Arsenal beat Wolves to stay top of the table
LONDON – Arsenal edged past Wolves at a frosty Emirates Stadium on Saturday as the Premier League leaders turned on the class in the first half and survived a late score.
Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard each finished off sumptuous moves as Mikel Arteta’s side toyed with Wolves and were slick in attack and dogged in defense.
Wolves’ Matheus Cunha did make it 2-1 late on to set up a tense finish but Arsenal held on for the win.
With the win Arsenal move on to 33 points for the season as they’ve now won three games in a row in the Premier League, while Wolves remain on 15 after three defeats in their last four.
Right-side wizardry does the damage as attackers love to defend
Arsenal’s right-side of the pitch did the damage early on to set up this win as Takehiro Tomiyasu, Odegaard and Saka linked up to devastating effect and Gabriel Jesus often drifted over to get in on the act even though he had an off day in front of goal. With Tomiyasu preferred over Ben White in recent games, the Japanese defender has taken his chance and was strong defensively and always gave Saka support in attack. The opposite was true too, right across Arsenal’s talented forward line. In the first half Oleksandr Zinchenko lost the ball and Gabriel Martinelli charged back 50 yards to win it back. Cue huge roars from the crowd, applause from Mikel Arteta and celebrations from Martinelli. For all of Arsenal’s incredibly slick attacking play -- only Man City, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen have scored more goals than them across Europe’s top leagues in 2023 – it is the hunger to defend from the front which has set them up for prolonged success. The sight of Martinelli, Saka, Odegaard and Leandro Trossard charging back to help out defensively sums up what is great about this team. They are truly a team, from front to back, and they were absolutely livid they allowed Wolves to score a late goal and ruin yet another shutout. That is how much pride they have in the way they defend and that is what will make the difference this season between them being title contenders and actually winning it all. We know Arsenal can attack and score goals galore but now we’re seeing their hunger to defend.
Arsenal vs Wolves player ratings
Via our friends at FotMob.com, you can see Odegaard, Saka and Tomiyasu had a superb day down Arsenal’s right.. Wolves hung in there and Cunha and Semedo both never stopped working.
Arsenal head to Luton Town on Tuesday, Dec. 5, while Wolves host Burnley on the same day.
Arsenal vs Wolves live updates! - By Joe Prince-Wright at Emirates Stadium
How to watch Arsenal vs Wolves live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday (December 2)
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBC.com
FULL TIME: Arsenal 2-1 Wolves
They made hard work of it in the end but Arsenal hold on for a deserved win against Wolves.
Matheus Cunha makes it 2-1 late on after an awful error from Zinchenko. Game on!
Out of absolutely nowhere, Wolves score with 5 minutes to go and they’re back in this. Zinchenko gives the ball away and Cunha curls home a beauty. Game on here in north London! Moments later Eddie Nketiah is clean through and beats the goalkeeper but his shot hits the post and Wolves clear.
Not much going on in the second half
Arsenal are so comfortable here. Wolves are trying to get on the ball but the Gunners are holding them at arms length and now Eddie Nketiah is on for Gabriel Jesus to try and put some extra gloss on the scoreline. Saka curls a shot just over the bar. My word, that looked destined for the top corner.
Big stop from David Raya at his near post to deny Matheus Cunha
Wolves have looked dangerous on the break at the start of this second half and David Raya stands tall at his near post to beat away a shot from Matheus Cunha. Promising for the visitors.
HALF TIME: Arsenal 2-0 Wolves
Pretty much total dominance from Arsenal as Saka and Odegaard scored early and they could have added to their lead. However, Wolves did look dangerous on the break just before the break as it was all a bit too easy for Arsenal.
🔴🐺🚨 Half time here and it’s Arsenal 2-0 Wolves after some scintillating football from the Premier League leaders.— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) December 2, 2023
Watch live stream + analysis, videos and much more from north London ➡️ https://t.co/Zf3MebdBgB…
My thoughts on Arsenal vs Wolves ⤵️ #AFC #Wolves #ARSWOL pic.twitter.com/XLR4NOJIIW
Arsenal knocking at the door
First Gabriel Martinelli hits the post then Gabriel Jesus skies an effort over the bar from two yards out after another brilliant cross from Saka.
GOALLL! Martin Odegaard makes it 2-0 after another superb team move and it’s Arsenal 2-0 Wolves (13 minutes)
Less than 15 minutes in and it’s Arsenal 2-0 Wolves - Superb play down the left as Jesus finds Zinchenko and he cuts the ball back for Odegaard to slot home. This is way too easy for the Premier League leaders and Wolves have barely got out of their own half. A few moments later Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa has now gone down with an injury and he is coming off. It goes from bad to worse for the visitors.
GOALLL! Bukayo Saka scores superb goal to make it Arsenal 1-0 Wolves (6 minutes)
That has warmed us all up! It’s Arsenal 1-0 Wolves and it is a beautiful goal. Bukayo Saka does superbly to beat his man, then plays it to Gabriel Jesus who lays it back to Saka with a delicate flick and Saka finishes down low. Brilliant football and Saka continues his great start to the season.
We are underway in north London!
The players are going through their final warm ups (not sure how you can get warm here today...) and both Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Jesus have had shots which hit both posts and came out. Arsenal will be hoping their luck changes during the game!
Hello and welcome to north London! It is cold and frosty here as Arsenal and Wolves both aim to kick off a busy December with a win. The hosts know a win will keep them top of the Premier League table but Wolves have been really good so far this season and their points tally doesn’t reflect their performances. You get the feeling Arsenal will have to be very patient today. In team news, Arsenal keep Ben White on the bench while their midfield looks very attacking with Odegaard and Trossard ahead of Rice. Wolves are forced to make changes with Lemina and Joao Gomes both suspended so Traore and Doyle come in to central midfield.
Arsenal lineup (4-3-3)
Raya; Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Rice, Odegaard, Trossard; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli
Wolves lineup (3-5-2)
Sa; Kilman, Dawson, Gomes; Semedo, Bellegarde, Traore, Doyle, Bueno; Hwang, Cunha
Focus on Arsenal, team news
The Gunners have a busy week as they battered Lens 6-0 in Champions League action, so Arteta will rotate his lineup a little but he does have David Raya back in goal after he wasn’t available to play against parent club Brentford last weekend. Aaron Ramsdale came in and did okay but you could see that he was shaky after Raya has become the undisputed Arsenal No. 1.
OUT: Thomas Partey (thigh), Emile Smith-Rowe (knee), Jurrien Timber (torn ACL), Fabio Vieira (hip)
Focus on Wolves, team news
Wolves have a very settled team this season and the 3-5-2 system has worked extremely well with Hwang Hee-chan and Matheus Cunha both scoring against Fulham and in fine form in attack as O’Neil can’t wait to have Pedro Neto back from injury. The Portuguese winger is expected back soon which will be a huge boost. Key midfield duo Mario Lemina and Joao Gomes are both suspended for this game which is a big blow.
OUT: Joe Hodge (shoulder), Pedro Neto (thigh), Mario Lemina (suspended), Joao Gomes (suspended), Rayan Ait Nouri (ankle)