Arsenal 0 FC Schalke 2

Arsenal’s sixteen game unbeaten Champions League group stage run at the Emirates lay in tatters after FC Schalke struck two unanswered goals from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Ibrahim Afellay. All talk of a bounce back after the shock loss at Carrow Road at the week end proved to be hot air, as the ice cool German side out passed the Gunners in a way that Arsene Wenger would want to see his side do to the opposition. The Arsenal manager served the final game of his three match European ban, just as we’ll really, as from the Directors box, he would have been best placed to see the wholly abject performance that unfolded in front of him. Arsenal had lost only twice in their last 45 Champions League home games, but Schalke exposed what Arsenal fans had feared. There are wholesale on field issues which Wenger needs to address, and these were ruthlessly exposed by their Bundesliga visitors.

Schalke started the better and roared on by their travelling support took to probing the Arsenal rearguard.In the absence of Kieran Gibbs, Andre Santos has been at left back. The Brazil defender suffered a tortuous evening primarily at the hands of the pacey Jefferson Farfan. The Peruvian had the beating of Santos at every turn, and no surprises then that this proved to be the profitable outlet for Hub Stevens side.

A lack of ideas, creativity and understanding in the loss to Norwich last weekend was almost mirrored at the Emirates. Gervinho can infuriate and delight in almost equal measure, and trusted to lead the attack, the Ivoriam could only deliver the former. Olivier Giroud was left on the bench, when perhaps his direct style would have benefited the Gunners, yet still, Lukas Podolski, Aaron Ramsey and surprisingly, Santi Cazorla laboured to create any real threat on Lars Unnerstall’s goal.

Huntelaar is a quality striker and has netted in Europe’s top leagues. His first opportunity of note however was squandered after Santos was exposed by Farfan, but the Holland striker was still to have his say. Out manoeuvred and at times it seemed out numbered, Arsenal saw little in attack, and aside from some robust defending from Per Mertersacker, one wondered if the international break had done more damage on the Arsenal momentum than first feared. Assistant coach Steve Bould was to concede later that he would have been delighted with a 0-0. Schalke were in not such generous mood.

Benedikt Howedes hit over from close range, but Vito Mannone was soon picking the ball out of his net. Fourteen minutes from time, Huntelaar found himself onside and with only Mannone in his sights, he found the target. It was to get worse for the Gunners on 86 minutes. Farfan raced past Santos, and hit a cross of precision that the grateful Affellay tapped into the empty net. A poor night for Arsenal, and Wenger knows that urgent action has to be taken to arrest this current malaise