Welcome to Talking Heads.
Before and after every first-team fixture, our MatchDay Show guest and an Arsenal blogger will have their say on the game.
Arsenal took on Schalke in the Champions League on Tuesday and our Talking Heads for this game were Dan Roebuck and Andrew Mangan of Arseblog.
DAN ROEBUCK, COMMENTATOR
In the end this was a good point for Arsène Wenger’s team - but they really could have won the game. In truth, Arsenal were probably fortunate to have gone 2-0 up but Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s goal on the stroke of half time completely changed the match. His strike gave the home side hope and momentum, which they took into the second period.
When Jefferson Farfan levelled midway through the second half, it looked like Schalke were going to go on and win the game. They ran out of steam late on though, and were almost punished when Theo Walcott was denied at the death. I think both sides would have taken the draw before the game but, with Olympiacos winning, Arsenal’s next game, at home to Montpellier, has become all the more crucial.
It’s important that Arsenal return to their early-October form after what has been a largely disappointing few weeks. Following last week’s remarkable comeback against Reading, it was surprising to see Wenger’s team so flat at Old Trafford. In truth, the scoreline flattered them. Manchester United were not at their best - but didn’t need to be because of the goals gifted to them by both individual and collective errors in the Arsenal defence.
It will be tough for Arsenal in Gelsenkirchen. We saw what a fantastic atmosphere the Schalke fans created at the Emirates, while on the pitch Huub Stevens' team were patient and solid at the back. In Klaas Jan Huntelaar, they have one of the best finishers in world football. They’ve lost since then though, defeated late on by Hoffenheim on Saturday. A draw would probably suit both sides and I can see this finishing 1-1.
ANDREW MANGAN, ARSEBLOG
In the end I think this was a good point for Arsenal. Despite being 2-0 up and letting them back into it, when you look at the game overall it's an important draw, especially in light of the Olympiacos result.
The positives include a good combination between Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud for the second goal, and Theo Walcott's alertness for the first. It was only to be expected that Schalke would put us under pressure in the second half having scored so close to half-time, so credit has to go to Vito Mannone for a number of very good saves. Although on the night it was disappointing to let a two-goal lead slip, especially when you consider the manner of both goals, I think this is a result we'll look back on as a good one provided we do the necessary against Montpellier in our next Champions League game.
We don't go into this game with a great deal of confidence after Saturday's Old Trafford defeat, but it's interesting to hear the manager talk about how we need to focus on the attacking side of our game. I think most Arsenal fans are somewhat used to us not being as solid defensively as we'd like, but creating chances (whether we take them or not is another thing) has never really been a problem. The last few weeks have seen us struggle in that department so tonight would be a good night to rediscover some form.
With players like Arteta, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud and, if fit, Walcott, there's enough quality and experience there to pull us through but it will take a big effort to get over the poor performance last weekend. Having been deservedly beaten in the home game against Schalke, you'd also hope the team want a measure of revenge for that and any positive result will be important in a group which is very tight. It's going to be tough, no question, and we're just a bit too inconsistent at the moment to make any kind of prediction, although I'm hopeful of getting a draw at least.
* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband LtdCopyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 6 Nov 2012