SUPER SAKA STRIKES AGAIN
What a week it’s been for Bukayo Saka. Just days after signing a new long-term contract with the club, the brilliant young forward was back in action after being rested against Norwich. He lined up to the right of the attack and, in truth, it wasn’t his finest game in Arsenal colours. But if the mark of a high-quality player is to make the most of whatever chances come your way, he certainly underlined his quality with a superb hooked finish to open the scoring. It was the 18-year-old’s first Premier League goal, the first that the miserly Wolves defence had conceded in 448 minutes – and it saw Saka become the second youngest English player to score for the club in the top flight. Another memorable moment in what has been a truly exceptional breakout season.
MARTINEZ MAKES HIS MARK - AGAIN
Mikel Arteta has been at pains to praise Emi Martinez’s professionalism ever since the Argentine stepped up to replace the injured Bernd Leno midway through our defeat at Brighton, and there was more evidence of it here. Within seconds of kick off, the dangerous Adama Traore got between our centre-halves and was in on goal – but our goalkeeper raced off his line and made a crucial block. How different this game could have been if he hadn’t been so alert. It comes off the back of a fine performance against Norwich, where Martinez made crucial stops either side of half time to preserve our lead. He may have been relatively untroubled during this match, but every time the ball went into the box, he exuded confidence to claim every loose ball with no fuss whatsoever. He may have had to be patient for his chance, but Emi is certainly making up for lost time.
A DOUGHTY DEFENSIVE DISPLAY
So much has been made of our defensive frailties in recent years, but much of the analysis of this Arsenal squad fails to take into consideration the improvements made since Mikel Arteta has taken over. Not only was this the first time we have won two consecutive away league games without conceding a goal since October 2015, but it was also our 10th clean sheets in 21 since the Spaniard took the reigns. Wolves may have put us under pressure at the start of the second half, but only with two real sights of goal – the first saw David Luiz make a fine block to deny Diego Jota, the second saw Emi Martinez rush Adama Traore into lifting his chip over the bar. "I’m very pleased," Arteta said afterwards. "They’re playing in a little bit different positions from what they are used to and it’s a formation that we haven’t used much or trained much, but the effort and attention and everything they are trying to do, that’s when it brings the focus and then the results.”
LACA’S FINE FINISH
Moments after coming on for Eddie Nketiah, a chance fell Alex Lacazette’s way. It wasn’t the easy of opportunities when Joe Willock turned the ball towards him in the area, but he reacted instantly, getting there just before Connor Coady and taking a delightful touch to buy himself space, before finishing clinically inside the far post. You wouldn’t have known the France international had been without an away goal since February 2019, and without a goal of any sorts since scoring the winner in our final game before the coronavirus paused the season on March 7. It felt like a big moment for Laca – and it was certainly a big moment for the team.