Challenge for a young first-time manager without experience to draw on to get out of a rut.
One year on from Emery’s dismissal, it was Arteta’s thirtieth game. But Arsenal’s attack floundered with Aubameyang isolated and the midfield bereft of ideas. It was a bit like the Armstrong-Radford era, with balls in from the wing hoping for a connection. Then, there was a fair chance of an Arsenal player meeting it.
Arsenal have the third worse chance creation in the league and now have lost half their Premiership games after this 1-2 home defeat.
Xhaka, Ceballos, Willian, Willock, Saka and Aubameyang were the front six starters. Luiz came in for Holding.
Wolves started with a back four, which they switched to in their last game against Southampton meaning Neto and Traore posed a bigger threat down the flanks.
Wolves are having trouble scoring freely this season too, netting nine like their hosts. Wolves last won against Arsenal in 1979 with Andy Gray getting the winner.
It was a fast start – two corners in first five minutes. Luiz came in from a Willian corner and clashed heads with Raul Jimenez. Fabio Silva came on following a ten-minute delay with the Mexican sustaining a serious head injury.
The game went a bit flat, as to be expected.
Traore beat Tierney to cross to Dendonker who hit the crossbar, with the ball falling for Neto who powered it into the net with Ceballos watching nearby.
A good cross on the Arsenal left by Saka was just cleared by Coady with Aubameyang nearby.
From the corner Gabriel muscled above the Wolves wrestler Marcal and others holding his shirt and headed into the net.
Dendonker had a free header from a corner, beating Xhaka and Neto sent a dangerous low cross from the Arsenal left.
Then the Portuguese drove forward following Traore’s dribble starting when he beat Xhaka. He then beat three Arsenal defenders and from the shot, which took a deflection off Bellerin, it spilled off Leno, Podence nipped in, chipped it above Gabriel’s lunge and tapped it into the net. Like the first goal Arsenal defenders were statuesque.
Marcal sent a lobbed pass to Neto, opening up the Arsenal defence, who found Silva who opted to pass to Traore who hit the side netting.
Holding came on for Luiz for the second half.
Bellerin burst forward and crossed – but Saka missed it. He needs to improve sharpness in front of goal. He maybe isn’t a natural goal-scorer.
Arsenal were better, with Willock more involved.
But why do Sky persist on employing totally biased commentators who sound like a one sided fanzine, like Wolves man through and through, Don Goodman: Just one example of many from a free given away by Wolves: “The worst thing about it is that is in Willian territory.”
And on Wolves dropping back: “It’s very dangerous. Worrying.” For whom?
He needn’t have been concerned. Arsenal crosses seemed to find Wolves’ heads magnetically.
Nelson came on for Willian and Lacazette for Xhaka.
Willock, bravely took a shot which was deflected.
Bellerin crossed and Aubameyang rose above Samedo but half-heartedly headed it wide.
Nelson sent in a poor corner to the annoyance of Arteta.
Nuno Espirito Santo said: “I am very proud. This team showed heart and belief. We want to grow and have solutions. We did things well. We have a good foundation. Players respect each other.
“There were many things we didn’t do OK and we will analyse and work on that. At the end we didn’t control it.”
Mikel Arteta said on David Luiz’s condition: “David is OK – conscious.”
On the reason he went off at half-time: “He couldn’t head the ball properly.”
“It was a bad result. We had a performance in first half. They had two shots on target. The team showed desire, and we created opportunities and chances. Form is a concern.
“I’m pleased about the reaction the team had. The desire and willingness was there. Problem is putting the ball in the net. The goals will come. We have to insist. We put 35 crosses in. The quality has to increase.
“Things aren’t going our way. We have to work harder and do better at what we are doing.”
Arsenal: Leno, Bellerín (Booked at 69), David Luiz (Substituted for Holding at 45, Booked at 86), dos Santos Magalhães, Tierney (Booked at 90), Ceballos, Xhaka (Substituted for Lacazette at 81), Willian (Substituted for Nelson at 65), Willock, Saka, Aubameyang.
Wolves: Rui Patrício, Nélson Semedo, Boly (Booked at 47), Coady (Booked at 89), Marçal de Oliveira, Dendoncker, João Moutinho, Traoré (Booked at 54), Castelo Podence (Substituted for Neves at 70), Neto, Jiménez (Substituted for Soares Silva at 15, Booked at 56, Substituted for Kilman at 78)