In fine form following a 6-0 demolition of RC Lens in the UEFA Champions League, league-leaders Arsenal faced Wolves at the Emirates Stadium. For the hosts, the match would be an opportunity to extend their newly found gap at the top. The visitors, meanwhile, looked to bounce back from a tortuous late defeat to Fulham and build on what has been a very impressive start to the 2023/24 season so far.
ARS: Raya; Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Rice, Odegaard, Trossard; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli
WOL: Sa; Dawson, Kilman, Gomes; Semedo, Bellegarde, Traore, Doyle, Bueno; Hwang, Cunha
The Gunners got off to a perfect start, with their starboy Bukayo Saka finding the net just six minutes in. It was brilliant pass-and-go play down the right-hand side, with Gabriel Jesus finding Takehiro Tomiyasu who set up the Englishman for his fifth Premier League goal of the season.Embed from Getty Images
The pressure was relentless, and Arsenal were soon to find their second of the match. Oleksandr Zinchenko and Jesus created the opening with a clever one-two, before the Ukrainian spotted Martin Odegaard in the box, who fired the ball into the far corner with a fabulous goal to double the hosts’ lead.
Things went from bad to worse for Wolves, with Jose Sa forced off through injury in the 22nd minute – with the shotstopper replaced by ex-Southend, Brentford, and Bristol City ‘keeper Dan Bentley.
With the visitors finally finding their footing in the match, opportunities arose for Arsenal on the counter, with one well-worked transition seeing an effort from Gabriel Martinelli hit the post.
Not long into the second half, Matheus Cunha gave David Raya his first real test of the afternoon, but his effort was equally matched by the Spaniard.
With Arsenal in full control of the match, Wolves were the ones who needed something to happen, and they found their breakthrough. A mistake from Zinchenko set up Cunha, who made no mistake, nestling a powerful strike into the top corner to give his side belief as the game entered the final stages.Embed from Getty Images
Arsenal came very close to meeting the visitors with an instant response when substitute Eddie Nketiah found himself one-on-one with Bentley, but his attempt was Arsenal’s second to hit the woodwork.
The pressure from Gary O’Neil’s side grew stronger, and the Emirates crowd grew more and more apprehensive. Wolves pushed for that all-important equaliser, but Mikel Arteta’s defence remained resolute.
Despite the late scare, it was a controlled and mature performance from Arsenal, who demonstrated so much quality throughout. The result sees the Gunners gain a four-point lead at the top of the Premier League, with Manchester City yet to play a big match against Tottenham this weekend. As for Wolves, an opportunity to climb to 11th has been lost.