After a trip to Dubai to plug their winter break, a sun-kissed Arsenal returned to Premier League (PL) action with a tricky trip to fellow European chasers, Wolves. The ‘Gunners’ rearguard were proving dangerous offensively, as Ben White was denied by a last-gasp block, but his centre back partner Gabriel wasn’t to be denied a few moments later. Wolves could only partially clear a corner and White was again involved, heading down into the danger area for Gabriel to tap home on the line. Wolves’ response was intense and they could count themselves unlucky that they trailed at the break, with Raúl Jiménez’s header easily gathered by Aaron Ramsdale when the Mexican ought to have done better.
The second half started in largely similar fashion, with Wolves in the ascendancy, but plenty of huff and puff wasn’t represented by the number of clear-cut chances. Game management was the name of the game now for Arsenal, something they have pertinently struggled with down the years and several bouts of time wasting had the Molineux faithful riled. Martinelli did little to help his side’s cause, collecting two yellows in the same instant – attempting to deny a quick throw in before subsequently stopping a Wolves counter seconds later.
All Wolves were missing was a goal. Romain Saïss, Chiquinho and Leander Dendoncker all tried their luck, but a resilient rearguard action from Arsenal was keeping them at bay. Gabriel’s goal ended a run of four successive matches without scoring for Mikel Arteta’s men and in turn, secured only their second win in the last seven H2H meetings. Whilst for Wolves, defeat is far from ideal, but with a six-point gap to West Ham and two games in hand, the race isn’t run yet for Bruno Lage’s side.