walter, I liked your explanation of why they are called Schalke 04. Made me laugh 🙂

  3. its very sad to hear from arsenal manager to say its good perfomance i wounder,the poor forwad,poor sharpness it will cost wenger in this season.

  4. Im not sure on this so am open to being corrected but German football joined FIFA in 1904 and some clubs were founded in that year hence the 04. However I did enjoy the articles explanation.
    Is it just me or do we Arsenal fans swallow bad refereeing decisions without resistance these days? A bit of transparency from UEFA on how it will deal with this ref wouldn’t go amiss.

  5. Mmm, getting a point at Schalke is a good point. but who am I of course. the same people that predicted that we would lose with a big score before the game now again not happy with drawing this game… Oh well we know some will never be happy and will only moan and moan.

    I think this Schalke team is a very strong team.

  6. No no no Adam. You have to blame Wenger. 😉
    The stopping play when Podolski had a great chance was the most amazing decision I have seen in a very very very long time. But hey lets just blame Wenger

  7. Thanks Walter,I was very much pleased with our performance and wondered why the Prof never did that @oldtoilet.last season or so we lost our entire left back but we improvised and managed to stand firm. Why on earth don’t we tinker where necessary especially while playing manure. All in all, i thank the Arsenal for not losing a second game because after manure our form always is a concern.Keep the spirit and lets fight on.

  8. Come on rupert, that is the most crap link ever on the internet. 😉
    A guy just adding up numbers to come to the total. the only correct number in that article is the total wage bill. For the rest it is guessing.
    When some pointed at the numbers not adding up he had to find silly excuses to why it didn’t add up.
    But if you believe that guy, please just go and cheer him on.

    He only gave me a good laugh

  9. Rupert, I followed the link and must say I would love for my name to appear in that wages list, But will have to make do with my meagre rationings.
    It amazes me that people complain about wages being wasted yet don’t see that all the players in the top half of that list get paid too much?
    Lets hope they all pay 50% income tax, but I seriously doubt that.
    50% income tax across the premier league would go along way to helping the NHS out or revamping the education system in this country, However the likes of yourself do not see that?
    Or do you?

  10. Oh and Rupert the other links within that site British Armed Forces and Barclays Bank, two institutions with glowing reputations. The site seems to favour a certain mind set that im firmly against.

  11. Adam, tell me any institutions that have glowing reputations? And yes I’d love to see vast amount of tax being spent on the NHS and education. Certainly with you on that one.

    You don’t have to believe anything Walter. If you wish to rubbish the guy’s conclusions that’s fine. I don’t think he’s way off the mark with a lot of wasted money though on average players.

    Please go ahead and publish the correct wages. Then we can debate over the facts.

  12. Rupert have a quick look at last seasons so called wages list he made apparently Theo has taken a £10k pay cut between 2010 & 2011 seasons no wonder he wants to leave !!!

    A huge pinch of salt is needed with these figures

  13. No rupert you link to him and present his “estimations’ as something worth reading. I don’t have a clue but I don’t start “estimating” and then drawing conclusions from my estimations.

    Nobody knows the exact wages apart from the person who pays them. And considering it a waste or not can be different for each person.

  14. And there are plenty of people who have disagreed with him as you’ll see by the comments underneath his piece. Did I say I agreed with all his conclusions? No, I just said it was another way of perceiving things. I imagine the truth lies somewhere between your stance Walter and his. But who knows?

  15. Of course it’s very subjective when it comes to which players are a waste of good money.

    Results on the pitch are the best way of settling these debates.

    So let’s hope we win every game until the end of May and then any wage will be justified as far as I’m concerned.

  16. Regarding the wage bill and how money is ‘wasted’ on ‘average’ players.. Wastages happen at every club, and are largely unavoidable. In fact, zero wastage, which would be a case of perfect efficiency, is actually imperfect and undesirable.

    For example, for loan approvals in a bank, if the loan recovery record is 100%, it is considered a bad job, because though every customer returns their loan (a good thing), the bank is potentially missing out on many more customers, some of whom may not turn out to be assets, but many of whom will.

    If we become completely focused on only preventing wastage, every player we have might be worth exactly what they get, but we will lose out on many signings that we might need, simply because we’re too concerned with some signing not working out. (for which there could be myriad of reasons ranging from injuries, to loss of form, lack of player’s ability to fit in the team/nation’s culture)

    And the equitable wage culture at Arsenal, though it faces a lot of attack, does have some evidence to support the notion that a team plays better under those circumstances. I also think the equitable part of our wage bill has been exaggerated to some extent.

    We do/did overpay the players based on potential rather than past achievements (which to some extent is what every contract does) but the alternative was to have them on wages by which they might be tempted to move elsewhere. Though we could potentially have had one or two superstar players, the rest of the supporting cast would be liable to move. And superstars need a supporting cast too. Better to overpay @ 60k, than pay 200k and not have anyone else decent left.

    With the age profile of our signings changing, I think this aspect will also change, albeit gradually.


    Rupert this link is a bit dated but deals with brand financing it shows a decline for Arsenal and gives the reasons, However with a decline and the position we find ourselves in today we are still well placed.
    We are placed fith in the world but we have vaste room for improvement, something to be positive about and not look at the negative.
    Arsenal are a work in progress and we need patience.

  18. Yes reading that was a bit bleak. The question is how much patience do we need? Exactly when do we become an unattractive brand?

    We do have lots of room for improvement as you say but do you think that we’re addressing that?

    A lot depends on this season because it looks like the most difficult year for us to actually achieve anything.

  19. The figures of that link on the wages are not correct. How could they be because I don’t see my name in the wages nor Tony his name. And as is told by the AAA we are getting paid by Arsenal for running Untold. So where are we? 😉 🙂

    Of course he could add us now and start recalculating…
    How much money do we actually earn Tony? help that guy a bit 🙂

  20. A few very strange decisions by the ref…again….
    A satisfactory result, some positives and some negatives in the performance. But in effect, we are building a new team so it is not going to all come into place over night.
    Theo was a bit patchy, but he is a threat, and keeps defenders busy and worried. I really would like to see him signed up….assuming he has not already decided to go elsewhere.
    Jack is on his way back, and ran himself into the ground yesterday.
    Vermaelen concerns me a bit, I have been wondering if he is still carrying something.. but he was played out of position at a time when his form is not yet the best, one for the team.
    Finally, well played our keeper!

  21. Mandy Dodd, the Guardian mbm made it sound as if Coq should have been awarded a penalty near the end of the match for being “barged” in the box. I didn’t see the match–can you comment?

    As regards Vermaelen, I did see the highlights, and it looked like he forgot he was playing out left instead of in the center. He tucked in, like a centerback, leaving Farfan wide open for an easy header. Changing position is tough.

  22. BTW, if Wenger had done what Bobby Manc did, he would have gotten a season long ban or something…originally just for the first two matches, but then extended for having watched from the telly in the hotel room.

  23. Rupert you missed the point I was trying to make, If Arsenal are in the sh*t as many would have us believe, then still being a top ten world brand looks positive for when we can introduce new commercial deals and maybe change our wage structure, If you think Arsenal are not planning ahead you really need a re-think.
    You have to play the long game.
    A lot of things are changing in football and you have to be patient, One thing the media have not picked up on, is the movement of players out of English football, we exported more footballers that we imported last year.
    Have a look at this link. Its to do with how much clubs have paid agents not players paying agents thats confidential.
    Look especially at West Ham. You may get an idea of how much money is in football.
    Football in England is massive more people watch the Championship than some top flight European leagues.

  24. Walter, as the game wore on, i thought AW would introduce a substitute (Arshavin) for Carzola but surprisingly he did not; any idea what could have been the motive behind. also, i was watching with Manure supporters and they believed AFC were lucky not to concede penalty when one of our players fell and the ball hit his hand. what do you make of that – ball to hand vs hand to ball???

  25. El Gringo

    I too thought it might have been a penalty for a push on Coquelin. But there was no replay.

  26. Being in the stadium you could see how well each player was joining in defending the lead. It was great to see and I think this goes for all 11 players on the field.
    I also found it a bit strange that he didn’t bring on subs earlier. But I think it was because of the shape being rather good of the team that he didn’t do it earlier on. Now it was an attempt to break up Schalke. And I think Schalke also was running on empty after their equaliser.
    Both teams gave a lot in this game.

  27. I also would want to add that people who say: we gave up a 2-0 lead are correct.
    But they also were the ones that predicted we would not even score in this game.

    But as Tony said: if you want to moan, no one can stop you from moaning.

  28. There is no pleasing some people.How many times do you hear the words RESULTS BUSINESS.That is what is about.A good result after Saturday,we dug in after they scored the second.I do believe we look shaky at the back, and if i am honest i am waiting for us to be tonked!.I enjoy the wait.

  29. Did see what looked like a barge El Gringo, but have not seen a replay so cannot really comment. But in general, seemed like a lot of decisions went against us including the moronic call regarding Poldi

  30. Seen the yellow card from Podolski back.
    The ref really made a terrible mess of this. He never should have stopped play at that point in the game for what was clearly a not that serious injury. And I think 5 seconds later he realised what a mistake he had made and you can see on the igames that he kind of apologised towards Podolski. Not that is helped Arsenal in any way but I think he knew all to.o well that he made a bad decision. A bad decision costing Arsenal a goal scoring chance and even possibly a goal. And at that moment the score was 1-2 for Arsenal.
    But it will be the fault of Wenger of course

  31. A very mixed performance, some excellent moments and some shockers, the number of weak clearances from our box which gave possession straight back to Schalke……. also concern at how many times our players lost their footing… notably Cazorla for their first goal. Whilst the defence generally did OK, I can’t help being concerned at zonal marking at corners.. we always seem vulnerable as the defenders are too static, whilst forwards can run and jump to meet the ball…. I am sure that Steve Bould knows more than I do, but I do wonder about this tactic

  32. John,

    Statistically speaking, less goals are conceded from corners with zonal marking as compared to man-to-man.

    Martin Keown was once on TV saying that in his playing days, they too played zonal marking, and was going to elaborate, before the commentator (Ray Stubbs as I recall) cut him off to ask him which division would the NY Red Bulls play in if they played in England (since Arsenal had just drawn with them-implication being Arsenal are so bad they can’t even beat the equivalent of a league 1 team)

    You can clearly see the mindlessness of pundits on TV from that example alone, by what was deemed worthy of discussion. Don’t believe the pundits incessant annoyance with the zonal marking system. It works.

  33. A player receives a straight red for stopping (illegally) a goal scoring opportunity. What of a ref?
    This is what I meant in an earlier post about transparency from UEFA. How do we find out if a referee has been reprimanded?

  34. Seconds after that I said to a few fellow Gooners in the stand that this could cost Wenger another ban….

  35. @Walter

    A well balanced and enjoyable report. I thought our team performed well overall and while many would have settled for a draw before the match started, we were very close to winning the game in the final stages.

    I cannot understand why our players seemed to slip and fall so often – is there a problem with the boots/studs?

    Also, on at least two occasions a Schalke player seemed to block off an Arsenal player, just off the ball – a bit like a block in American football – did you notice this and if so have you any comments?

  36. Why no charge for Mancini’s very public confrontation with the ref? Our manager only has to say “excuse me, ref” and its a 2 match touchline ban

  37. bjtgooner,
    you are right I also saw it on a few occasions. Huntelaar on Koscielny was such a moment in the first half

  38. @Walter

    Thanks for confirming this, when it happened more than once I began to wonder if it was a deliberate tactic.

  39. Enjoyable account Walter.
    When I next speak to a German friend of mine, I will tell him how you scored Dortmund and Schalke.
    He is a Dortmund fan so it will be music to his ears.
    He wanted us to batter Schalke so I’m only sorry we couldn’t oblige him.

  40. gats….what does that acronym stand for? Gross asshole trolling sites? Groaner against true soccer? your comments have been flushed down the loo so they’ll end up at LeGrove, who seem to have let you out for some fresh air BUT its time to return to the sewers at LeGrove and moan away with your kindred spirits.

  41. @ Adam, no I did get your point but I wonder if we’re not harming our “brand” by selling our best players every season?
    I hate that word “brand” by the way, we’re not a bar of chocolate, we’re a football club. I don’t support a “brand”.

    I hardly think Arsenal are in the elephant’s excreta but we seem to be forever repeating the same mistakes. It seems to be one extreme with supporters, either you’re in thrall to Wenger and all his works or if you’re not you’re some sort of traitor and receive radical treatment.

    I do have issues with a manager who says fourth is like winning a trophy, I mean when did Wenger’s standards become so low. Would the Wenger of 1999 say such nonsense?

    Equally daft is his comment about we only buy super quality. I may not have worked a day in football but I can tell the difference between a Gervinho and a Mata.

    @ Walter, what is this AAA? The Arsenal Automobile Association. I know Wenger’s talked about playing with the handbrake on so are we opening a car dealership as another way of making money?

    Walter, I’ve no idea whether you’re being paid by the club or not. Never really thought about it but if your making a bit of extra money in these hard times, congratulations.

  42. I sure could use it rupert. But then again who doesn’t in these days 😉

    I think on the main page there is a link to the explanation of the AAA

  43. And of course the standards have changed since 1999. In 1999 you could win the league with a good team and a good manager. Now you can only win the league with a team build with an enormous amount of money (City-Chelsea-Utd way)or a team filled with good referees (United way).

    Yes since 1999 football has changed….

  44. True, football has changed, and Arsenal have been a little left behind.

    The CL is a big fat blubbery boil of tepid pus. Purely a money-making exercise. The name of the competition itself is a misnomer. It should be for champions only, then we’d get a much more competitive league. But hey that would spoil it for all the parasites who feed on the putrid corpse of modern football.

  45. Rupert. Arsenal don’t shop for footballers with the same backing as other clubs, They wont pay the wages some clubs can. I believe Arsenal are waiting for the prices and wages to come down to a more sensible level. No point signing a Mata type player last year when in 2/3 years time we can get two players of similar quality for the same price we would have paid last year (for Mata).
    The problem Arsenal have is we bring in rough diamonds polish them up, then other clubs along with agents/solicitors inform their clients of what they can earn elsewhere via false income in to the game. Another thing to remember is we do have a manager that most top sides would want and have tried to get, so when Arsene signs a player he must be good so other clubs will naturally be interested.
    I have been looking at Arsenals finances (Im no expert) but there are certain issues I cannot work out, The excess cash £150 million for one, Is this for wages for the coming season or to cover operating costs or just a surplus?
    Plus whether you like it or not Arsenal are of world wide interest therefore are a brand. Who would have thought it back in the 80s BORING BORING ARSENAL.

  46. Adam, I think waiting for players wages to come down is rather desperate. There’s no guarantee.

    As for excess cash, there are conflicting reports. Some say we have over 100 million to spend on players should we need to, others around 80 million and Gazidis says 35 million. I guess Wenger will have the latter to utilize in January.

    Sure we’re a “brand” but as I said before we’re losing our attractiveness to more exciting “brands”. That has to be a concern.

    Can we have SCORING SCORING ARSENAL please.

  47. Quick note to say

    I stayed in Bochum, won the drinking contest before and after the game, enjoyed the stadium, I felt the Schalke fans were really hospitable, i travelled to the game by train from Bochum with fellow Gooners and they (Schalke fans) were really keen to talk to us. Inside the stadium the Stewards were an example on how to do the job, they were relaxed and humerous.

    The fun started on the way home when driving through Belguim (i was not driving) but i did manage to fill my diesel car with Petrol. i was still pissed not having gone to bed till 6.00 am and having drunk the town dry.

    The whole of Belguim i felt did all they could to make sure we got home, including our bearded friend (thanks Walter)which we did at 01.30 on Thursday morning.

    The game was a Blur, but i know we battled hard against a decent side, and so wish Theo had scored that late chance.

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