Arsenal came off one of their biggest wins of the season to face a crucial matchup against Wolverhampton. Here are the player ratings.
Arsenal‘s 4-0 win over Norwich City may have propped up some confidence, but it was always going to be a much bigger test going up against Wolverhampton, who sit a comfy six points ahead of the Gunners in 7th place.
Mikel Arteta’s chose an exciting starting XI, taking the usual 3-4-3 formation, but the big absence was Nicolas Pepe, whose wife was having a baby, thus he was no included in the team whatsoever. To answer for him missing, Arteta gave the nod to the newly signed Bukayo Saka on the right-hand side.
The only other lingering question was why Rob Holding continues to be excluded when it seems, at least from his performance on the pitch, that he’s been in good form. Regardless, the team was set, and the stakes were doubly so.
Arsenal made a huge statement against Wolverhampton
Arsenal began the match with a whole lot of meaningless possession. The crowning achievement was a three-minute spell of possession where they progressively moved backwards until Mustafi hoofed the ball out for a Wolves throw. Just stellar stuff.
A few chances snuck in before the half, Eddie Nketiah snapped a shot that Patricio only just turned onto the near post. The young striker made quite an impression and continues to prove that he should be the preferred striker over Alexandre Lacazette.
But the big chance came just before half. A brilliant pass from Dani Ceballos found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who laid it off to Kieran Tierney, who’s deflected pass found Bukayo Saka. And he was never going to miss that opportunity, putting the Gunners up 1-0 as they went into half.
Wolves started the second half on the front foot and carried the momentum with serious menace. I was stressed out the entire second half. Arsenal just did not have the gumption to take command like they did in the first.
They did, however, manage to strike again as the momentum started to shift back in their favor around the 80 minute mark and it was Alexandre Lacazette who managed to do it.
I also want to make a quick note that Michael Oliver was up to his usual anti-Arsenal antics.
Here are those player ratings:
Man of the Match. Great reading of the situation just after the hour mark, stealing a golden chance from Wolves. Had a lot to do in the second half and handled his area really well. So many moments that might have gone sour were relieved by his fantastic reading of the situation. Deserves immense credit for keeping a clean sheet here, starting with Adama’s breakaway in the 15th second.