Good day one and all.
Arsenal is at the Molineux this evening wanting to get their top-four quest back on track against the Wolves pack of Nuno Espírito Santo.
The Gunners suffered a setback on Sunday as they slumped to a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace – ending a 16 match Emirates unbeaten run. The challenge now though is to get back to winning ways as a statement of intent that we haven’t given up hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
However, we will have our work cut out against Wolves who, for a promoted side, are playing with extraordinary competence and proven themselves worthy to compete against the league best – and they got a good home record to boot. They are unbeaten in their last nine games at the Molineux (all competitions). That is a run that include seven wins, some of which are fine victories over Liverpool, Leicester and United twice. Their last home defeat was against Crystal Palace on the 2nd January – imagine that. They especially seem to enjoy playing against the top-six sides as some of their earlier games this season include excellent wins against Chelsea (h) and Spurs (a), and credible draws against City (h) and Arsenal (a).
What all this mean is that Wolves will play the good stuff, something that usually will suit us but we have been struggling recently against Everton, Watford and Palace who all had a good go at us. And if you add Arsenal only having won two of our last ten away league games… there indeed is cause for concern.
We shouldn’t be too apprehensive though because the gulf between a decent team in form and a truly top class team is still quite significant. Defensive issues aside Arsenal always give themselves chances to put games to bed, our finishing just had been lacking even in games we got results in recent months.
Team news: Monreal, Torreira, Maitland-Niles and Sokratis (back from suspension) are all line to return to the matchday XI tonight, with doubts of Xhaka’s fitness Guendouzi could continue in the centre of midfield.
Going from seven changes to the line-up in one game to at least four in the next at the business end of the season with so much at stake can’t be good for team chemistry. Now I’m not taking anything away from Emery here because he deserves the benefit of the doubt for having us battling for top-four and in the last four in Europa while in transition. However, he needs to get the team settled because his tendency to tinker on a week to week basis could be a worry in the long run.
Wolves got some tricky players that has the potential to trouble and break down shaky defenses but we have to throw caution to the wind and just back our attack, because any dropped points now could inflict some serious damage to our top-four bid.
A win would see Arsenal back in 4th, above Chelsea and one point behind Spurs, with three league to go. Time to step up Gunners AND Gooners.