Good morning, top of the league lovers. I was at a wedding yesterday, so I haven’t had a chance to see much of the game yet.
I got home around 1:20 am and immediately put on Match of the Day. If I had to guess, I’d say I remember about 2% of what I saw (Odegaard’s first goal) and after that, it’s pretty much a blank. However, being the diligent and conscientious blogger that I am, I asked someone who I thought might be a little less angry than I was to give us a recap of the match.
That someone is Tim Stillman, and his slightly less angry thoughts on the game are below.
With the possible exception of Nottingham Forest, this was clearly the weakest opponent Arsenal have faced all season. Wolves put Adama Traore at center forward, which was the kind of Ave Maria tactic that summed up their approach to the game. They hoped to try to patch things up and get a draw before the World Cup break. Their new manager, Lopetegui, watched from the stands and had the slightly awkward lap of honor before the match in which he clearly didn’t realize where the away winger was and gave traveling fans a round of applause and a blow to the chest
The first half was slow, Wolves had no intention of pressing and collapsed in a 5-4-1 fashion and Arsenal didn’t really move the ball fast enough or purposefully enough to try to move them. After the game, Mikel Arteta said that he asked his team to move the ball faster and that the first half was not an event, as Arsenal passed the ball very slowly from side to side in front of 10 gold jerseys .
His fluency didn’t help when Granit Xhaka had to come off midway through the first half, initially sitting out two minutes into the game and needing attention before deciding he couldn’t continue. Luckily for him, the issue was an upset stomach and nothing more serious than to question his World Cup. Fabio Vieira came in, but it took him a while to get into the game and Xhaka’s role, of all the players on the team, will probably take some time to nail down.
Vieira did make the difference at the start of the second half. Gabriel Jesus hit the crossbar just before the end of the first period and I think you could say he really needs a goal – he really could have put the ball in the middle for a teammate, and I think normally he would have, but instead from that he cut into two wolves. defenders and he finished the ball off the crossbar.
Both Arsenal goals came from the same area in left midspace with Zinchenko especially making inroads more into left midspace. Arsenal found space there, Fabio Vieira reached the touchline, removed the ball and Odegaard scored. You felt like the Wolves weren’t creating much of a threat and that one goal would win it, but the Wolves were back in the game at that point, a little bit, so there was always a feeling that a second goal was going to be needed.
Arsenal got it by attacking the exact same space as Zinchenko took the ball away and Arsenal needed a couple of bites of the cherry before Odegaard finished the ball off and from there crowds of Wolves fans started to leave, lo that always tells you something. The home fans did not believe in a comeback, even if Ramsdale had to make a good save in the last ten minutes. As a West Brom fan in childhood, he let the local fans know too. At one point, he was injured after a painful collision and Wolves fans yelled “let him die” to illustrate how much he got under his skin.
Apparently Sky was very, very upset about a missed penalty against William Saliba in the first half but, after seeing the incident on my partner’s phone, it all seemed a bit insignificant and Saliba just blocked a cross. Sky is clearly trying to create some controversy over what, from the neutral’s perspective, was not an in-game event. The team at the bottom of the league playing 5-4-1, Traore in front and just trying to survive before the World Cup break.
With Manchester City losing earlier in the day, there was pressure on the away side before this game and they handled it quite well, albeit against a very poor team. Mikel Arteta later revealed that several players were struggling with “stomach problems” and he was right. It took a while for Arsenal to get into this game but Wolves offered them the space and time to work their way into the game and with a five point lead at the top of the table the Gunners are sitting well for the game. break.
I’m going to watch Match of the Day again over coffee this morning, and I’m going to enjoy the fact that we won, that we’re top of the league, and my Man City curse at the start of yesterday’s blog worked perfectly.
Have a nice Sunday. James and I will be recording Arsecast Extra later tonight. Keep an eye out for the call for questions on Twitter @gunnerblog and @arseblog on Twitter with the hashtag #arsecastextra, or if you’re an Arseblog member on Patreon, leave your question on the #arsecast-extra-questions channel on our Discord. server.
We’ll have the pod for you at some point in the future. Have a good.