Arsenal Need To Put Right Sunday’s Wrongs against Wolves

Preview of this evening’s match at Molineux

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Arsenal drew with Wolves at home earlier in the season

The usual five talking points ahead of this evening’s away match v Wolves.

Inconsistent opposition, but with reason to fear
Wolves have won just one of their last five matches – they were in the top four early on in the season, although since have lost or drawn with the type of teams they were beating then. There is an argument that, having played Nuno Espirito Santo’s team once and become familiar with the style, teams know how to play them now. Wolves denied Arsenal two points at the Emirates before the turn of the year, so the hope must be that Emery is now more prepared for their threat. One word of warning though. They have beaten Manchester United twice at home in the last six weeks (once in the FA Cup). So they can certainly still raise their game at home against supposedly superior opposition. If Manchester City win the FA Cup, the seventh placed side in the league would gain entry into next season’s Europa League, and it’s as tight a race for that place as it is to secure a top four spot. So there’s reason for the home side this evening not to be on that metaphorical beach just yet. And if you believe you can see who is going to finish where in the race for honours and European places, you would do well to check out this Pinnacle VIP code if you are considering backing your judgment with an online bet.

Fortress Molineux?
Okay, so Wolves haven’t been winning too often lately, but more often than not they’ve been away, they have not lost in their last six home matches. Sure, they have had some stinkers – drawing to Brighton last weekend was not good, and go back far enough and they somehow construed to lose at home to… wait for it, Huddersfield! But overall, generally they tend to win at home. Mind, you until last Sunday you could say the same about Arsenal…

Rotation Policy
Emery got it badly wrong against Palace. You can certainly argue that injuries forced his hand in midfield. But he started the game with Monreal and Maitland-Niles on the bench. Mavropanos gave away the free-kick that led to the visitors’ opening goal. Whether he was sacrificed at half-time instead of Mustafi may have been down to his yellow card. Carl Jenkinson was also at fault for the first goal, which would have been offside had he held the line with his colleagues. No Lee Dixon he, and the performance of his replacement Maitland-Niles in the second half was quite a contrast. No point in criticizing Jenkinson. He’s a player above his level who shouldn’t really be anywhere near the first team, but the Bellerin injury and the disappointment with Lichtsteiner, who seems to have disappeared given he is not officially listed as injured, if Emery wants to give Maitland-Niles a break, it comes down to a choice between shifting Mustafi over to right-back or using Jenko. Emery has a potential seven matches left this season. The last one is some time after the final Premier League game against Burnley. So his players will be rested enough for that. The only game I can see that he could risk playing a weakened side might be Brighton at home, where truth to tell, defending will probably less of a concern, going on the Seagull’s display against Spurs last night.

Unexpected results
Pessimists would certainly have marked Everton v Man United down as an away win last weekend. However, by far a bigger surprise was Burnley denying Chelsea two points at the Bridge. Brighton came close to an upset last night at the Lane, but Spurs have scored a lot of late winners this season, and that result probably secures them third place. As well as Arsenal needing to win their trip to Wolves, they really need to hope that the next two results at Old Trafford go a particular way. A win for Manchester City in tonight’s other game would help their cause, and then, when Chelsea visit at the weekend, a win for Solskjaer’s team would be the best result. It would mean then that United could notch up no more than 73 points, and Chelsea no more than 73 themselves. Arsenal have 66 with their four matches to play. Goal difference currently favours them, so two wins and a draw might just be enough. This of course, if Chelsea fail to take something from Old Trafford. By the end of next weekend, the picture will be much, much clearer, but Arsenal could do themselves a huge favour by winning their next two games – Leicester away is up next after Wolves.

The return of the Greek
After his two match suspension, Sokratis returns to add some attitude to the side. No-one wants to see Shkodran Mustafi within a mile of the first team after the legacy of cock-ups he’s made this season, some costing the team points. However, Emery being Emery, you can be certain the German will play a game or two, if only to give Laurent Koscielny a break. But tonight, I just can’t see it. Monreal will surely return, with Kos risked to play again in the centre of a back three. Tonight is exactly the kind of game Aaron Ramsey would prove invaluable for, but that isn’t an option any more, so what happens in front of the defence is anyone’s guess. Is Xhaka fit? Torreira good to start? Let’s hope so, because Guendouzi seems to have run out of steam and Elneny simply isn’t good enough. My God do I hope Arsenal make the Champions League so we can afford to let some overpaid deadwood go this summer.

Conclusion
Recent days have reminded us that, at this stage of the season, surprise results do happen. What would be a surprise result this evening? Probably Arsenal winning! Still, life becomes very difficult if they don’t. So quite simply, they have to play a game of the quality they displayed in Naples last week. We know they can do it. We also know that they are more than capable of turning in the type of display we saw at Everton. Emery has work to do if he is going to turn this club into genuine contenders, but it would help his cause a lot if he had more money this summer. That is partially dependent on the Europa League campaign, and if he does not take at least four points from the next two matches, it will probably be totally dependent on Europe. Let’s try and finish fourth and at least, should they make it to Baku, some of the pressure will be off.

 

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12
comments

  1. peter wain

    Apr 25, 2019, 06:57 #113596

    at a time when we ship goals for fun why is our first signing a winger? Does Dick have a clue what he is doing? On the last two performances sadly not. We need four quality defenders not midfielders or wingers because if we do not stop the goals going in we will fall down the table.

  2. mbg

    Apr 24, 2019, 21:25 #113595

    That was the talk before the game from the manager and players alike, we have to win this, we owe the fans blah blah, and what happens ? They go and fook it up and let us down again, reminiscent of wenger and his wally's last season, players just not up to the job clear out needed.

  3. markymark

    Apr 24, 2019, 19:59 #113594

    I’m beginning to wonder if this is a sign that all is not right in the dressing room. Player power is being shown at Chelsea and arguably Man U. Hope not but if we start off next season conceding like this he’s toast . Let’s hope they can gain some respect this half

  4. Radfordkennedy

    Apr 24, 2019, 19:58 #113593

    Paulo...John F...I should just enjoy a few cold ones in Finnegans bar in Valencia, and try and forget this gutless surrender

  5. John F

    Apr 24, 2019, 19:52 #113592

    RF ,Arsenal will be lucky to get 1point after that 1at half display.Disgraceful performance by a team of bottlers.I am aware it is only half time but there really is no excuse for that load of crap.Bring on the youngsters.

  6. Paulo75

    Apr 24, 2019, 19:47 #113591

    Dear oh dear. Plunging new depths away from home. Can we play both legs at home against Valencia?

  7. TonyEvans

    Apr 24, 2019, 17:34 #113590

    Exiled - as you say I just can’t see the likes of Nelson and Smith-Rowe getting sufficient game time to prove themselves. Also agree re potential summer signings - I am expecting nothing earth shattering, but we live in hope don’t we! Peter - I am not saying we just buy in wingers, I want the defensive side of our game sorted just as much as you do. Think you are a tad hard on Leno though. Going forward though we are a bit narrow for me, and always relying on your full backs for width does undermine our defensive capabilities. Mind you we need more creativity in the middle too as Ozil is definitely not the answer.

  8. TonyEvans

    Apr 24, 2019, 17:33 #113589

    Exiled - as you say I just can’t see the likes of Nelson and Smith-Rowe getting sufficient game time to prove themselves. Also agree re potential summer signings - I am expecting nothing earth shattering, but we live in hope don’t we! Peter - I am not saying we just buy in wingers, I want the defensive side of our game sorted just as much as you do. Think you are a tad hard on Leno though. Going forward though we are a bit narrow for me, and always relying on your full backs for width does undermine our defensive capabilities. Mind you we need more creativity in the middle too as Ozil is definitely not the answer.

  9. Radfordkennedy

    Apr 24, 2019, 15:44 #113588

    i said before the palace game i thought we would get 7 points from our final games (although i did think we'd draw against them) and cant see us getting more than 6 now, i dont expect us to beat either Wolves or Leicester,so anything is a bonus from those games.Emery made a huge mistake at the weekend with the rotations and got found out,with but a few games left we have no choice but to go foot to the floor with our best team and just go for it,i understand the need to rotate,but thats for other teams ,our rivals have vastly superior squads to us and can do it,we cant.A Mcklintock style team talk is badly needed to grab this lot by the scruff, show some bottle and go for it

  10. peter wain

    Apr 24, 2019, 14:36 #113587

    quite why we are looking for wingers or indeed attacking players is beyond me. We have a massive defensive weakness and are desperate for a new back four and another goal keeper. We have Nelson and the other youngsters so I do not see why we are bothering to compete for wingers as we will only get the cast offs and we have more than enough of those players. If our youth are to mean anything they should be used next season,

  11. Exiled in Pt

    Apr 24, 2019, 12:29 #113586

    Tony , we have Nelson and Smith-Rowe who match the description also Saka !! So next season we have the wingers they just need a run in the side. Problem is will they get the opportunity or will we go for more half baked players like Suarez! Dick has done well as you say after what he inherited but i think we will be disappointed when it comes to transfers in the summer . For a start we got to hope teams are mug enough to want to pay for the likes of Elneny , Mustafi ,Jenks and Ozil as i dont see us being willing to take big hits on these players . Have to agree when we play away we still look like the bottlers under Wenger apart from the odd game where they stepped up . No good raising the game against the bigger clubs if your going to lose home and away to Palace !!!

  12. TonyEvans

    Apr 24, 2019, 11:35 #113585

    The home loss against Palace has really given us no room for any more slip ups - the pressure is on so what can we expect tonight? My guess would be yet another nervy, gutless performance that has summed up most of our away form the whole season. I reckon you could count on the fingers of one hand how many matches we have really dominated from start to finish and not given the opposition even a sniff of a chance this season, especially away from home. Having said that I still think Dick is doing ok, considering the mess he inherited, but this summer there has to be a major overhaul of this squad if we are ever going to compete at the very top of the game again. Call me old fashioned but I would love to see some genuine pacy, skillful wingers brought in who can take defenders on and deliver a decent ball into the box - when was the last time we saw that? Theo Walcott anyone! Let's call a halt to asking the left and right backs to bomb on, leaving gaping holes at the back ala Wenger and start buying defenders whose primary function is to defend, not to provide the width going forward. Perhaps then we may see a return to a few more 1-0 to The Arsenals, which would be fine by me.