Wolves 0 – 2 Arsenal… Back on track?

The Premiership is a funny old game, isn’t it? We lost 1-0 to Newcastle at home on Sunday and then three days later then lose at home to Blackburn. It doesn’t matter who plays who, there is no such thing as an easy game in this league any more. For us, a win against Wolves was vital, and that’s exactly what happened – the scoreline doesn’t tell the whole tale though.

The line up yesterday was:

Fabianski

Sagna – Squillaci – Djourou – Clichy

Wilshere – Song

Rosicky – Cesc – Arshavin

Chamakh

In fact, the game was played with Song a little more on the right and Rosicky in the middle, like a 4-1-4-1 formation.

And boy did we start well… An excellent foray into the opposition half saw Alex Song swing the ball in right onto the head of Chamakh who finished well – and put us 1-0 up in the 37th second of the game. It came from great movement from Rosicky in the middle of the park, but also great movement from the team as a whole, really creating options. The cross was excellent and the finish was sublime.

The next incident of note was when Arshavin closed down the Wolves defender after excellent pressure from the whole team and nicked the ball, only for his shot to be saved by the impressive Wolves keeper. The attitude today was so much more different to that at the Emirates on Sunday and we were first to every ball. Surprising that Arshavin didn’t score. The Russian was instrumental in the next major opportunity, getting himself into a good position, crossing into the box, where the ball fell nicely to Cesc, whose excellent shot was saved by the opposition keeper.

Before the half was over, Fabianski proved to us that he is a good keeper with an excellent finger tip save to stop Doyle equalising. And it was Wolves who started the brighter in the second half, with a slip from Wilshere and Wolves capitalising on it, Sagna literally flying in to block the shot from Jarvis and basically saving a goal.

But we were not sitting back and a good interception from Rosicky played in Cesc who shot wide – the game was becoming a little end to end and the next chance fell to Wolves, when Doyle shot well with his left foot on the turn and Fabianski jumping high to tip the ball over the net. The resulting corner was ushered towards goal, with the excellent Rosicky clearing off the line!

Arshavin had an excellent chance next, cutting inside and hitting the inside of the post, only for the ball to rebound out. Next up was a foul on Rosicky, and the captain stood up to take the free kick, which deflected for a corner. The corner landed to both Djourou and Squillaci, neither who were able to score.

There was a bit of a talking point next as Cesc went in bad on Ward but in all honesty, it was not intentional and it was mainly to block the cross out then be anything more. The Wolves crowd, manager and Match of the Day insisted it was a red, but I’m not convinced.

Wolves pressed and pressed and pressed and tried their best, but our defence and keeper played well to keep them at bay. But Cesc was delightful in his accuracy and gave Chamakh a great ball to finish the game with. Chamakh finished well and the game finished 2-0 to the Arsenal. Man of the Match? Lucas Fabianski. Without a doubt.

Arsene talked after the game, expressing what a difficult tie it was.

“It was a very difficult night against a very good Wolves side. We had a good start and it was difficult as well because we couldn’t take our chances and a few times we were lucky in the second half, especially in set-pieces and our keeper made some great saves but Wolves is a very good side, I’ve seen that at Man Utd, I’ve seen that again tonight, they’re a team that can take points against everybody.”

In regards to whether we missed too many chances, Wenger outlined that the key thing was to keep in the game, keep determined and focus until the last minute.

“Yes but I think we were under pressure tonight so we wanted to force it a little bit on our chances and that’s why I believe we didn’t take our second chance (until right at the death). But overall, it was vital for us the three points tonight and we’ve shown a great spirit, great determination. It was today more on fighting maybe than on playing but we have shown we can fight as well.”

Arsene spoke on the challenge and it was good to see that Cesc apologising to the Wolves player – and on a final note, the Manchester derby ended goalless, meaning both teams dropping two points, and the top four looks like a top four now. Despite the various losses this season, looking at the table, it would be stupid to think we aren’t in with a shout.

There is a big test against Everton coming up – but until then, kudos to the team for getting back on track against a very difficult Wolves side.

  • olutoni

    Nice one Devday!!! It just shows how much the league has changed. Consistency seems to flow down every team. Even the Kops couldn’t win Wigan side after win against Chelsea.
    Rightly said by Le Prof.. every team will drop points. It the level of consistency that matters and I don’t expect us to win all our remaining games. Good play all round and great to see Fabianski showing a lot of confidence..

  • Yemi

    I didn’t see the match, but i was following on my mobile. It was a great result though. And that is how soccer goes. You lose 0-1 to newcalste in your home then they in turn lose against b’burn in their own home

  • trevor

    Expecting a beamback of this fixture to be held in club level at the stadium, I decided against a midweek November trip to the Midlands. It was a pretty chilly evening, so my fears about the weather were justified. I should have dug out the thermals in hindsight. I am no fan of watching games in pubs, but faced with the frustrations of internet streams that freeze and cut out, there was no real choice.

    Unfortunately the staff at the hostelry in question were convinced the game kicked off at 8pm, despite protestations to the contrary. The news on Sky Sports that Arsenal were one up somehow persuaded them where anxious punters had failed. We were later shown a replay of the goal. Basically a quality cross from Sagna matched by the accurate header of Chamakh caught the Wolves’ defence cold.

    It was a game of many chances, although Arsenal had enough of the earlier ones to have made the second half far more comfortable than it was. The difference between this performance and the one on Sunday was marked. A great deal more determination. Although Lukasz Fabianski was an obvious contender for the visitors’ matchwinner, one player that symbolised the change in attitude was Tomas Rosicky, who played no part at the weekend. I felt his contribution was immense.

    As for the keeper, Sunday’s error was always going to happen at some point, it was how he reacted to it that would decide if pursuing with him was a fruitless exercise after a run of decent matches. He reacted well, pulling off some key saves in the face of the bombardment. I watched the game with the Highbury Spy who told me to mention that it was the defence that won the game for Arsenal. There is a certain truth to that, as Wolves asked some tough questions. With that amount of pressure, chances are an inevitability, and most fell to Kevin Doyle. Few clean sheets were as hard earned as this and there is an argument that Johan Djourou might be a better option than Laurent Koscielny to partner Squillaci until Thomas Vermaelen’s eventual return.

    Match of the Day made a big thing about Cesc Fabregas’ yellow card challenge while totally ignoring Karl Henry’s far worse studs up assault on Andrey Arshavin. At least Mick McCarthy made no issue of it, so no charge of hypocrisy can be labelled there.

    In the context of Arsenal’s season, what is important is that this performance was not a flash in the pan. It demonstrated the qualities required to win enough games to challenge for honours. Ideally, the team will build on this and incorporate the spirit demonstrated at Molineux into their performances on a regular basis, starting with Everton on Sunday. Mick McCarthy claimed that Wolves were the better side, although in fairness, I’d call it about even over the 90 minutes. Wolves certainly had more of the ball. But the Gunners were resolute and stood firm. I was not optimistic we’d see this side of them before the game, although knew that we’d need to if anything were to be taken from the fixture. The players have shown they can do it, so let’s see them go on a run of tricky games and continue displaying the fortitude of last night.

    One suspects the players had a rocket up the backside after the Newcastle defeat and this display was a reaction. They shouldn’t really need that to be motivated if they have serious aspirations to win titles. More of the same at Goodison please.

  • youngtheo

    Happy with the result tonight. Specially happy with the fact we were able to hold on a one goal lead for 90 min!!!

    This is one thing I rarely see these days watching our team. We held on well, even when under pression. I don’t think we were more composed defensively than any other day, but I think the team compensated with good commitment.

    Wilshere has played enough, and needs a little break IMO. He’s still very young and I think Wenger took him out because he realised that young Jack is starting to reach his limit physically. He has taken many knocks since the start of the season, as he’s gets in on many challenges. A few weeks of rest would do him good I think.

    Fab is still not at his best but certainly better than vs Newcastle. Still provides the assist for Chamack’s second goal.

    Flappy probably had one of his best game ever by his low standards. If he can restrain his usual blunder to once every two months for that would be a nice start to his long path for the No.1 jersey.

  • Tom

    Over the last couple of games especially last night, has anyone noticed how angry cesc is? i dont remember him being like this in the past – every decision he was giving the referee hell.. I can’t work out whether its a good thing either. His form imo is not great @ the moment which maybe is leading to a bit of frustration.. Just wondering if anyone else is seeing this?

  • kameron

    @tom – he has just come back from injury & how many of his team mates has he seen their legs broken-if u tell me i think its great

  • Jeff from Fulham

    Fabianski saved us 2 points with an absolutely brilliant save in the 93rd minute. He was excellent for the whole game. Man of the match.

    Wolves were all over us, closing down space and attacking in numbers. I have to give it to them, they gave us a very tough night.

    Henry really is a serial offender. Nasty tackle on Arsharvin. Should have had yellow at least.

    Cesc looked frustrated for much of the game. He definitely hasn’t found his form or his sharpness. His tackle on Ward was symptomatic of his frustration – It was late and looked a little bit spiteful. It would have been a harsh red though.

    Once again, Wolves can feel unlucky not to have taken anything from the game. They definitely don’t deserve to be in the bottom 3. I’m relieved we managed to get 3 points.

  • Goonerman

    I cant believe the media attention cesc fabregas is gettin over a silly little mistimed challenge, yes it was a yellow but he was just trying to block the ball and got it wrong, also the wolves players leg was in mid air so there was no real chance of a break. seriously the press need to shut up even McCarthy said it was a mistimed challenge and nothing else.

    But joey barton on the other hand need to be taught a lesson, what he done to pederson was actually disgusting, to do that in a game of football is a disgrace and 3 games will seriously not be a long enough ban. newcastle fans should be ashamed of him.

    Back to arsenal and i know we had a moan about fabianski in sunday but oh my did he play well, he does show such promise i just hope sunday was a blip.

  • foxyGooner

    Excellent article, and analysis as usual :-)
    Good to see the team play better – Rosicky seemed to have an excellent game – seems to be more of a starter than Walcott!

  • CON-MAN

    not gonna read to much into this, just glad we won more than anything, hopefully get a bit of momentum going

    good to see another clean sheet as well