Arsenal entertain Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Emirates Stadium this weekend. Historically a fixture Arsenal have had the upper-hand in, but in recent times the East Midlands club have proven stern opposition for the Londoners. In each of their last two visits to the Emirates Stadium, Wolves have earned a draw and were comfortable winners when the teams met at Molineux back in April.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side had an uncharacteristically poor start to the Premier League season but have since turned a corner, remaining unbeaten in their last five league outings and come into Saturday’s game just four points behind the Gunners.
Saturday’s visitors will take confidence from Arsenal’s poor performances of late and are expected to set up with three central defenders, pace in the wide areas and with the industry and technical brilliance of Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves in the centre.
The Gunners have plenty of fire-power of their own but must be wary of the counter-attack
Earlier in the month Wolves went to the Etihad Stadium and stunned Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Santo’s side have the ability to absorb pressure and spring into life on the break, utilising the pace of Adama Traore and Jonny Otto, with Raul Jimenez holding up possession and bringing those around him into the game.
Crystal Palace adopted a similar approach at the Emirates Stadium last weekend and their workman-like performance saw them come away with a valuable point. Watching on, Santo and his staff will have taken great encouragement heading into this weekends fixture.
A lack of creativity has been a real issue of late
Arsenal have the attacking talent to hurt anybody in this division, but of late, there has been a distinct lack of creativity. There has been fan pressure on Unai Emery to reinstate Mesut Ozil and the German playmaker showed the Gunners’ faithful exactly what they’ve been missing with a majestic performance.
He was substituted after 65 minutes and those who were in awe of his sublime display will be hoping that was a sign he’s in contention to feature on Saturday. Confidence is fragile in and around the Emirates Stadium at the moment and so it’s important the Gunners start well and get the crowd on side. Having said that, it’s important they remain patient, trust in their ability and don’t give anything away cheaply in the early stages of this one.
The Wolves players understand the system Santo has them playing impeccably well, whereas Arsenal have failed to settle on one formation which has, in the eyes of many, caused their progress under the Spanish coach to suffer.
Arsenal, at their best, are capable of putting Wolves to the sword but it’ll need to be a professional performance with concentration maintained at all times. In Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, the Gunners face a tricky opponent ready to capitalise on any shortcomings.