- Arsenal travel to Molineux for the first time this season. Last time the two sides met, Wolves beat Arsenal 2-1, during Arsenal’s short term recession.
Arsenal would seek for revenge this time, and would look to make the game similar to the result last season, where Arsenal won 2-0.
Wolves have struggled for points this season, so Arsenal would be hot favourites for the fixture.
Wolves however are notorious for big games, so we can’t write them off.
New signing Willian Jose comes in, among a very attacking lineup consisting of Neto, Podence & Adama.
Key player Saka is back, in for Martinelli – with captain Aubameyang back on the bench.
Arsenal started off very brightly. A top ball from Partey saw Saka in behind inside 35 seconds, however his effort cannoned off the post. Very unlucky!
The domination continued on the right hand side, with Partey constantly feeding Saka & Bellerin, to get in behind.
A great pass left Saka with an exquisite finish, to make it 1-0.. at least he thought. The goal was ruled off due to an offside in the buildup from Lacazette. Fair decision.
The domination continued, as Wolves were slow to get going and were incredibly passive. This isn’t a good combination partnered with playing a high line.
Partey’s forward ball playing abilities partnered with Wolves press meant for a really tough first 25 minutes for them.
Pepe had a great strike equalled to by Patricio, impressively after some good linkup with Smith Rowe.
They had a few chances of their own however, mainly from counters and set pieces – most notably Boly heading just over and a Semedo long range effort.
Just after the 30th minute mark, the Gunners took the lead, deservedly so.
High press from Pepe won the ball back, playing a 1 2 with Lacazette, nutmegging and using his strength to bypass Semedo, nutmegging Neves and bending the ball effortlessly into the top corner! A goal of the month style goal at the very least.
Wolves had a decent spell towards the end of the half, testing Arsenal’s defence with constant crosses.
In particular Arsenal fashion, everything couldn’t continue going so positively.
Just when you expect the whistle to be blown for half time, Podence plays a great ball to Willian Jose.
Seemed to be 1 on 1 with Leno, Willian Jose went down theatrically after very minimal contact from Luiz.
As it was last man and a denial of a goal scoring opportunity, Luiz was sent off and Neves converted the pen.
Unexpected stuff upon a half of Arsenal dominance after the game should’ve been put to bed.
The decision is particularly controversial and daft, due to the lack of contact, but Luiz’s track record suggests maybe it wasn’t so innocent.
I initially felt it was the right call, but after seeing it time and time again, I struggle to see the deliberate contact, and seems lucky to be a penalty let alone a red card.
The 50 50 decisions continue to go against Arsenal, most notably in the first half where Wolves got the benefit of the doubt on most decisions.
Lacazette was subbed off for Gabriel, having to balance the side.
2 minutes later, a wonder goal from Joao Moutinho who’s never scored at Molineux left Arsenal with a mountain to climb.
A superb strike from the Portuguese which could be crucial for their season, firing from range into the top corner. No chance for Leno,
The game situation left Wolves with their tails up, with Pedro Neto a constant threat, driving at the defence along with Adama.
Arsenal couldn’t really get an attack going, with Wolves rejuvenated.
Returning man Aubameyang came on for the inform Pepe, in hope of getting back into the game.
Fancy another calamity?
A long ball found Adama and Leno going for the same ball, where Leno punched the ball out of play.
A truly idiotic decision left Craig Pawson with no decision but to send the German off – very uncanny as things went bad to worse for the visitors.
Runarsson who hasn’t exactly hit the ground running came on, as Ryan wasn’t fit.
A few saves from Runarsson kept the score 1 a drift, however Arsenal never looked like scoring.
Wolves played out the game as expected, with Pedro Neto the star man.
What looked so promising, ended so bleak.
You are unlikely to see such a game like that, unbelievable and hard to structure.
Man of the match:
From a Wolves perspective it could be any. Very impressive performance which is much needed, even with the circumstances.
Joao Moutinho had a great game, after struggling as of recent.
Pulling the strings in the midfield, a wonder strike and a controlling performance.
Pedro Neto the other main candidate – driving at Arsenal constantly along with Adama, very direct, intelligent and hard to stop – my MOTM.
From an Arsenal stand point it’s Saka, Partey, Pepe, Xhaka as the standout players.
Devastating for Pepe after the goal he scored to not be decisive, Partey had a phenomenal first half with his forward thinking passes.
Xhaka very good as usual, with Saka making some brilliant runs & defensive contributions to defend against neto.
Generally a great 45 minutes from all.. until the madness kicked in.
Player ratings (mainly judged from the first half);
Leno – N/A
Bellerin – 6.5
Holding – 7
Luiz – N/A
Cedric – 6.5
Partey – 8
Xhaka – 7
Pepe – 8
Smith Rowe – 7
Saka – 8
Lacazette – 7
Runarsson – 7
Gabriel – 7
Aubameyang – 5/ N/A
What next for Arsenal?
After a largely controversial decision was fatal, Arsenal travel to Villa Park, where they face an inform Villa side.
With no Leno and Ryan likely to not be fit, it’ll be an even tougher ask for the gunners.
Arsenal have been playing very well recently, so hopefully this momentum doesn’t stop after such a strange evening – and we can kick back on.
The game is this Saturday at 12:30am on BT Sports, where we find out how Arsenal can recover from the loss.