Arsenal host Wolves at The Emirates Stadium on Sunday hoping to get back to scoring and winning ways in the league whilst the visitors are in very good form. How Mikel Arteta finds balance and creativity in attack will be key against a resolute Wolves side who carry significant counter-attacking threat themselves. Fatigue could also be a factor as the Gunners play in Norway on Thursday night.
Mikel Arteta has seen his side win just one of their five matches in the league and they sit 12th in the table. They lost 1-0 to each of Manchester City and Leicester in games they played reasonably well in, before a late win at Old Trafford against Man Utd. Since then, they were thrashed 3-0 by Aston Villa and drew 0-0 with Leeds.
Arsenal have scored just one goal – a penalty – in their last five league matches. They travel to play Molde in Norway on Thursday night in the Europa League. Arteta rotates heavily in that competition so their form there does not have much bearing on the Premier League.
Arsenal Team News
Nicolas Pepe is suspended after his red card against Leeds to Alexandre Lacazette could return (if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moves wide again) as Bukayo Saka is likely to be out with a blow to the knee.
Willian also picked up a niggle against Leeds and Thomas Partey is still a doubt in midfield. Mohamed Elneny and Sead Kolasinac are likely to still be out with Covid-19 and Gabriel Martinelli and Pablo Mari are still rehabbing long term problems. In short, the squad is stretched badly
Arsenal desperately need a win and Arteta will need to find a solution to his side’s complete inability to score goals or even create chances. As Wolves play a back three when Conor Coady is available, the Spanish coach could match up, which would likely mean Ainsley Maitland-Niles plays as left wingback. The Gunners would take any victory here in what is likely to be a low scoring match.
Wolves started the campaign with defeats in their second and third matches (including a 4-0 loss at West Ham) but have since returned to their best. Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have won three and drawn two of their last six matches. All of those victories came with clean sheets and the defeat came after a very harsh handball penalty against Leicester.
In their last match, they fought back to draw 1-1 after trailing against Southampton as newly capped Portugal international Pedro Neto scored from the bench.
Wolves Team News
Wolves are without the long-term injury Jonny at left wingback and both Conor Coady and Romain Saiss missed the last match due to isolating from Covid-19. Hopefully, both will be back for this game whilst Pedro Neto is pushing for a start after a goal against Southampton.
Nuno will set his team up to sit deep and allow Arsenal plenty of the ball. They will then look to spring fast counter-attacks using their speed in wide areas and the movement of Raul Jimenez. A draw would not be considered a bad result at all from this match and Wolves could happily settle for one in the second half if the scores are level.
Wolves have lost 4 of their last 7 away PL matches
Arsenal have scored 1 goal in their last 5 PL matches
Wolves have won 3 of their last 6 PL matches (2D, 1L)
Arsenal have lost their last 2 home PL matches
Wolves’ last PL 3 wins have all come with clean sheets
Arsenal are 7 home PL matches without a clean sheet
Wolves’ last 3 away PL trips to Arsenal have ended 1-1
This game looks certain to be close. A 1-0 win either way or 1-1 draw looks to be the most likely results. Arsenal are in dire form, have to play away on Thursday in the Europa League and looked primed to be upset by Wolves on Sunday.