Teams reflect their managers and there is something worrying in Arteta and the Arsenal team which came to the surface here – self destruction.
It hadn’t arisen in David Luiz for a while, lulling us into a false sense of security – but we all knew he had it in him arising out of the blue like Bad Boris (9 red cards in the Premiership). But Leno caught the bug too and handled out of his area.
Arsenal were in a position to wrap this game up in the first 30, such was their zip and dominance.
It was a game of emotions from elation to shock to disappointment and despair.
If any positives can be found, besides the first 30 – Gabriel played himself back into form, and a more than adequate replacement for Luiz. And the team avoided a tanking and too much damage to their goal difference.
Partey sent a great ball to Saka whose pace got him to the area and he hit across the ball and hit the bar. That changed the game.
Cedric dribbled in and found Saka who swivelled and shot with power – Patricio saved.
Holding flicked on for Lacazette who sent it into space for Saka who shot home – to be chalked off for offside.
Moutinho was central to most of Wolves play. He crossed and Kilman who headed over the bar.
And then was yellow carded for a trip on Lacazette.
It was a shame the two chances went begging as Wolves came more into it – in the rhythm of things. Neto caused some problems on the right.
Smith Rowe went to the byline and cut it back to Pepe who shot on target, but Patricio saved and Partey intercepted and ran through and shot.
Saka was bundled by Boly but got away with a penalty against him.
Pepe fought for the ball in the Wolves area beat Samedo and nutmegged Neves and curled a right footer into the net. A struggle but he is fighting for form.
Leno grabbed a corner and sent Xhaka away who sent it to Pepe who lost it. I thought he would score with confidence running through his veins.
Smith Rowe rolled it across the face of the goal, but Saka was waiting for a chip. Arsenal were missing too many chances.
But David Luiz’ genie, Liability, came out of the bottle and accidentally tripped Jose from Podence’s through ball. He didn’t make an effort to play the ball, and stopped a goal-scoring opportunity so the referee had no option.
Neves hit the penalty high into the net against Leno.
Arsenal’s performance didn’t deserve it. Pepe tried a tackle, but he doesn’t possess much lower body power and dynamism and he bounced off Traore.
Wolves came out at the start of the second pumped up, sensing a kill, true to their name. And on 48, Moutinho scored from a long shot.
Arsenal attacks broke down with bad final balls. They were also vulnerable on the counter.
Bellerin ran through but Neves cut out a low cross to Saka.
Then Leno miscalculated a bouncing ball and handles out of his area and was sent off.
Runarsson came on – Partey went off. And Arsenal went into two banks of four – and sat back too deep.
Their only chance was when Bellerin found Aubameyang in the area. Somehow the shot lacked conviction but Boly blocked it anyway.
Nuno Espirito Santo said: “We have played better than today and didn’t get anything. The beginning was difficult, and we were in trouble. The penalty changed the dynamic.”
Mikel Arteta said: “We should have been 3-4 up in the first half. The game changes completely with the penalty and red card. I can’t tell you where the contact is. I looked at 7 angles and can’t see any contact.”
Wolves: 11Rui Patrício, 22Nélson Semedo, 16Coady, 15Boly, 49Kilman (Booked at 28), 8Neves (Booked at 47, Substituted for Dendoncker at 74), 28João Moutinho (Booked at 13mins, 37Traoré, 10Podence (Substituted for Vitinha at 62), 7Neto, 12Da Silva (Substituted for Fábio Silva at 90+1)
Arsenal:1Leno (Booked at 72), 2Bellerín, 16Holding, 23David Luiz (Booked at 45),17Cédric Soares, 18Partey (Booked at 41, (Substituted for Rúnarsson at 75), 34Xhaka (Booked at 62), 7Saka, 32Smith Rowe,19Pépé (Substituted for Aubameyang at 61), 9Lacazette (Substituted for Gabriel at 45)