Arsenal Bitten By Wolves

Coming off the back of 2 draws, you’d expect the Arsenal to pick up the pace again and start getting back to winning ways. Sadly that wasn’t the case, as we watched what was arguably our worst performance this season so far.

We all knew what Wolves were capable of, and we knew their defensive record was pretty solid, but did we expect them to come to the Emirates and put on a performance like that? I certainly didn’t. And you’d think that with the 11 Emery put out on the day, we would walk out comfortable winners. I mean, we had Iwobi, Laca, Auba and captain Özil to terrorize the Wolves’ defense… but did one of them rise to the occasion? Fuck no. I was at least pleased with the sight of Kolasinac starting games again, and I thought he’d be as much of an attacking threat as he was against Liverpool, but he too, let me down.

First half was shambolic. Wolves took the lead as early as 12 minutes in, receiving an absolute gift of a pass from Arsenal. Both Granit Xhaka and Sead Kolasinac at fault for the goal, as Kola played a strange pass towards Xhaka which made him think the pass wasn’t for him. The lack of communication was apparent as Xhaka let the ball roll past him into space where Wolves picked it up, drove forward into our box and put it away. It reminded me of the Xhaka in the past, as I disappointingly murmured “Here we go again.”

Arsenal drove forward quite promisingly a good few minutes later and came really close, but Lacazette’s shot was blocked off the line. Iwobi’s follow up shot was also blocked as Wolves threw bodies in front of their goal. They then caught a break and sprung a counter-attack with Helder Costa, who played extremely well on the day if I may add, and forced a great save out of Leno, who then so bravely threw himself in front of the follow up shot and smothered the ball. Wolves came bombing forward again later and Costa, again, forced another diving save out of Leno. Arsenal started yet another game really slowly as we went into half time in losing position. Even though I know we like to pick things up in the second half, I’m really starting to worry about this. There will be times where 45 minutes is not enough time to win a game, and I really hope we can work on starting games a bit better and getting the lead early on.

Second half started with a substitution, with Iwobi coming off for Guendouzi. I was quite puzzled by this, as I thought Iwobi was a positive in our side, trying to make things happen. With this sub, our formation shifted to somewhat of a 4-4-2 diamond shape, allowing Guendouzi and Xhaka to play as our CM’s, while Torreira sat deep as our DM. Özil then at the top of the diamond, with Laca and Auba as our main strikers. Surely this had to work? But it wasn’t as effective as we’d hoped…

Guendouzi registered our first shot on target in the 48th min. which is quite ridiculous if you think about it. No one testing the keeper in the entire first half? C’mon man. However, this shot from Guendouzi didn’t really test Rui Patricio though, as he gobbled it up quite easily. It was only on the 60th minute when he was tested truly, with what was quite a thunderbolt of a shot from Lucas Torreira. Patricio had to read it well as it was swerving and dipping in the air, but did so and tipped it over the bar. Loved that from Torreira though, having a shot when there was space and a chance. It’s something we don’t see too often from the Arsenal as they are programmed to look for a pass rather. Arsenal had a couple of clear cut chances afterwards, the first of which Bellerin placed over the crossbar. The second one, was supposed to be a goal, and can only go down as a bad miss from Aubameyang. Bellerin did well to drive in a cross which had to be tapped in, but Auba didn’t make the right contact with it, as the ball hit the outside of the post and went out. It was at this point where I was furious and confused, looking to the roof and wondering exactly what we had to do to get a goal.

Emery had seen enough from Özil and Kolasinac, as both weren’t having the greatest of games, and brought on Mhkitaryan and Rambo, the former being the most effective sub as it turned out. Wolves hit us with another counter and Leno once again came to the rescue. Later on, Guendouzi found Ramsey in the box, who brought it down well, turned and shot, but Patricio saved it as the ball went out for a corner. After that I accepted that it just might not be our day, as Wolves were clearly putting everything on the line to stop us from scoring. But with the corner taken quickly, Ramsey played the ball back to Mhki, who took a touch to look up and see who was in the box. He then sent in a curling effort which no one got on the end of, but confused the keeper enough for him to leave it, and ended up in the back of the net. 1 – 1 with 4 minutes + stoppage time to go to find a winner.

The dying minutes of the game saw Wolves come exceptionally close to nicking the game. With Arsenal throwing bodies forward to try and find a winner, Wolves hit us with another counter attack, this time Traore leading the attack. He beat Rob Holding, but Leno chose the right time to come out and denied the striker. Wolves again came close in the last minute, but their shot hit the inside of the post and bounced back into play, where Traore picked it up but was offside. Full time saw Arsenal draw their 3rd consecutive match in all competitions. I know we’re artists when it comes to football, but if we could stop drawing, that would be great.

Player Ratings:

Leno: 9/10 

Was definitely the man of the match, as he made some significant saves and kept us in the game. It’s great to see that he’s not only good with his feet, but with his hands too.

Bellerin: 6/10

Put in a good shift, had that key pass to Auba which should have been put away. Also had a shot blocked in the first half. However, also had the chance to bring us level but fucked up his shot.

Mustafi: 5/10

Was pretty quiet in this game. Didn’t do anything significant. Had two clear decisions go against him for throw ins, which was quite annoying, but those weren’t his fault I guess.

Holding: 6/10

Held his own pretty well. Very worried about his pace but overall he’s becoming a solid defender. Not his greatest game though.

Kolasinac: 4/10

I think we used up all of Kola’s energy in the Liverpool game. Looked tired and his passes weren’t coming off. Wasn’t tracking back enough, but hopefully he comes back refreshed after the international break.

Xhaka: 5/10

Definitely at fault for the goal. I would’ve given him a 4, but he showed real determination to drive forward in the second half, which I quite admired.

Torreira: 7/10

Loving this guy more and more. Had two attempts at goal, one of them forcing a save out of Patricio. Won back possession a lot for us and played the ball forward. Really solid player.

Özil: 5/10

A bit disappointed in Özil . Lacked creativity and service. Visibly frustrated and wasn’t the captain we know he could be on the day. Had to come collect the ball deep in midfield which is not what we like to see, unfortunately.

Iwobi: 6/10

Unfortunate to be subbed off at half time. I thought he posed a threat in the first half, and looked like he wanted to get the boys in front. No idea why he was subbed though…injury? Hopefully not.

Aubameyang: 4/10

Aubameyang was nowhere yesterday. He and Lacazette were very quiet and had no impact. -1 rating point though for missing that sitter.

Lacazette: 5/10

Lacazette, as mentioned above, had a quiet game. Not the greatest of games for him. Admired his attempts to make something happen but nothing came off. Also had his shot blocked in the first half.


Guendouzi: 6/10

Glad to have the teenager back after suspension. Only played in the second half but put a few good passes in and seemed composed in the midfield. Registered our first shot on target.

Mkhitaryan: 8/10

Him and Rambo only played for a few minutes. I thought he did well in that time. Got the goal that leveled things up and preserved our unbeaten record.

Ramsey: 7/10

Had a chance to score but his effort was brilliantly saved. In the end he provided the assist that got us on level terms.

Overall I was also quite disappointed in the crowd as well. From what I could hear, we weren’t singing and chanting enough. I feel like we should be doing this when we’re level, as well as when we’re losing. Not only when we’re winning. How do you expect these players to perform better when they can’t hear the support they’re getting? I also thought the ref’s were a bit ridiculous, especially in the beginning when they gave two throw ins to Wolves when it clearly should have been ours. Like Charlie Austin said in his post-match interview on Saturday, these officials need help now.

I was left bitterly disappointed after our display yesterday. It almost felt like I’d been cheated on. I guess we as Arsenal fans were left on cloud 9 after performing so well for so long, and now we’ve crashed down back to earth. We were very lucky not to lose that game. I normally don’t welcome international breaks, but this one I will. I think the boys and the coach need to take a breather and reevaluate/rebuild after these draws. Hopefully we come back after the interlull relaxed and ready to win again.

Come on you Gunners!