In the end, the result here was of little consequence to Arsenal, but there was no end to the European travel sickness for Arsène Wenger's side, who were overturned by a spirited Schalke in Gelsenkirchen. The defeat leaves Arsenal still looking for their first point away from home in Europe since February.
The home side's delight at victory was swiftly negated by news of Real Mallorca's home win over Panathinaikos, however, which was enough to secure the Spanish club third place in Group C and Uefa Cup qualification at Schalke's expense.
While Arsenal's advancement to the next phase is already confirmed, Wenger who declared himself "very pleased" with his side's performance despite the result must have seen some cause for concern in a display which saw Oleg Luzhny sent off after 16 minutes and resulted in the central defensive partnership of Sol Campbell and Matthew Upson having to be hauled off after an hour.
"It was easy for them," admitted Ray Parlour, Arsenal's captain for the night. "If we want to get to the quarter-finals again we have to improve on our away record."
Arsenal, without Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Giovanni van Bronckhorst, were a goal down inside two minutes. Luzhny and Campbell failed to clear and Ebbe Sand turned the ball across the six-yard box for Youri Mulder to tap in.
It should have got worse for Arsenal when Ashley Cole lost possession 10 yards outside the penalty area and Andreas Möller ran on to provide unmarked Sand with a golden chance which he blasted wide. Luzhny's dismissal came in the 16th minute. The Ukrainian appeared to swing an elbow as he tangled with Jorg Bohme, then pushed his opponent to the floor. The Polish referee, Ryszard Wojcik, produced a yellow card for the Dortmund man, then brandished red at Luzhny.
Arsenal's best chance of the half came from Pires, who curled a superb effort towards the far top corner only for Oliver Reck to make a fine save.
It was just before the hour mark that Schalke were able to to press home their numerical advantage with another goal. Mulder let Matellan's cross run on to set up a sweeping drive by Sven Vermant, which flashed past Wright.
Schalke made it 3-0 in the 64th minute when Pires and Sylvain Wiltord bungled a free-kick for a foul on Kanu and Sand led a lightning breakaway before switching the ball across to Arsenal's exposed left flank where Möller swept home.
Wenger responded by hauling off Upson and Campbell, replacing them with Igors Stepanovs and Martin Keown. Wiltord struck a consolation goal but by then it was far too late for the Gunners.
Schalke 04: Reck; Matellan, Hajto, Waldoch, Van Hoogdalem (Kmetsch, 64), Vermant (Djordjevic, 74), Nemec (Thon, 67), Mulder, Bohme, Moller, Sand. Substitutes not used: Grodas, Buskens, Pinto, Trojan.
Arsenal: Wright; Luzhny, Campbell (Keown, 67), Upson (Stepanovs, 66), Cole, Parlour, Grimandi, Edu, Pires, Kanu (Pennant, 78), Wiltord. Substitutes not used: Taylor, Ljungberg, Inamoto, Aliadiere.
Referee: R Wojcik (Poland).Reuse content