Pre-Match Report

Preview: Wolverhampton Wanderers v Arsenal

Wolves v Arsenal

We face Wolves on Saturday evening aiming to clinch the victory that will see us head into the World Cup break top of the Premier League table, where we’ll remain at Christmas for the first time since 2007.

Molineux has been a happy hunting ground for us during the Premier League era, as we have won six of our eight trips to the venue, scoring at least once every time we’ve visited.

Wolves meanwhile have won just one of their last eight games, conceding at least three times in four of those defeats. That, combined with only netting eight times in their 14 league matches, means they could head into our game bottom of the table if results elsewhere conspire against them earlier in the day. 

Lopetegui looms in new year

Julen Lopetegui

Wolves’ poor start saw Bruno Lage relieved of his duties at the start of October, having only won once in their opening eight league games. In fact, their only two victories have both been 1-0 home wins against Southampton and Nottingham Forest.

Goals have been at a premium for the side in old gold, with Ruben Neves netting four of their eight Premier League strikes. They netted twice against Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend but Pascal Gross’ late winner denied caretaker boss Steve Davis a point.

Wednesday night saw them beat Leeds United in the Carabao Cup thanks to a late Boubacar Traore goal, and following our meeting on Saturday evening, former Porto, Spain, Real Madrid and Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui will take charge, who is due to be watching on from the stands on Saturday.

What the managers say

Wolves caretaker boss Steve Davis

Arteta on Wolves: "They are in a moment as well with very special circumstances. I think Steve has done a really good job looking at the games they have played.

"We were watching the midweek game they played and the game before that they lost not really meriting to lose the game. We know, Saturday night at the stadium will be busy and it will be a tough game." - hear everything he had to say in his pre-match press confernece

Davis on us: “Our approach is never different, it’s always to set up to win. Obviously, we know the qualities they’ve got, they’re an outstanding team this season. Nobody has really been able to stop them.

"It’s the final game [of his tenure], we’ll give everything we’ve got, we’ll work extremely hard which we have been doing the last few games and see where that takes us. We’ve got a plan and every team has those little things you think you can exploit and that’s what we’re looking to try to do.”

Team news

Emile Smith Rowe

Emile Smith Rowe is our only injury concern as he continues his rehabilitation from groin surgery.

Wolves’ attacking woes have been hindered by Raul Jimenez's groin injury, Pedro Neto being out since early October with an ankle issue, summer recruit Sasa Kalajdzic suffering an ACL injury on the opening day and Diego Costa being suspended. Chiquinho has also been missing all season.

However, there could be some good news on the horizon with midfielder Matheus Nunes poised to return from a shoulder injury, while centre-back Toti Gomes is also close to recovering from a groin issue.

Facts and stats

Bukayo Saka celebrates scoring against Liverpool

Bukayo Saka – whose first-ever Premier League goal came against Wolves at Molineux in July 2020 – has been involved in 10 goals in his last 10 Premier League games (4 goals, 6 assists).

Wolves lost home and away against Arsenal in the Premier League last season, having lost just two of their previous eight against them (W3 D3).

We have scored in each of our last 29 meetings with Wolves in all competitions, since a 1-0 loss in February 1979. Only against West Bromwich Albion (32) are we currently on a longer scoring streak.

As well as having the fewest goals (8) and lowest shot conversion rate (4.8%) in the Premier League this season, Wolves have had fewer different goalscorers than any other side (4).

We are the only side to have scored in every Premier League game this season, while we’ve also got the joint-fewest goals conceded (11) and joint-most clean sheets so far (6). Indeed, we are looking to win three consecutive league games without conceding for the first time since July 2020.

We have had five players create at least 20 chances in the Premier League this season, no other side has had more than three (Saka 26, Ødegaard 25, Martinelli 23, Jesus 22, Xhaka 20).

Match officials

Stuart Attwell

Stuart Attwell takes charge of his first game of ours since New Year’s Day when we lost 2-1 to Manchester City. It will be the fourth time he has taken charge of our fixture against Wolves, and we haven’t won any of the previous three.

In fact, we have only won six of the 17 games of ours he has refereed, with the last coming against Newcastle United in November 2021. 

  • Referee: Stuart Attwell
  • Assistant Referee 1: Harry Lennard
  • Assistant Referee 2: Darren Cann
  • Fourth Official: Thomas Bramall
  • VAR: Mike Dean
  • Additional VAR: Neil Davies

Previous trips to Molineux

Last season saw us head to Wolverhampton and claim a 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Gabriel, despite the sending off of Gabriel Martinelli for two quick-fire bookable offences.

The previous season we saw two other men red-carded as David Luiz and Bernd Leno were dismissed during a 2-1 defeat to the hosts, with Neves and Joao Moutinho overturning Nicolas Pepe’s opener.

However, we had also tasted success the campaign before, when Bukayo Saka netted his first-ever Premier League goal during a 2-0 victory during Project Restart, with Alexandre Lacazette also getting on the scoresheet.

Watch much more classic action at Molineux in our playlist

Breakdown Live

Breakdown Live

Tune in from 6.45pm on Saturday when Nick Bright and Adrian Clarke will be live from Emirates Stadium revisiting our victory over Chelsea, as well as analysing how we can keep Wolves at bay.

There will also be discussion about our players heading to Qatar for the World Cup next week, before they hand over to Dan Roebuck who will be live at Molineux to provide live commentary, allowing you to keep up with the action, wherever you are in the world.

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Fixtures & Results

Premier League
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