Match Report: Wolves 0 – 2 Arsenal

Wolverhampton Wanderers (0) 0 Arsenal (1) 2

Premier League

Molineux Stadium, Waterloo Road, Wolverhampton WV1 4QR

Saturday, 4th July 2020. Kick-off time: 5.30pm

(3-4-2-1) Emiliano Martínez; Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz, Sead Kolašinac; Cédric Soares, Dani Ceballos, Granit Xhaka, Kieran Tierney; Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Substitutes: Hector Bellerin, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Alexandre Lacazette, Lucas Torreira, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Rob Holding, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Matt Macey.

Scorers: Bukayo Saka (43 mins), Alexandre Lacazette (86 mins)

Yellow Cards: David Luiz, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira

Arsenal Possession Percentage: 48%

Referee: Michael Oliver

Attendance: A maximum of 300 attendees due to UK government coronavirus restructions

Today’s match will be a perfect test for us, as this is a very tricky game indeed. Our opponents are six points ahead of us, in sixth place in the Premiership, and have set stadiums alight with their scintillating football throughout the season; we, however, have had a stop/start campaign with disappointments abound in various cup competitions here and there, not to mention the Premiership too. However, we do know that football is an unpredictable beast, and one thing that can be certain, is that in football, absolutely nothing is certain, and if we’re thinking that as supporters, then rest asssured that Mikel Arteta will be doing so also. No doubt that he and our team will have a few tricks up their collective sleeves for this early evening clash in the overcast West Midlands.

As we expected, it was a very lively start indeed with Emiliano Martínez saving at point-blank range from Adama Traore, who ran onto a pass from Raul Jimenez, as early as the first minute. The match settled down, as most games do, and to be fair, the game started to get a bit clogged up in the midfield areas, as both teams seemed unable to break through each other’s defensive patterns. Kieran Tierney and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were linking up very well on the left, whilst David Luiz was playing a comanding role in the defence. The home side were proving to be a tough nut to crack, as they were playing a pressing game, trying to contain us within the confines of our own half. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was unfortunate not to score on the twenty-fifth minute, when he somehow managed to get a shot in on the Wolves goal from a corner, which was comfortably saved by Rui Patricio. The first yellow card of the day was handed to David Luiz for a late tackle on Adama Traore, and just minutes later, Eddie Nketiah was unlucky not to score when a snap shot was pushed onto the post by the Wolves goalkeeper. Two minutes from the break, a pass from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang found the advancing Kieran Tierney, who crossed the ball, which found the sweet left foot of young Bukayo Saka, who wasted no time in blasting it into the back of the Wolves net to give us a well-deserved lead at half-time

In an unfortunate accident, Romain Saiss took a whack to the face from Bukayo Saka as they both jumped for the ball just a minute or so after the restart, which will obviously add time at the end of the half. The home side put pressure on our defence to try to grab the equaliser, but the lads held firm regardless, with Sead Kolašinac holding the line magnificently. Ainsley Maitland-Niles replaced Kieran Tierney eleven minutes after the restart, and although we were pinned down in our own half, our defensive structure held firm. After the drinks break (which was late today), we gave away two free-kicks in succession, both of which came to nothing, thankfully. Joe Willock and Hector Bellerin replaced Bukayo Saka and Cédric Soares fourteen minutes from time, and almost immediately the substitutions made a difference. Ainsley Maitland-Niles was booked for a challenge on Joao Moutinho, whilst it was becoming patently obvious that due to the home side’s pressure, we would have to try and play a “smash’n’grab” tactic to try and get the goal that would surely seal the game. Dani Ceballos and Eddie Nketiah were replaced by Lucas Torreira and Alexandre Lacazette with just eight minutes left of the match, and a couple of minutes later, the second goal happened. Joe Willock cut in from the right, crossed a low ball for Alexandre Lacazette, who turned Willy Boly to score a fabulous goal; a minute or so later, we had a Joe Willock shot cleared off the Wolves goal-line by Ruben Neves. Our tails were most definitely up now, and our chaps were finding holes in the Wolves defence to try to grab a third, if possible, but it was not to be; we finished the match as two-nil worthy winners in this tough match in the West Midlands. 

A superb victory; so many good and positive things came out of this match today. We kept a clean sheet, we were disciplined, the defence played as a coherent unit, and five shots on target, with two goals scored. And we were away from home against a top side too. The young Guns were superb again, and Mikel Arteta’s game plan worked to the letter. A week or so ago, nobody would have even dared dream about such a victory and performance, but now, who knows what’s possible? Just keep it going, fellas, just keep it going. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: Leicester City at Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU on Tuesday, 7th July at 8.15pm (Premier League). Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.

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