Arsenal v Wolves Afterthoughts and Player Ratings: Everybody gets a Nine, One Ten

I did not write anything about this game last night out of sheer despondency. The boys played such good football in the first half; they were purring on the pitch. A disallowed goal, hitting the woodwork twice… and then there was that sending off and subsequently converted penalty at the death of the first half. It almost changed everything in a flash. Still, it was 1-1 and we might have been able to win this game by sitting tight and trying to score one on the counter. But then Moutinho scored a nigh impossible screamer in Leno’s right top corner and we just knew this would be one of those cruel, horrible, freak games that are out of our control.


I don’t blame Luiz for the sending off. He tried to put off Jose by getting close to him but he never wanted to foul him. If there was contact it was minimal. A penalty was given and the sending off was a joke, but what’s done is done. I also don’t blame Leno for his sending off. It was an instinctive reaction to a bad, misjudged bounce of the ball. He came out to cover for his defenders, as he is instructed to do. It all happened in a flash and the rest is history. Arm chair goalkeepers will say he should have done this or that, but that is disrespecting the goalkeeper’s need to act in the there and then and the fact that everyone, even the best, make a bad judgement now and again. Leno is only human and the ball is round (and the pitch was soaked).

Most of us are rational Westerners and love to understand a football game by looking at cause and effect, who can we blame, etc, but as this game showed sometimes things just don’t go your way, the ball hits the woodwork rather than go in, a goal is narrowly ruled offsite (correctly), the ball bounces differently than expected, a referee judges a player on their past behaviour rather than the actual act, etc. This was just not to be for the Gunners; it looked more like a Greek battle between the gods high above Molineux, influencing the game with wind, rain and shrinking woodwork etc. And we lost out; it was out of our hands and feet.

I saw a fantastic first half and a heroic second half by the team. I saw a real team in both halves. 11, then 10 and then 9, heroes on the pitch and they all get a nine from me except for Pepe who gets a 10.

Let’s forget about this freak game and bring on the Claret and Blue army on Saturday: we are going to give them a game of football.

By TotalArsenal.

38 thoughts on “Arsenal v Wolves Afterthoughts and Player Ratings: Everybody gets a Nine, One Ten

  • TA good one agree with you. I got that feeling when inspite of dominant half the elements seems against us and I had this sickening feeling that it will go pear shaped.
    While agree with your feelings I would.still like our Team to concentrate on game management. I feel that there is no leader who can rally the team to manage the game. It was just seconds ways before break and not sure why Leno was in a hurry to take the goal kick. A leader has to take control then and make sure that we go into half time with a lead. Iam sorry but Game Mgmt and Dead ball particularly corners have to be taken seriously and worked on.

  • Hi Madhu,

    I agree that the team managed the end of the first half badly, but not that we don’t have leaders. I guess the boys felt they deserved a second goal and pushed too hard for it. I put it down to inexperience as a team, as it is developing under Arteta.

  • we need to incorporate some long ball play, especially when we have 2 less bodies. The passing from midfield to defence and looking for an opening is insane.

  • TA one question regarding appeals. I know that you can appeal against red card but is there any policy regarding complaining to Premier League on systemic umpire errors? There has been many things written about yesterday’s incidents and various pundits have commented. If AFC is a serial aggreived party is there a way to present Thier case to Premier League?

  • Madhu, nothing would hold us back from writing to the FA and ask for a meeting. The club would have to build a case and point out the inconsistencies and anti Arsenal bias. It could either protect us for further misdemeanours or make things worse.

    I believe that it is best to let independent observers make our case in the media and us to stay calm and focused. This team is going places now and no adversary should disturb our focus and progression.

    CoyrrGs ⚽

  • Nice post Total, there are a lot more positives we can take from that game than negatives, the way we battered Wolves in the first half, how our long passing bypassed their press, how we pressed them deep into their own half just as Man City do, the form of Pepe and Partey and Xhaka, how well Soares has developed in our team, Saka and Smith Rowe of course, how we didn’t collapse despite some appalling bad luck and officiating (see Southampton) and how we almost equalised at the death, then there was the anger and frustration shown by our players, they were clearly disappointed and I’m confident that Arteta can channel that frustration and use it in the next game to our benefit.

  • Kevski, I like all your positives and agreed. It feels like a maturity test for the team on our way to a settled, high performing team. If the boys stay calm, and I like the way we handled the sending offs, then they can go places this season.

    Just take it on the chin, stay calm and put three past Martinez on Saturday.

  • Thank you Total. How could we possibly be upset at such a loss – if there was any game that could we could say was an unfortunate loss it was the game we all watched. Just like yourself I thought that all of the team deserved high ratings – my only disagreement with you is that Saka should have also got 10 – he could have had three goals in the first 18 minutes and it was only the worst of bad luck that he never scored at least one of them.

    I was very impressed with the smoothness and fluidity of the team in the first half and then right on the stroke of half time Luiz got a split decision wrong. The second half started poorly with us giving them the go ahead goal – but it was really one of those one off strikes. Then Leno got quick decision wrong and all we could do was keep the score down, but even with nine men we had a couple of chances to get a point out of the game.

    I’m not the least bit disappointed because I saw the emergence of and excellent team. Well there is one disappointment – we will now be without two key players for the next three games.

  • Right now I don’t have any of your predictions for the coming weekends games.

    Aston Villa v Arsenal
    Burnley v Brighton
    Fulham v West Ham
    Manchester United v Everton
    Liverpool v Manchester City
    Leverkusen v Stuttgart

  • Here are my predictions.

    Aston Villa v Arsenal – A
    Burnley v Brighton – H
    Fulham v West Ham – A
    Manchester United v Everton – D
    Liverpool v Manchester City – A
    Leverkusen v Stuttgart – D

  • Aston Villa v Arsenal: away

    Burnley v Brighton: away
    Fulham v West Ham: home
    Manchester United v Everton: draw
    Liverpool v Manchester City: draw
    Leverkusen v Stuttgart: home

  • Thanks for your predictions Total, it’s about time we made a move to climb up the table.

  • It’s good that Pepe is now showing us just how good he can be – I for one, was doubtful he would ever come out of his shell.

    I’m really excited about the future possibilities for Arsenal, they have a fine mixture of skillful youth who have already spent a lot of time understanding each others games and our senior players are helping them to knit into the squad, all under Arteta’s fine management.

  • Been considering the Butterfly Effect of a small moment. A choice that occurred to me immediately as the events played out. The goal kick by Leno that preceded the Luiz series of events. IIRC we were in the second minute of +2 extra time at 46:25. We sent the back line forward to midfield. Exposing our two slowest players to the possibility that came about.

    Had Bernd dallied a bit. Had we, per usual, played out from the back with only marginal success and sent it long or into the stands. Had the choice been anything except the one made. We avoid Luiz’s straight RC. Most likely Bernd doesn’t find himself situated for his ejection later.

    Today, Arteta regrettably accepts a teachable moment. And a bitter pill.

    Nevertheless– onward and upward! ☝🏼

  • Thanks again GN5!

    Aston Villa v Arsenal = Away
    Burnley v Brighton = Hpme
    Fulham v West Ham = Away
    Manchester United v Everton = Home
    Liverpool v Manchester City = Away
    Leverkusen v Stuttgart = Home

  • Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days. Job 12:12.
    You must have some grey hair, Total. That is a fine and grace filled piece of writing.

  • Well said, spoken like a human being, a gent and above everything else a Gooner.
    Arsenal and Gooners have always been about class on and off the pitch.

  • I see that Southampton has requested couple of referees not to officiate their matches hereafter. Funny that VAR was supposed to fix obvious errors but has created its own set of issues. Teething problems which can be resolved by FA if it applies consistency in rules.
    I would like to draw attention to Crickets use of technology assisted decisions. It’s now fairly accepted that previous howlers have been now eliminated from the game. It had its teething problems but then technology and process improvements has settled it very well. Teams are very happy as howlers are eliminated, rules are consistently applied and there are no ambiguities. In a way quite a bit of decision making is removed from on field umpires. Offcourse cricket is different from football but still improvements in use of VAR can be removed with just consistent interpretation of rules.

  • Thanks for that post TA. It was perfect under the circumstances. Watching that game was like a bad dream, or a bad movie. Just when you think it can’t get more ridiculous…..

    Especially your view of the Leno part. Coming out bravely to sweep for our guys, an unlucky bounce, and disaster. I hope he will continue to react the same way in the future. I didn’t like Arteta not defending him in the post-game interview. Bernd’s proactive style has served us well, and he deserves us to stick by him. Too bad we didn’t get to see Pepe as the emergency keeper.

    To those criticising, I’m sure you’ve never had a bad bounce in life.

  • Madhu, you are making a good point and I like the comparison. I think the rules in football need simplifying and become transparent and consistent, before we can move on. It is an iterative process and maybe cricket went through this as well?

  • TA yes cricket was one of the early adopters of technology to aid in decision making. It’s been a long process but the changes were bought in regularly. Also the other things that can be tried but not sure if everyone will agree, but the concept of neutral refree should be bought in. What I mean is UEFA can nominate refrees as they do in European championship. What it means is premier League games would be officiated by non England refrees. Linesman can still be local. This will ensure that biases are ruled out. That improves the standards of refrees as well. This was teh first step that was taken in cricket to remove home biases. Not sure if it’s feasible in a league setup though.

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