Schalke fought back from a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Tuesday and stay top of Group B in the Champions League. Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud scored inside the first 30 minutes to put Arsenal ahead. But a goal from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in first-half injury time and another from Jefferson Farfan after the break completed the comeback by the German club. The Gunners overcame a slow start to go 2-0 up through Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud only for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to pull one back on the stroke of half-time. Jefferson Farfan fired in at the far post in the second half to level and Arsenal held on for the point.
“At 2-0 you have not won the game and with the physical quality of the German team it isn't over, they have a lot of quality and they never give up, so overall I never felt that the game was over even at 2-0,” Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger said. The draw left Schalke with eight points after four matches, one ahead of Arsenal. Olympiakos has six points after winning 3-1 against Montpellier, which has one. “To get a 2-2 after 0-2 speaks for our team,” Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby said. “We showed our morale. But we could have lost at the end.”
Arsene Wenger criticised referee Nicola Rizzoli after his side lost a two-goal lead to Schalke. The Arsenal manager felt Ibrahim Afellay had fouled Theo Walcott in the build-up to the Germans' first goal and were denied a clear chance when the Italian official blew instead of playing on, with Marco Hoger falling as Lukas Podolski was clear on goal. Walcott added: 'It was a good point in the end. It would have been a fantastic victory, but Schalke are a tough side. We are just trying to win our last couple of games and that is all you can do. I just want to play - hopefully now I can get a run in the team because I feel I fully deserve it.'
Arsenal had Mannone to thank in the 51st minute when he thwarted Huntelaar in a one-on-one after Neustadter's through-pass. Schalke were throwing everything at Arsenal and had an appeal for a penalty turned down after Per Mertesacker looked to have handled in the box. But the Germans deservedly dragged themselves level in the 66th minute when Farfan fired home from close range, via a Thomas Vermaelen deflection, as Arsenal failed to clear Afellay's cross. Huntelaar, Farfan and Jermaine Jones missed decent chances to give the hosts the lead their dominance warranted. And the Germans' wastefulness in front of goal was nearly punished with the final kick of the game. But it was Walcott who fluffed his lines after capitalising on defensive uncertainty as, with only Unnerstall to beat, he shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Schalke: Unnerstall, Uchida (Hoger 25), Howedes, Matip, Fuchs, Jones, Neustadter, Farfan, Holtby (Barnetta 90), Afellay, Huntelaar, Hoger (Papadopoulos 66).
Subs Not Used: Hildebrand, Moritz, Draxler, Kolasinac.
Arsenal: Mannone, Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Arteta, Wilshere, Walcott, Cazorla (Coquelin 90), Podolski (Andre Santos 90), Giroud.
Subs Not Used: Shea, Djourou, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Chamakh.
Goals: Walcott 18, Giroud 26, Huntelaar 45, Farfan 67.
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy).
Booked: Matip, Fuchs, Jones, Cazorla, Podolski.