Arsenal v Wolves Eight Observations: Two MotM, Small is Best, Love Soares

Eight observations from a pulsating, bolero -esque game of football in which we out-chased the defiant Wolves once again.

  1. Martin and Alex battered Wolves for 96 minutes. The Ode kept finding gaps in the wall, Laca kept bashing into it. Together they led the attack with full conviction and they never gave up. Both are my MotM.
  2. Granit and Thomas played very mature in a difficult game. We had to push up and leave space behind us, so both had to play with tons of concentration. They did so well in keeping our pressure on and both kept passing through the Wolves’ lines. Their experience made a real difference last night.
  3. The subs finished the job off. Our opponents defended with discipline and always carried a threat. They had the better chances, and Arsenal missed a clinical finisher. It’s hard to constantly batter a wall and then also find the inner calm to be composed. This is what the fresh as a daisy Pepe and Nketiah brought when they joined the onslaught. They played with the sort of clarity and technical composure that was required and both were simply too much for the thoroughly harrased Wolves.
  4. Saka and Martinelli put in a shift too. The former is more at ease with the ball in tight spaces but both were given little space and time, which was clearly part of the orange and black opponents’ strategy. Marti has to improve on his first touch and passing if he wants to succeed on the wing. I believe more and more that he should be played mainly as a CF going forward.
  5. The Gabriel mistake was painful but it reminded me again how rare these mistakes are now and how good we have become at playing the ball out from the back. White, Gab and Rams really have got a great triangular partnership between them.
  6. This squad is clearly too small for a season that includes European football, but for the remaining 17 battles it’s pretty ideal. The smallness leads to closeness and camaraderie that can lift a team higher than the sum of its part would suggest. Everyone will play a part in our quest for a finish in the top four and we are a solid unit that’s near-unbreakable.
  7. Further to the above I am loving the contributions of Soares, who never complains about the lack of starts and hits the ground running pretty soon if and when he gets his opportunities. Same goes for Holding, Elneny and Tavares and one or two others. Tierney was also once again a rock in defence.
  8. The work rate is just so great in this team. Nine points from the last three games would never have been achieved without it. Bring on the Hornets.

By TotalArsenal.

50 thoughts on “Arsenal v Wolves Eight Observations: Two MotM, Small is Best, Love Soares

  • A big shout out for Arteta too. He made the right decisions which ultimately won the game for us. It was very brave to take Soares off for a forward when Wolves were looking dangerous on the counter (Neto should have scored his chance). He took a risk and it paid off big time. Those two points may make all the difference at the end of the season.

  • If Arsenal want the top four they need to win their games against close rivals and inferior clubs. The Gunners can can lose to Liverpool and Chelsea, and perhaps even Manchester United and still finish fourth. The critical thing is to not drop points in games they are expected to win. Looking at the schedule; West Ham (home), Tottenham (away), Brighton (home) and Leicester (away) Aston Villa (away), and Crystal Palace (away) come to mind.

    Assuming wins against Watford, Everton, Newcastle, Leeds, Southhampton and losses to Liverpool, Chelsea, and Man U. it is those 6 games that are the critical ones. Obviously, any win is good and any loss hurts the chances for a top four finish; but going unbeaten for the remaining 16 games is unlikely.

    That puts a premium on winning games against the teams close to Arsenal in the table and those clubs that have demonstrated the ability to cause havoc with top teams. Leicester can lose to a bottom thre team one week and beat a top three team the next.

  • Nice post, TA and spot-on observations too. I also agree the timing of the subs was crucial as the Wolves defenders were weary from such disciplined defending, only to have to deal with two lively forwards, to boot. Partey had a great game and Xhaka was disciplined throughout, albeit, losing his edge a bit as he tried to win your bet with Stuart.

    Martinelli seems to have gone off the boil a bit from the sharp and dangerous kid we’ve come to know (and opposition defenders fear). Pepe can give him a rest as he gets back to form.

    I’d say this, though; I always felt we would win that game. Just something about this team and the way they appear to be a “band of brothers”, at times. They have their issues and some may be at the end of their contracts soon, but they just look like they want to achieve some feat (top 4 would be a feat these days). It helped that they kept going, of course, and Laca just looked up for it.

    I am sure you meant to say “14 remaining battles”, TA, not 17. I say bring it all on (one game at a time, that is).

  • Lest I forget, the fans were a crucial factor in pushing the players to victory. Unlike previous dour support when we go down in games, the fans never stopped roaring and cheering the team on. This helped the belief, especially as one stat showed that Wolves hardly lose a game in which they have scored first. Last night was the first game, since November 2018, that Wolves have lost after opening the scoring. Let that sink.

  • Paul, that makes good sense. We are going to drop points no doubt but a strong focus on winning each game and being really united as a team will get us a lot of points. Best thing is only look at the table after the last game. Not realistic I know, but…

  • Hmmm. Good spot, Eris. I suspected Total would let Granite know of our bet and has likely offered to share the winnings as an incentive to behave. I’m sure he could do with the fiver…

  • For a guy that wanted to move to Rome, Xhaka has not lost even a tiny bit of his professionalism or work rate this season. As a matter of fact, I see him more inspired than ever, I think it’s the young players. It’s clear his teammates and managers all love him despite his faults.

    If I were going into battle, I’d want him on my side.

  • Lol, Stuart. I’m sure he could too; Xhaka has looked determined to ensure TA wins the bet, clearly.
    Yeah, Jync. Always first to the celebrate our goals and always has a special moment with the goal scorer. He is an asset to the club and an example to our youngsters.

    We can put our feet up this weekend and catch our collective breaths, as other teams engage.

  • J, well put. If I was to travel by car say from Amsterdam to Rome, or American East Coast to West Coast, I would pick Granit to travel with of all current Gunners. Most people don’t seem to see how important he is for our shape, rhythm and game plan. That’s his burden. Mertrsacker and Giroud carried similar ones.

  • Eris I’m so glad you mentioned Xhaka celebrating goals and wins. It’s the reason I’ve been talking about him lately. During these past horrible weeks where we had no Arsenal games, I rewatched the spurs game. Xhaka was literally almost crying with joy when we scored our second goal.
    Putting together quotes from Ramsdale about him on the training ground, and watching Granit’s interaction with teammates, he is obviously very popular within the team.

  • Interesting weekend in the games involving the teams vying for Europe in the EPL, even as we await the West Ham v Wolves game tomorrow.
    The Spuds wiped the floor with Leeds; Manure drew at home to Watford; City snatched a late goal to assure victory. Fair to say the games will get more difficult as we approach the business end of things.

  • Lee Dixon made a very good point during the post match chat on Thursday as Jim Rosenthal was busy rattling on about Arsenal challenging Man Utd for 4th, when Dixon piped up interrupted him and said if he was in the Arsenal dressing room he’d be looking beyond Man Utd and targeting Chelsea in 3rd, I thought to myself ‘spoken like a proper winner Lee’…

  • Good post Total and agree on 6, yes our squad is on the small side but we can cope, it’s good to see youngsters getting onto the bench regularly, even if they don’t come on – you have to earn it under Arteta he doesn’t give away soft Premier League outings.

    Whatever business we do in the summer we’ll be leaning heavily into our academy boys next season and I’m very happy about that.

  • Great stuff TA. Good insights as always.

    Arsenals new Ramsdale cam is bloody good. What a signing he has been. Not only the performances but the leadership shown – in the video it shows just how switched on he is and how mature his reaction is to gabriel’s mistake. He goes straight up to him and tells him to move on and get back to it. Other keepers complain and throw their hands in the air or point fingers so people know it wasn’t their fault.

    Not to mention the passion. He’s a massive reason why the atmosphere and mood has changed at the stadium this year.

    Love to see it!

  • Kev, I know for sure that our players are all focused on 3rd, not 4th. I can just feel it in the squad. I don’t know if Arteta said it to them explicitly, but I know they’re aiming higher than pundits, press, and fans are. Chelsea had better watch their asses when they play us. I bet we’ll come out like demons in that match.
    Would be nice to be on the front foot in a race. It’s been a long time.

  • It’s looking as if Infantino is kicking the can down the road, FIFA really are a complete waste of space.

    Johnno the stars seem to be aligning, Arteta and the boys are keeping the lowest of low profiles whilst the media are ignoring us and that’s absolutely brilliant, let them talk about everyone else and we’ll just stalk that CL spot with a late run.

  • Historian Harari in the Guardian today:
    “The stories of Ukrainian bravery give resolve not only to Ukrainians, but to the whole world. They give courage to the governments of European nations, to the US administration, and even to the oppressed citizens of Russia. If Ukrainians dare to stop a tank with their bare hands, the German government can dare to supply them with some anti-tank missiles, the US government can dare to cut Russia off Swift, and Russian citizens can dare to demonstrate their opposition to this senseless war.”

  • Morning Total and associates, as many have mentioned, we cannot ignore how involved certain members and past members of Her Majesties Government have imbedded themselves with the Russian mafia, also our financial institutions, soft corruption is endemic among the laughably termed ‘elites’ so I don’t expect any sanctions on Chelsea that’ll reverse the 20 years of financial doping (Arsene Knows) we’ve suffered since Abramovitch and his stolen riches arrived on our shores.

    In fact the delays in dealing with the highest profile Oligarch in this country tells you all you need to know about the struggles our political and financial classes are having in punishing him without incriminating themselves.

  • I dare say that our big mates the Chinese are watching very very closely how the West, it’s governments and it’s financial institutions are reacting to the unacceptable Russian aggression in Ukraine and how it’s sanctions are affecting the Russian economy – it’s certainly bringing the less bellicose Europeans out of the closet as they recognise the threat on their collective doorsteps – it’s a kind of litmus test for the CCP’s own ambitions on the future of Taiwan, the South China Sea and surrounding smaller countries.

  • Here are last weekend’s results:-

    For the week:-
    1st OX10 with 5/6 plus 2 correct scores and most correct predictions = 13 points
    2nd Total & GN5 with 3/5 plus 1 correct score = 5 points
    4th Kev with 4/6 = 4 points
    5th Eris & Madhu with 3/6 = 3 points
    Season to date:-
    1st Eris – 147.39
    2nd OX10 – 129.06
    3rd Total – 106.06
    4th – Kev – 105.93
    5th – Madhu – 102.66
    6th GN5 – 100.73
    Great week for OX10 with 13 points – he is making it a real battle for the number one position with Eris, while the rest of us are a closely knit bunch with GN5 desperately hanging on to last place.

  • Here are the choices for next weekend:-

    Aston Villa v Southampton
    Newcastle v Brighton
    Liverpool v West Ham *
    Watford v Arsenal
    Manchester City v Manchester United *
    Chelsea Ladies v Manchester City Ladies *

  • My prediction
    Aston Villa v Southampton H
    Newcastle v Brighton H
    Liverpool v West Ham * 2-0
    Watford v Arsenal A
    Manchester City v Manchester United * 2-0
    Chelsea Ladies v Manchester City Ladies * 1-0

  • Aston Villa v Southampton Draw
    Newcastle v Brighton H
    Liverpool v West Ham 1-1
    Watford v Arsenal H
    Manchester City v Manchester United * 2-1
    Chelsea Ladies v Manchester City Ladies * 2-2

  • Wow, that was an unexpected points total for me but any pleasure that I might take from it is completely overshadowed by what Putin has unleashed. I was appalled by FIFA’s initial response (but not surprised) and I’m glad that they have been shamed into more appropriate action today. I was also pleased that Chel$ki lost the Milk Cup Final. It looks as if Abramovich may not be able to temporarily put Chel$ki in the hands of the club’s charitable foundation. The trustees are worried about the implications for them and the Charities Commission are now getting involved. Like Kev, I doubt that the government will take any action against Abramovich (or the other oligarchs) that will greatly impact the club or any of their other assets, in the long run, for that matter. They won’t want to completely cut off a hand that feeds them although I don’t expect them to make any more sons of KGB officers members of the House of Lords in the next honours list!

  • My predictions:

    Aston Villa v Southampton A
    Newcastle v Brighton H
    Liverpool v West Ham * 3-1
    Watford v Arsenal A
    Manchester City v Manchester United * 3-1
    Chelsea Ladies v Manchester City Ladies * 2-0

  • Thank God we never got into bed with Usmanov.

    GN5, my sons yurt is now completed and he and his wife and son are happily ensconced. I, hence have a bit more free time. May I join in the comp for the remainder of the season?

  • OX10 don’t forget the Chinese spy who worked for an MP in the House of Commons and meanwhile we have the Director of Mi6 is going off on some woke policy nonsense, no wonder the enemies of democracy think we’ve gone soft.

    Fortunately the Germans have awoke from their long slumber and are planning to spend €100b rebuilding their military, in a word deterrents…

  • Dear gooners today an Indian student from my state was killed in Ukraine. Thousands of Indian students study medicine in Ukraine and are stranded in the work torn country. This madness of these so called world leaders trying to prove who has bigger balls is tearing society apart. What a tragic state of affairs when young men and women trying to study to make a better living is being killed or forced to quit studies and just try to be safe from bombs is devastating. More than anytime in my life I truly detest war and the consequence of the same. Iam anti-War and more tah ever remind the world about the teachings of Gandhi. Very tragic place this world is really.

  • Madhu, I share your feelings. This war isn’t just about the size of Putin’s balls nor is it really about any of the manufactured reasons that his propaganda machine is churning out. It is about greed and economic strength and leverage over other nations and their economies. Here are just a few reasons why Putin wants Ukraine:

    It is:
    1st in Europe in proven recoverable reserves of uranium ores;
    2nd place in Europe and 10th place in the world in terms of titanium ore reserves;
    2nd place in the world in terms of explored reserves of manganese ores (2.3 billion tons, or 12% of the world’s reserves);
    2nd largest iron ore reserves in the world (30 billion tons);
    2nd place in Europe in terms of mercury ore reserves;
    3rd place in Europe (13th place in the world) in shale gas reserves (22 trillion cubic meters)
    4th in the world by the total value of natural resources;
    7th place in the world in coal reserves (33.9 billion tons)

  • Ox that’s an impressive list of Ukraine. At some level the international community has failed everyone. We are sitting ducks for a few powerful.

  • I read of the young man you are mourning, Madhu. I am sorry for his loss. May God give grace to his family and community.
    And, of course, the grain, Ox. The breadbasket of Europe.

  • Stuart, you are correct. Many people do not realise how large Ukraine is and its farmers are important producers of many foodstuffs.

  • The Russians are about to commit a massacre in Kiev, I fear. This is a beastly occupation of a free country. The Ukrainians are very brave and we must support them as much as we can.

  • Well said Total, I wonder if Kiev could be another Stalingrad?
    Apparently Ukraine have lost about 20% of its population since the collapse of the Soviet Union and that’s only going to accelerate as Ukrainians are highly unlikely to return if their country is just a Russian satellite for the foreseeable future.

  • Watched the Spuds’ game last night and it proved to me again how important team spirit and energy is. How can the same team beat Man City and Leeds away but also lose to Burnley and Middlesbrough in just a couple of weeks? There was no hunger and the game dragged on and on, then Middlesbrough took one of their few chances and out went the Spuds’ last chance of silverware. The manager looks like he is about to run away and never come back; could he look less at home?!

  • TA, I thought the same about the Spuds last night. Fair play to Boro’ who were resolute. It was a shame that Folarin’s chance came so soon after he had come on. Conte’s body language shows that he knows that there’s something wrong and that is clearly transferring itself to the players. It will be interesting to see how they fare against Everton. On paper it’s a game that they should easily win.

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