Premier League Match Report (04/07/20): Wolves 0-2 Arsenal
The Premier League's ninety-two remaining games, spread across nine rounds of games are set to play out beginning June 17th 2020, with Project Restart's health and safety conditions meaning the remaining games of the season will be played out behind closed doors. We will be providing match reports from these behind closed doors competitive encounters as the league campaign nears its end-game. All aboard.
Match Report (GW33): Wolves 0-2 Arsenal
Quiet as a library and quiet on the pitch, besides a first minute run from Adama Traore that drew Emi Martinez off his line to make a save right off the bat, Arsenal's trip to Wolves, much like many Wolves games since Project Restart, has been a slow burner, with very little to report on.
The first snap-shot that sprung the game into a whisper of life when Granit Xhaka's forward pass into midfield was deflected by Romain Saïss into the path of Eddie Nketiah whose quick shot was saved well by Patricio's left-foot.
A game void of much life changed its tune in the 43rd minute when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang played in Kieran Tierney on the left-flank, with the Scot's low-cross in the box taking a deflection and falling to Bukayo Saka to turn and shoot well past Rui Patricio for the first goal of the afternoon - a goal that hasn't been in the script for Wolves in recent months as they like going into the break at 0-0.
The second-half saw the home side start to exercise some control, with Raul Jimenez going down for a penalty appeal, before Adam Traore threatened with a chip at the edge of the box, though Arsenal retained their lead.
Nketiah rose highest to head over from a set-piece in the 76th minute as the game was playing table tennis with its attack as Wolves looked to press higher up the pitch with Neto and Jota on the pitch.
Arsenal killed the game off with five minutes to go when The Gunners won two uncontested headers in defence before Alexandre Lacazette held the ball up well before teeing up Joe Willock on the right-wing. Willock's cross was low and straight through the legs of Saiss, with Lacazette controlling well to evade Coady before burying his shot in the bottom right corner.
Moments after the play resumed at 2-0, Arsenal could have had a third when Aubameyang played in Willock whose weak shot is cleared off the line by Ruben Neves. That was all the script wrote as Arsenal secure another precious 3 points against a top-half rival.
Man of the Match: Bukayo Saka (ARS)
The game lacked much life or energy, with Wolves trying to keep their formation and shape compact. Arsenal's full-backs did good jobs at limiting opportunities whilst their star in a good team performance was the young Englishman who signed a new contract this week, Bukayo Saka - how often does this happen after a player signs a new deal? Saka took his good well and was a thorn in Wolves' side until his second-half substitution and left the audience with a continued glowing reputation.
WOL 0-2 ARS - Insight and Analysis:
I'm going to keep this short and sweet - Wolves have been deliberately zapping life out of football games on purpose, much like a snake would do to drain life out of the neck of prey it has captured, as a tactic to win games. It's worked very well for Nuno's side today, but it was one of those days where the snake's hunt was to no avail and its prey wriggled out of its traps to get away.
Arsenal have been very good away from home under Arteta and for the second time today I've sat and reviewed two professional away performances (first with Brighton away at Norwich) that has a lot of echoed statements about good defensive shape and taking chances when they come your way.
This defeat might be damaging for Wolves on a day that saw wins for Man United and Leicester, and potentially Chelsea later too as they host Watford, in their attempt to qualify for the Champions League. Based on the last two games, with have been hard to watch, they need more quality in attack to cross the line - Raul Jimenez can't be the hero every single week.
Venue: Molineux Stadium
Manager: Nuno Espírito Santo
GK: Rui Patrício
DEF: W. Boly
DEF: C. Coady
DEF: R. Saïss
DEF: M. Doherty (Neto 72')
DEF: J. Otto
MID: L. Dendoncker (Jota 55')
MID: R. Neves
MID: João Moutinho (Gibbs-White 89')
FOR: R. Jiménez
FOR: A. Traore
Cavaco Jordão, Neto, Gibbs-White, Jota, Ruddy, Vinagre, Campana, Kilman, Buur
Manager: Mikel Arteta
GK: E. Martínez
DEF: S. Mustafi
DEF: David Luiz
DEF: Cédric Soares (Bellerin 76')
DEF: K. Tierney (Maitland-Niles 56')
MID: D. Ceballos (Torreira '83)
MID: G. Xhaka
FOR: B. Saka (Willock 76')
FOR: E. Nketiah (Lacazette 83')
FOR: P-E. Aubameyang
Bellerín, Papastathopoulos, Lacazette, Torreira, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Nelson, Willock, Macey
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