Shropshire Star

Arsenal 2 Wolves 1 - Report

Two goals within 13 first half minutes saw Wolves fall to a lacklustre loss at Arsenal.


Bukayo Saka notched the first within six minutes before Martin Odegaard swept home a second in a dominant start from the hosts.

Wolves recovered from their disastrous opening to regain some more possession, but they looked anything but dangerous in front of goal, while Arsenal squandered chances to extend their lead.

A passive second half burst into life in the 86th minute when Matheus Cunha curled home for Wolves, but it proved to be a consolation goal as they fell to a 2-1 defeat.


Gary O’Neil made four changes to the team that lost at Fulham, as he started with a 5-3-2 formation.

Mario Lemina and Joao Gomes were missing through suspension, while Rayan Ait-Nouri was injured, and Santi Bueno was dropped to the bench.

Craig Dawson, Hugo Bueno, Tommy Doyle and Boubacar Traore came in to replace them, while Jonny Castro Otto was also absent from the squad through injury. Youngsters Justin Hubner, Matty Whittingham and Tawanda Chirewa were given an opportunity on the bench.

Dan Bentley replaces Jose Sa (Getty)

Arsenal started the game brightly and it took just six minutes for them to find the opening goal. Some nice play between Saka, Gabriel Jesus and Takehiro Tomiyasu resulted in the ball popping up to Saka fortuitously, before the winger finished into the bottom corner.

It got even worse after 13 minutes when the ball was pulled back to Odegaard and he swept home Arsenal’s second, with Wolves defence split open once again.

Jose Sa was injured for that goal but played on for a few minutes as Dan Bentley got ready to replace him. Within that time, he made a huge stop to deny Leandro Trossard from getting a third goal, before he finally came off.

Once Wolves settled and got on the ball, they marginally improved and created a chance when Bueno crossed for Cunha, but he was unable to reach the ball properly for his header.

But the Gunners were still dangerous and Gabriel Martinelli was inches away from scoring when his curled effort hit the post. Moments later, Jesus missed a sitter at the back post.

A poor Max Kilman pass then handed the ball to Arsenal, who broke forward at pace. Fortunately, Jesus’ shot was tame and Bentley collected it.

Hwang Hee-chan then almost got to the ball before David Raya, which would have resulted in a Wolves goal.

Matheus Cunha (Getty)

A disappointing half came to an end as Wolves entered the break losing 2-0.

As the second half got under way, Cunha had a chance at the near post and his strong shot was saved by Raya.

An incredibly passive game saw neither side truly break down the other, as it hit a lull after 65 minutes. But the travelling Wolves fans were in fine voice despite their side’s lacklustre display.

Saka came close with a shot from distance, but the energy had already been sucked out of the game as Wolves went through the motions.

A good double save from Bentley allowed Wolves to break forward. The ball was eventually worked to Hwang but his shot was poor.

Almost out of nowhere, in the 86th minute, Wolves were handed a lifeline when the ball fell to Cunha and he curled home a beautiful finish.

Moments later, substitute Eddie Nketiah had a chance to seal the win when he was played through, but his shot came off the inside of the post.

A manic ending to the game saw Wolves push for an equaliser but fail to find it, as they fell to consecutive defeats.

Key Moments

GOAL 6 Saka gives Arsenal the lead

GOAL 13 Odegaard

GOAL 86 Cunha scores


Wolves: Sa (Bentley, 22), Semedo, Kilman, Dawson, Toti, H.Bueno (Doherty, 63), Doyle (Kalajdzic, 92), Traore, Bellegarde (Sarabia, 63), Hwang, Cunha.

Subs not used: S.Bueno, Hubner, Whittingham, Chirewa, Silva.

Arsenal: Raya, Tomiyasu (White, 78), Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Rice, Trossard, Odegaard (Jorginho, 92), Saka (Kiwior, 92), Martinelli (Havertz, 77), Jesus (Nketiah, 67).

Subs not used: Ramsdale, Soares, Elneny, Nelson.