Hello world! Historical statistics don't prove anything, of course, but Arsenal's record at home to German opposition: P11 W9 D1 L1, ending with six wins on the spin; Schalke's record away at English opposition: P5 W0 D1 L4, that draw coming in their first visit, to Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1958, since when they've lost every game by an aggregate scoreline of 14-4. Inauspicious doesn't even begin to sum that up, from a Schalke perspective.
Team news, then, and midfielder Francis Coquelin replaces Olivier Giroud in Arsenal's starting XI, while Schalke stick with the side that won at the German champions, Borussia Dortmund, at the weekend.
So, those teams then:
Arsenal: Mannone; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, André Santos; Ramsey, Coquelin, Arteta, Podolski; Cazorla; Gervinho. Subs: Shea, Koscielny, Giroud, Djourou, Arshavin, Chamakh, Gnabry.
Schalke: Unnerstall; Uchida, Höwedes, Matip, Fuchs; Höger, Neustäcker, Holtby, Afellay; Farfán, Huntelaar. Subs: Hildebrand, Marica, Jones, Barnetta, Moritz, Draxler, Kolasinac.
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden).
Now, I'm off for some grub. Back at 19.25 BST. Bye!
Kick-off swiftly approaching. Apropos nothing very much, I took my children (five and three-and-a-half) to their first ever football match last weekend. Three and a half is too young to watch a full game of football, I think, let alone a boring goalless one. Anyway, we survived for 87 minutes, most of it spent shoving snacks down his yawning gob rather than actually following the action, before giving up. Cue an inevitably last-minute winner for the home team, inevitably. Bah!
The players are in the tunnel. Wenger is in the stands. He's still banned.
We watch, and hear, the referee, Jonas Eriksson, conduct the coin toss. There is no head, and no tail – the choice is between blue and yellow. That's not a coin – he's tossing with an unusually colourful Othello piece.
1 min: Peeeeeep! We're off!
3 min: Incredibly annoyingly, the screen I'm looking at isn't wide enough to see Sky's clock. I've now started my own stopwatch, but when I say three minutes, it could actually be four. Sorry.
4 mins: Anyway, Lewis Holtby just produced rather a nice turn to evade a couple of marauding Arsenalmen. Didn't lead to much, but thought it was worth a mention.
7 mins: Still sparring – neither side has bothered their opponent's penalty area yet. Schalke winning the fans' noise battle, though.
9 mins: Cazorla slides the ball to Podolski, skimming down the left flank. His low cross is a decent one, but Gervinho meets it before the near post, which means it would take a bit of skill and guile to guide the ball goalwards. So he pokes it wide.
11 mins: Arsenal have had 75% of the possession so far. Schalke went to Borussia Dortmund at the weekend, scored three and might have had twice that – surely they didn't use these tactics then?
13 mins: To be fair, Schalke are getting plenty of people forward when they get the ball. They're just not finding them.
14 mins: Farfan pokes the ball into the penalty area, but too far ahead of Afellay. Jenkinson, though, decides to stop running, Mannone sprints out to make good his mess, Afellay gets to the ball first and then falls over Mannone's arms. The referee books the forward, but it could very easily have been a penalty.
15 mins: Now Farfán comes inside from the right wing, and beats Vermaelen as the Belgian slides in with an attempted tackle. The forward falls over, but there was little or, more likely, no contact. This time Vermaelen is booked.
17 mins: Since Schalke stopped not attacking, they haven't stopped attacking. The latest push forward ended with Uchida being given offside.
18 mins: Another low cross from the left from Podolski, but this one runs behind Ramsey and away from danger. Watchable stuff, this.
23 mins: Cazorla picks a German pocket in midfield and pushes the ball to Gervinho to his right. The forward messes up the return ball, and the chance is lost.
24 mins: A lovely pass from Cazorla finds Gervinho running clear, this time to the left of the penalty area. He cuts inside, hurdles one challenge, and then runs straight into the next defender and falls over.
27 mins: Arteta finds Cazorla, who turns, runs 10 yards and then shoots, from 30 yards out. The ball deflects wide.
28 mins: Did you know that Lewis Holtby could have played for England – his father is called Christopher and comes from Liverpool? Of course you did: the commentators mention it every 8.3 seconds.
30 mins: A lovely interception from Vermaelen, timing his rush forwards perfectly. He then overhits his pass to Gervinho by about 50 yards – the striker was on the half-way line; the ball takes one bounce before landing in Unnerstall's hands.
32 mins: More eye-catching defending from Arsenal. This time the ball is pulled back to Farfán, who cleverly cuts inside the first defender to set himself up for a shot – which cannons into Mertesacker, who has fair flung himself at it, and away to safety.
35 mins: Arsenal's Cazorla/Coquelin/Arteta central midfielder trio is pretty strong. If only they had a half-decent attacker to aim at.
36 mins: Schalke attack again down the right – where they have concentrated the vast majority of their forward forays – but Huntelaar is offside by the time they get round to crossing the ball.
39 mins: André Santos, sick of chasing after Farfán, decides to do some attacking of his own. He gets into the penalty area and it all looks quite promising until he kicks Uchida's calf instead of the ball and it all ends with a free kick.
42 mins: Poor Carl Jenkinson sprints 60 yards to add another man to Arsenal's latest attack. It turns out this is quite fast. He streaks across the screen and is spotted by Gervinho, who pops the ball perfectly into his path, and then he curls his cross over the crossbar and out for a goal kick. All that effort!
43 mins: A lovely ball is played over the Arsenal defence to Uchida – who Santos has just left alone, inexplicably. He slides the ball across to Huntelaar, who slams it wide of the near post. Good chance.
45 mins: Peeeeeeep! Not a bad half, but it's been so fast-flowing that the referee has decided that not a single second of stoppage time is required.
Half-time: After an exceedingly quiet first quarter-hour, Schalke have looked the most likely scorers. And they definitely should have had a penalty, Afellay's 14th-minute booking looking absurdly harsh upon further replay-viewage. The key issues are at left-back, where André Santos struggled with Farfán and ignored Uchida, and attack, where Gervinho struggled to look like an attacker. Steve Bould has some work to do at half-time, for sure.
Statistical update: According to @1DavidWall, some chap who works for Opta, "66% of Schalke's play in the Arsenal half has been down the right flank, 20% down the middle and 14% down the left".
46 mins: Peeeeeeeep! They're off! And Schalke have replaced Marco Höger with Jermaine Jones.
48 mins: Chance for Arsenal! Santos's cross ends with Coquelin, who sends it low, back towards the six-yard box. Ramsey, on the near post, attempts a backheel flick which flies straight into a defender. Podolski, standing behind him, looks frustrated. Schalke hare down the other end, and Arteta collects a booking in return for stopping them, and more specifically Afellay.
50 mins: What a chance! Farfán takes the ball past Santos bizarrely easily, and slides a cut-back to Höwedes, three yards inside the penalty area, unmarked and bang central. He spears the ball over the bar.
53 mins: "Arsenal are playing not only with a false No9 but a false left back and right winger too!" writes David Jones. Yes, it's a finely nuanced tactical system, for sure.
57 mins: Arsenal allow Fuchs to carry the ball an awfully long way. Footballers often celebrate being allowed to carry the ball an awfully long way by having a random pot-shot at the end of it, and this one flies straight into Mertesacker and away for a corner, which Höwedes heads into the ground and over the bar.
59 mins: You want goals? Every other game bar one has them, and Ajax have just scored a second against Manchester City to make it 2-1.
61 mins: "Never mind False 9s and all that malarkey," writes Gary Naylor from inside a West End cabaret club, "this season Arsenal are playing with false hopes. Again." A bad sign for Arsenal: Cazorla is sufficiently narked by the way this match is panning out that he just had a bit of a swing at Farfán's ankles. He missed, fortunately.
63 mins: Total shots tonight, from both teams: nine. On target: one.
66 mins: Gervinho attacks on the left wing, quite nicely, but the problem when he crosses is that Arsenal's only striker is him, and he's not there to finish it off. Ramsey is the nearest they've got to the ball, and he's six yards away as it fizzes across the penalty area to safety.
67 mins: Schalke take off Holtby, and bring on Tranquillo Barnetta. Did you know that Holtby's father is English?
69 mins: Manchester City are now 3-1 down at Ajax.
71 mins: Barnetta just had a crossing chance from the right with Arsenal's marking absolutely all over the place in the middle. His cross went over the lot of them.
72 mins: Gervinho takes on Jermaine Jones on the goal-line, inside the penalty area, and goes down. He, like Afellay in the first half, is booked for diving, though this looks like an excellent decision.
75 mins: Schalke work the ball to Farfán in the inside-right channel. He takes the ball towards the goal-line, working a phenomenal crossing position, but then fails to find a teammate. Arsenal prepare to bring on Giroud.
76 mins: Farfán slides another cross past every blue shirt and out for a throw-in. Giroud comes on, replacing Gervinho.
GOAL! Arsenal 0 Schalke 1 (Huntelaar, 77) And that has been coming! For about an hour! Another attack down the right, another poor cross. This fails to clear the first defender, the ball looping towards the middle of the pitch, where not only does a Schalke player win the header, he also nods it 10 yards into the path of an unmarked Huntelaar, bursting into the penalty area, and the Dutchman smacks the ball low and hard past Mannone.
79 mins: Schalke attack again down the right, and again slide a cross across the goalmouth without a striker getting close to it. This time Huntelaar peeled off for the cut-back at precisely the moment the ball was sent to precisely where he would have been standing all alone had he just kept running in a straight line.
81 mins: The last time Arsenal lost a European match at home to continental opposition, it was 2003, they were still at Highbury and they were playing Internazionale.
83 mins: Arsenal make a couple more substitutions, replacing Podolski with Arshavin and Jenkinson with Gnabry, whose first touch takes the mickey out of Afellay, followed by a cross which finds Unnerstall instead of Mertesacker.
GOAL! Arsenal 0 Schalke 2 (Afellay, 85) Finally someone realises that Farfán likes to cross the ball low across the six-yard box, and gets themselves a tap-in. Yet another attack down the right, yet again André Santos is nowhere near Farfán, and it's all too easy as he slides the ball across goal and Afellay arrives at the far post to knock it into a gaping goal.
88 mins: How André Santos has finished this match is beyond me. He's struggled for the large majority of it, has been absolutely run ragged by Farfán or anyone else who's fancies a go. He's not a terrible player, but he's unsuited to these opponents and their tactics, and has been found very badly wanting. He'd be getting 3/10 if I was doing match ratings on this one. Anyway, Schalke have brought Marica on for Huntelaar.
90 mins: Latest score in Montpellier is 1-1. We're into the first of three minutes' stoppage time here.
90+2 mins: Into the last minute of stoppage time, and not many people have stuck around to see it.
90+3 mins: Arsenal have a shot! On target! Gnabry's curler is heading towards the far corner before the goalkeeper flings himself across to make a fairly comfortable but handsome save. That's the home side's first goalbound shot of the night.
90+4 mins: Peeeeeeep! It's all over! Which is just as well, as far as Arsenal are concerned.
Final thoughts: Olympiakos got a late winner in Montpellier and go third in the group, but still three points behind Arsenal with half the group now played out. Arsenal will still be very confident of coming second and progressing, so there's no need to get too despondent. And there are quite a few injuries about, so there are excuses. But after an opening 15 minutes where the home side hogged the ball but had little idea what to do with it, that game just got worse and worse.
I can only assume that André Santos had been told to position himself infield, and either a bit ahead or a bit behind the rest of the back four, but by no means ever alongside them. For that was not the performance of a left-back. There were other issues – Gervinho's lack of goal threat; Ramsey failing to offer an option on the right of midfield, leaving Carl Jenkinson to cover that entire flank on his own – but for the whole game the gaping hole on the left of their defence looked likely to be Arsenal's undoing, yet they stubbornly failed to do anything about it, and that is where both goals came from, and even though the first was eventually created by a header in the middle of the pitch, it was scored by a man who would have been offside had Santos not been standing three yards behind the rest of the defence. His performance was bizarre from first to last, and Arsenal's refusal to do anything about it was ridiculous. If Farfán was as good at crossing as he was at making Santos look like an idiot, Schalke could have scored a hatfull.
All of which would have been less bad had Arsenal offered anything in attack. They did get forward, occasionally, but all of their attacks came from wide areas, most usually the left, and on pretty much no occasion did they have a man in possession wide and a man likely to compete for the cross in the centre, at the same time. The central midfield threesome did nothing terribly wrong, but they were largely watching the match be decided on the flanks.
It was a horrible, depressing night for a club who had been nurturing a proud home record in European competition. They were, frankly, routed. Arsenal have lost at Norwich and at home in five days and are looking shaky; Schalke have won at Dortmund and at the Emirates in the same period and are looking rather impressive. Gut gespielt, jungs, as they say in Germany. According to Google.