Picking a man of the match for Arsenal’s win over Wolves was incredibly difficult, and that’s far more a good sign than a bad.
Generally speaking, as I’m taking notes during Arsenal matches, I can get a good indication of who the man of the match is going to be early on. Against Wolverhampton, that just wasn’t the case. And I mean that in the best way possible.
Rather than one guy bossing the show, we saw man of the match moments from nearly every single guy out there on the pitch. Honestly, the worst overall performer was probably Bukayo Saka, but he scored the first goal, which easily levels the playing field.
When it came time to award man of the match, I must have considered a half dozen guys. I thought of Aubameyang and his tremendous attacking contributions despite not scoring a goal. I thought of Saka just because he did score. I thought of Shkodran Mustafi because, despite early nerves, he settled so well that Adama Traore had to be moved to the other side.
I thought of Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, both of whom brought incredible presence and composure as substitutions.
I still believe that any one of these guys could have been named man of the match. Maybe even David Luiz, who held it together until the end. And yes, I thought of Granit Xhaka too, because despite a relatively quiet performance, his midfield dominion was invaluable.
In the end, I awarded man of the match fo Emiliano Martinez. If for no other reason than because it felt unfair to single out an outfield player when so many had done their jobs so well.
That said, Martinez put in the work to deserve it. From his save in the 15th second to his continued decision-making prowess, to having safe hands any time the ball came anywhere close to him, Martinez was well deserving of the award.
Though, honestly, it felt like an award that was completely unnecessary. This was a match won by an entire team effort. Even Sead Kolasinac, who I was incredibly critical of, had to do his part if this crucial clean sheet was to remain intact.
This was a thorough team effort that left no man without a task to accomplish. And each man accomplished that task. This includes Mikel Arteta, who will be adding this match to his accomplishments this year.