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Arsenal survive late scare to go four points clear at the top

2 Dec 2023
Bukayo Saka

Early goals from Saka and Odegaard send Gunners on their way to 2-1 home win over Wolves

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Report: Arsenal 2-1 Wolves External Link
Report | Arsenal 2-1 Wolves External Link

Arsenal went four points clear at the top of the Premier League with an edgy 2-1 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

First-half goals from Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard were enough to see Arsenal through the match after a late goal by Matheus Cunha made it a nervy ending.

The top four

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
1 Liverpool LIV 26 +38 60
2 Man City MCI 26 +33 59
3 Arsenal ARS 26 +39 58
4 Aston Villa AVL 26 +21 52
See the full table
How the match unfolded

Arsenal kicked off with the one change to the starting line-up that beat Brentford the week before, as David Raya returned after being ineligible to start against his parent club.

Wolves made four changes to their starting line-up, bringing in Hugo Bueno, Tommy Doyle, Boubacar Traore and Craig Dawson, who returned from suspension.

Saka opened the scoring in the sixth minute. A quick one-two with Gabriel Jesus down the right split the Wolves defence. Saka took Takehiro Tomiyasu’s layoff in his stride and after a deflection slotted it into the far corner.

Arsenal doubled the lead six minutes later with a superb 18-pass team goal. The Wolves defenders were left at a standstill as Oleksandr Zinchenko played a one-two with Jesus before cutting the ball back to captain Odegaard, whose sidefooted shot beat Jose Sa.

Premier League - Arsenal v Wolves

The Gunners were fired up and in the hunt for a third as Sa was called into action by Leandro Trossard’s shot in the six-yard box.

Shortly after, the Wolves ‘keeper was substituted off with an injury and replaced by Dan Bentley, who was beaten by a curling strike from Gabriel Martinelli that struck the far post and went wide.

In the seventh minute of first-half stoppage time Wolves were nearly back in the game. A mix-up between William Saliba and Zinchenko allowed for the ball to break for Hwang Hee-chan to go one-on-one with Raya, but the Arsenal goalkeeper got to the ball first and his defence cleared.

Trossard had the chance to seal the game for the Gunners as he was put through on goal by Odegaard, but the forward was unable to score.

Cunha’s 86th-minute strike gave Wolves a glimmer of hope and gave the Emirates Stadium a nervy finish. The forward pounced on a poor clearance by Zinchenko and curled a powerful shot past Raya.

Premier League - Arsenal v Wolves

Immediately after scoring Wolves were opened up by a disguised pass from Odegaard to substitute Eddie Nketiah, who found himself one-on-one with the Wolves keeper but struck the post.

Wolves laid siege to the Arsenal area but could not create a decisive chance for an equaliser.

A fifth consecutive win in all competitions, their third in the league, gives Arsenal 33 points, four clear of Manchester City who play Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow. Wolves drop a place to 13th, with 15 points.

Did you know?

Arsenal have scored at least once in each of their last 32 games against Wolves in all competitions, the joint longest scoring run against an opponent in the club’s history.
 
Bukayo Saka's opener was Arsenal's 100th goal of 2023 (now 101), becoming just the fifth big five European league side to reach this total across all competitions this calendar year after Man City, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen.

Wolves remain winless in their last 13 Premier League trips to London (D3 L10) since a 2-0 win at Tottenham in February 2022, losing each of their last four visits to the capital.

Arsenal scored inside the opening 15 minutes of a Premier League game for the first time this season, finding themselves 2-0 up after just 13 minutes.

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