73 Comments

Into The Wolves Den.

Aubameyang_1045x658
Arsenal continue their endeavour for a top-six finish with a trip to the Molineux Stadium this afternoon, to face fellow European hopefuls Wolverhampton Wanderers in a Premier League clash.
These two teams come into this match on the back of three-straight victories; though it should be noted, in somewhat friendly fixtures for both sides.
Good day one and all.
Following a pair of disappointing results that have left Arsenal a bit sombre, they have bounced back and are on a decent run that have put them firmly in the dogfight for European spots as the season enters it’s closing stages.
However, Mikel Arteta will be aware that our upcoming four fixtures against Wolves, Leicester City, Spurs and Liverpool will not only be more challenging, but also that we cannot afford to drop too many points if we are to break into the top-six.
Meanwhile, Wolves have kept a clean sheet in each of their three games post-lockdown, and have shown no signs of complacency in pursuit of Champions League football. They’re currently just two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the league table.
No doubt this will be the more trickier game for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side since the restart, be that as it may, they are yet to lose to the Gunners in three meetings following their return to the top-flight (W1, D2). When we made the trip to the Molineux last season they beat us 3-1, which they will remember fondly.
Team news
With Arsenal playing their third game in seven days and the fixture schedule not slowing down soon… Mikel could change few things up.
Maybe not in the middle of the park though as Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos, who have formed a laudable partnership, look nailed on with Matteo Guendouzi’s ongoing absence due to disciplinary concerns. That said, should the coach need to freshen things up Ainsley Maitland-Niles is an option with Lucas Torreira, who is back fit, likely to make the bench.
Cédric Soares scored within minutes after being brought on for his debut against Norwich and, with Hector Bellerín due a rest sooner or later, could be in line for his first start.
Prediction
This promises to be a fascinating tie with both sides on a good run as well as competing for a spot in Europe next season.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is leading the race for the PL’s golden boot with 19 goals, but also no PL player has scored more goals across all competitions than Raul Jimenez’s 24. Therefore, this could be a game to be won by the defence of either side.
Difficult to call, but one thing we can expect is that both teams will leave their hearts out on the pitch. COYG!
— Labo

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73 comments on “Into The Wolves Den.

  1. mandy unless I missed it, despite us being penned back in the second half, Wolves did not really work Martinez.

    don’t say it too loud but Mustafi very good once again, and despite what the hissy fit brigade were saying and predicting, David Luiz was good before and after his booking, and they of course will not have notice that his foul was exactly the sort of foul Arteta wants the team to make, we were open at the back and in real danger if he let the lad go, so he took the card.

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  2. What a win.

    Amazingly played. Everyone fought amazingly.

    Inspite of Oliver making every effort to help wolves.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi DC – Im guessing that they would have still been away games without the lockdown, but I know what you mean!

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  4. we play 3rd placed Leicester on Tuesday, we are 9pts behind them

    we could do with a few favors done for us in other games in coming hours, days and weeks

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  5. Very profession… More of M Arteta is coming into the team… We often have to win many or draw even despite the refs… today being one of those days… happy for the boys

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  6. Arteta: “You can see all the teams that are in the title race, that win championships, the amount of clean sheets they have.”

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  7. so how will MOTD make it seem like Wolves should have won this game

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  8. Some of these boys are working harder than they have ever done before and are enjoying the joy that comes with effort, development and success. Arteta is a great and natural leader. We are lucky to have him and I feel sure he will take the club to the places that the owners surely want. They will back him now.

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  9. well Arteta made it clear from day one that above all else players had to put in full effort, be committed to what we are trying to do, that anyone not buying into this vision would not be in the team, and he has been a man of his word. For me that is the biggest thing, if you want players to buy into a new vision they have to see that the head coach can be trusted. Guys who Emery tried to force out such as Mustafi, Xhaka and Ozil were all brought back in by Arteta, Guendouzi who was the chosen one for Emery has been told in no uncertain manner that he has to buck up his ideas or he can fuck off, it looks like he would rather fuck off, and no one should cry any tears over that, as Arteta has explained, there is no half measures under him, you are either “on board” or you can fuck off out of the boat altogether.

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  10. I know we are not yet at the level – nor have all the players we might need to be there – right now to win leagues and cups, but to me this is starting to be excting again. It is just possible that Mailtland Niles, Willock, Nketiah, Saka and Martinelli develop into exceptional players. Granit Xhaxa may well become the best of them all.

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  11. Wow – enjoyed that.I thought we defended well (conceded fewer than Chelsea and Spurs by the way)
    Hard fought but deserved, Michael Oliver did his worst but Arsenal not to be denied.

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  12. I have said it many times in recent years that so many gooners have a wrong view of Michael Oliver, due to him sending off Di Maria in the cup game v Man Utd, Oliver is very poor towards Arsenal, he sent off Di Maria not for anything he did to an AFC player, it was for having the audacity to actually put a hand on Michael Oliver of the PGMOL.

    Where AFC is concerned Michael Oliver is no different to Atkinson, Dean, Taylor or Moss, they are all a shower of bias cunts

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  13. Mikel Arteta says our victory at Wolves was “one of the best” of his reign as our head coach.

    We sealed a big three points thanks to goals from Bukayo Saka and Alex Lacazette, and afterwards the boss faced the media.

    This is what he told them:

    on where does that rank in his wins as head coach…
    That is probably one of the best because of the difficult schedule that we had compared to them in terms of the recovery. And for how well they have been doing for the whole season and because of COVID-19. To come here and win the way we have done today is not an easy thing to do, it’s another step forward in our process so I am really happy today.

    on answering questions about the mentality of his side…
    No, I said after Brighton that I was very, very happy with the effort. I never denied the effort and the intention that they were putting in. It’s that we cannot give anything to the opponent and that’s about competing for 100 minutes in these games and we have to evolve in that. Hopefully we are doing much better and that will give us a better chance to win football games.

    on the Leicester and Tottenham matches defining our season…
    Every game we have no margin for error and we knew that. We try to win every game if we can and let’s enjoy tonight a little bit and then tomorrow we can starting thinking about Leicester and try to go again.

    on if he feels in the race for the Champions League spots…
    I am in the race to try and win against Leicester and then let’s see what happens. Two weeks ago it looked impossible and we know the fixtures that we have in the next few weeks… we try to improve as a team every time to give us a better chance, the better we play the better we compete. At this level of intensity if we play like this against any team we will make it hard from them and then we will see.

    on the character of his side…
    I think the reason we can win against any team is because at the moment we are enjoying suffering together. In difficult moments, if you can enjoy doing that then you will get rewarded because we have the ability afterwards to hurt teams. At the moment, we don’t have the ability to batter teams for 95 minutes. If you are not able to do that you have to be very able to compete and be a team. A team means that the 11 who started and all of the subs really make a difference in the game.

    on why Saka played on the right…
    Well, I had a lot of doubt about what to do before the game. So the moment we have a situation with Nico, it was clear. I was trying to find something with Bukayo in that position. It is true that in the first half he had some moments where he struggled but then he started understanding things better after 20 minutes. He scored a really good goal but I really liked the way he kept trying and trying and trying rather than putting his head down and being disappointed.

    on the physical test of fixture congestion…
    I don’t want to talk about that, it’s all in our head. We have everybody ready. You can see the players on the bench, how ready they are to come and make an impact. It’s clear that we have to rotate the players if we want to get the maximum [out of them] and we have to protect them as well. Whoever is available is welcome and we will use him.

    on the defensive improvement…
    You can see all the teams that are in the title race, that win the championship, the amount of clean sheets that they need in order to do that. The more we improve here, the more solid we are, the more chances we are going to have to win football games. It’s simple, obviously we still have a lot of things to improve in our attacking patterns, the way we use the spaces, the way we read the other team, but that will come. This was down to 11 players defending every time the ball was at the opponents’ feet.

    on if the group is closer together now…
    Since I’ve joined, I’ve seen some really good things about how they treat each other and how much they enjoy being together. I think they understand more what we are looking for from them, what we expect from them and this always brings the team together because as I said to you before, when you suffer together and you see your teammates giving absolutely everything for you, someone makes a mistake, the other one puts it right… It makes you feel proud to be where you are, and that’s slowly why we have to try to evolve and get better and do it in a very consistent way.

    on whether the team is closer together now…
    To be fair, since I joined I’ve seen some really good things about how they treat each other and how much they enjoy being together. I think the understand more now what we are looking for from them and what we expect from them, and these wins bring the team together because as I’ve said to you before, when you suffer together and you see your teammates giving absolutely everything for you, someone makes a mistake and the other one puts you right and it makes you feel proud of what you are. That’s slowly what we have to try to do. We need to work on getting better and then do it in a very consistent way.

    on Saka’s first Premier League goal and whether it will be the first of many…
    Hopefully, yes! He has the ability to do that. He’s very neat when he gets in the opponent’s box, whether that’s to produce an assist or finish an action. I think the move was really good too. He was in the right spot at the right moment and it was a very important goal.

    on securing our first away win over a team above us in the table for five years…
    We just try to inspire them, but it’s not me. Unfortunately I cannot help them much, it’s them that make all the decisions on the pitch and the way they fight and believe. In certain moments we knew that physically we couldn’t maintain the moments that they had because of when we played, but they believed and when you believe and you’re happy to do the work, you get rewarded. I’m really happy with the win today.

    on Laca scoring his first Premier League away goal in 18 months…
    Well, he really needed that, but when I asked him to come in, in three seconds he was ready to jump on the pitch. Things like this happen and he had a great movement of the ball, a great touch and a great finish. We need to give him more opportunities to be able to do more of that, but I’m so happy for him because he completely deserves that for the way that he trains and plays every day.

    on Mustafi finding form…
    We try to help every player to improve, first of all to feel that we trust them. They can make mistakes, of course, but if they are willing and they are happy to try again, I think they will get the rewarded and Musti’s attitude, his training, attention levels, the questions he’s asking and how much he wants to help everybody has been really good since I joined. I think it’s a consequence of his performances.

    on Xhaka becoming a vital part of his midfield…
    Yeah, he was pivotal today and I think him and Dani dictated the game really, really well for the first 45 minutes. And then when the game plan changed a little bit and we suffered, they read the situation really well and gave the team exactly what they needed. They had to manage the game but in times they did it with great maturity and I know his character, he’s a great personality and he’s so focused that he deserves to be helped and then when he puts in performances like today, the team is really happy with him.

    on whether he’s now more vocal on the touchline during behind closed door fixtures…
    Yes, because now they can hear me, or they pretend to hear me at least! With 60,000 it’s much more difficult, but that’s the way I like to coach. Sometimes it’s probably too much for the players, but we just try to help them.

    on what he tried to tell Dani Ceballos during the game…
    It was just to try and make him aware all the time of the situations that are happening on the pitch and try to help him to make the best possible decisions.

    Copyright 2020 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

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  14. Just been told that Arsenal have never lost in the Premier league when Arteta has played Xhaka, haven’t checked it and stand to be corrected, but like the sound of that Stat

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  15. not correct Mandy, we have not lost in the EPL under Arteta in games Xhaka has played the full game, we lost to Man City when he started, but went off injured after 8 minutes

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  16. Thanks Eduardo, Think they lost against Olym as well, outside the Prem league of course, but I have a been in my bonnet about some of Xhakas treatment , and that eight mins, that’s close enough for me at least as yet another illustration of how valuable Xhaka is to this team, that along with the overall win ratio when he plays. And Arteta seems at pains to emphasise his importance and qualities. How could anyone who actually watches us play, supporter or ex manager ever doubt this essential player, no matter what those with agendas would have us believe.
    Great to see our keeper doing so well too now he is given his chance. Not sure on Argentina’s gk situation, and know he has been called to squads up before, but they could do a lot worse than take a look at our man

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  17. Superb result. Not seen it but sounds like we worked very hard to get it.

    Saw clip of Saka’s goal. Reminded me of number of his finishes with youth teams. The kid’s got it and only cloggers can halt his progress.

    I guess now we’re back with a sniff it’ll be Oliver and co for upcoming games.

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  18. Just to put record straight Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-0 at the Emirates in 2018/19 campaign.Chelsea finished 3rd that season. So saying that it was first win against team above us for 5 years is wrong. Dont expect such mistakes at Arsenal official website.

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  19. Good win and a collective team performance. Arteta has shown he can succeed Big Weng to some extent.
    The only thing missing is the Wengerball we were so fond of watching. Guess it will also come with time.

    My usual taunt at the WOBs will continue as they thought we will be world beaters once big Weng goes. May I ask the idiots at AFTV Gunners Legroan etc that where is the League title they promised to deliver as soon as Arsene leave the club?

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  20. rosicky first away win

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  21. well Mandy, re Xhaka, as I told someone yesterday on twitter who said we need an upgrade on Xhaka, we don’t need to upgrade on Xhaka, we need to upgrade his midfield partners

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  22. Ed

    May be some clues about Xhaka’s ideal mid partners in Swiss lineups. Don’t know if last Euro’s or World Cup but they had that ex West Ham player Behrami with him, and seemed detailed to do most of the quick sprints to close people down and be hyper alert if anyone ran behind Xhaka/midfield. he was faster than I recalled and did good job of it.

    Think he’s gone now and seems to be Zakaria who often gets nod. He’s big and pretty fast so again I expect he’s tasked with stuff requiring good recovery speed/ acceleration.

    Partey might be a good fit. I think and hope Arteta is on lookout for someone to partner Xhaka in there.

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