Arsenal have the chance to build on their Europa League win over Molde with a visit from Wolves in the Premier League on Sunday. Both clubs have had a wobble early in the season with Wolves conceding one more goal than they’ve scored, which could be good news for the Gunners.
Wolves have been consistent high achievers since their promotion to the Premier League from the Championship but this season has proved difficult. Only one point separates the two clubs in 9th and 12th and whoever gets the upper hand here could go on a decent run of form. From Arsenal’s perspective, if they lose and those below them win, they could slide three places lower to 15th.
Wolves are generally a difficult side because they have a great desire and work ethic. They are capable of bringing the type of game Arsenal hate, full of high intensity and constant pressing and they are also quick on the counter-attack.
Some say that Wolves have become too defensive after recent defeats and that they have consequently lost their attacking edge. Ironically, that could be said of Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal whose last goal came in the form of a penalty against Manchester United at the beginning of November.
Wolves seem unsure of who they are and what they’re trying to do at the moment and if Arsenal can get at them early, then they could get the three points they urgently need. The Arsenal v Wolves game will be a cagey affair in parts, with neither wanting to concede and both sides may opt for a back four, which is understandable given the circumstances.
Arsenal have to employ pace to counter and need to get the ball out quickly to the wide areas. Aubameyang can’t be left as a peripheral player, the odd punt upfield could bring him into play but it’s the service from the flanks that will be important.
I can see a hard-fought Arsenal win but more importantly, the team has to perform and look aggressive. That hasn’t been the case in the Premier League yet.
Exclusions: Pepe (Red card), Thomas Partey (Thigh), Sead Kolasinac (Covid-19), Mohamed Elneny (Covid-19)
Back in Training: Pablo Mari and Gabriel Martinelli.
Preferred Line-up: Leno; Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney; Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Nelson, Aubameyang, Saka (if fit).
Reasons for Selection: Lots of pace in this line-up and a willingness to get into the box. Nelson and Maitland-Niles linked up well against Molde. Saka is always a threat and Bellerin and Tierney provide their extra thrust from the back.
Predicted Score: 2-0 Arsenal win.