Despite taking the lead through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, we were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by Wolves at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Our No 14 opened the scoring with his 50th goal for the club, but it wasn’t enough to secure all three points, as Raul Jimenez headed home late on for a share of the spoils.
But what did we learn? Read on to find out…
It wasn't the winner we wanted it to be, but the outstanding moment from this match was Auba's 50th goal for us. Auba reached his half-century in his 78th game - and his first as our starting captain - making him the sixth fastest to this Arsenal milestone and the quickest since Ian Wright reached 50 in 1993, after 68 appearance. The breakdown of Auba's 50? Forty with his right foot, 10 with his left, six penalties and one free-kick. His assured first-time finish on Saturday, from Lacazette's pass, ended what was, for Auba, a relative drought - he's been waiting for his 50th since reaching 49 in the draw at Old Trafford in September. Indeed, October was the first month since August 2018 that has gone by without an Auba goal. Saturday's strike was his 16th goal in his last 19 starts at home, but Auba is still waiting for his first headed goal for us. Maybe that will be come in the next 50.
THE FRONT THREE
In the past we've seen Aubameyang operate on the left when Lacazette starts in the same match, but on this occasion they formed a genuine front two to occupy two of Wolves three centre backs. Indeed, our No 9 and No 14's average position in the game was virtually identical, and a third man joined them in the same space - Mesut Ozil. The playmaker was an influential presence, combining his usual touch with a work ethic that drew praise from Unai Emery after the game. With Ozil on the pitch it was natural that our attacking game went through him, and the passing stats confirm that. Ozil made a team-high 95 passes and 72 in the Wolves half - 29 more than anyone else in that area. Ozil and Laca each made three key passes but Laca also emerged with an assist after setting up Auba's 50th. When we were on the front foot, our front three clicked.
The absence of Granit Xhaka meant there was a reshuffle in midfield, and it was interesting to see how we set up. One school of thought predicted that Torreira would drop into a deeper midfield role, but it was Guendouzi who took up that screening position in front of the back four. That left Torreira and Ceballos slightly advanced with the Uruguayan covering space on the right and the Spaniard to the left of centre. That asked a lot of defensive questions of Ceballos as Wolves looked to utilise the pace of Adama Traore on the right. His presence forced Kieran Tierney to hold a deeper position that he did against Crystal Palace last weekend, and Ceballos needed to get across and assist his left-back. He did that job well, making a team-high four tackles in a busy display. The highlight was a crunching tackle on Doherty that was followed just seconds later by a block on the touchline.
SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS
Saturday's game had a distinct pattern and that was demonstrated by the shooting statistics. Wolves started on the front foot and registered six shots on Bernd Leno's goal before his opposite number had anything to do. Our first effort on goal - from Auba - came in the 18th minute and it sparked a purple patch that saw us attempt six of the next seven shots. That period of control was arguably the key period in the game. Score a second then and we would have a firm grip on the points. But Wolves regrouped, had six unanswered shots before half-time and then out-shot us 12 to three in the second half as they chased an equaliser. We blocked most of those, but the pressure eventually told.
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