It looked like Wolves – Arsenal would be a routine away win, but then the Gunners imploded as they chucked away a lead and were reduced to nine men as they lost at Molinuex.
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Nicolas Pepe gave a deserved lead but then David Luiz was sent off right on half time as he also conceded a penalty kick that Ruben Neves dispatched. Joao Moutinho’s beauty won it for Wolves, as Arsenal had to play a good chunk of the second half with nine men as goalkeeper Bernd Leno was inexplicably sent off for handling outside the box.
With the win, their first in 10 games, Wolves move on to 26 points for the season. Arsenal lost for the first time in eight games to remain on 31 points.
Three things we learned
1. Luiz, Leno unlucky, sum up Arsenal’s problems: The Gunners were so comfortable heading into half time, then Luiz clipped Willian Jose who was clean through and was sent off and conceded a penalty kick. It was a little harsh on Luiz, as he didn’t make an attempt to play the ball so he was sent off. Had he slid in to stop Jose he would have only got a yellow card. Anyway, the fact Arsenal left themselves so exposed with one ball through the middle of the defense, right on half time, will annoy Arteta. It was a massive mental lapse. As for Leno’s red card, the wet conditions saw him misjudge a bounce and that was that. Arsenal were their own worst enemies once again and missed a great chance to close the gap on those battling for the top four ahead of them, as they started well but them imploded.
2. Wolves handed lifeline: This is the lucky break that Wolves needed to turn their season around. They were unlucky to lose at Crystal Palace at the weekend and have been better than their recent results suggest, as they have lacked confidence since Raul Jimenez’s horrendous skull fracture at Arsenal earlier this season. Willian Jose has added a cutting edge up top and Nuno Espirito Santo’s side will push for the top 10 if injuries, and luck, is kind to them.
3. Saka, Partey dominated early on: The Gunners were dominant early on and Bukayo Saka could have scored a hat trick as Thomas Partey dominated midfield. Partey was excellent in winning and then using the ball, while Saka kept popping up in dangerous areas as he hit the post and had a goal disallowed. Arsenal were made to pay for not taking their chances early on and the sending off at half time changed the game.
Man of the Match: Joao Moutinho – A strike worthy of winning any game and he used all of his experience to slow things down and help Wolves get over the line. Class is permanent.
Arsenal should have been ahead inside the first minute, as a lovely ball over the top from Thomas Partey found Bukayo Saka, but he smashed his shot against the post.
Saka then forced Rui Patricio into a fine stop down low after Cedric surged forward, and moments later it looked like he had given Arsenal the lead with a fine finish but Lacazette was offside in the build up.
Max Kilman headed just over as Wolves recovered from a sluggish start, as Bernd Leno pushed Nelson Semedo’s shot away. Nicolas Pepe almost put Arsenal ahead before half time, but Patricio saved well, but the Ivory Coast winger then did superbly to dribble in from the left and curl a beauty into the far corner for the opener.
Right on half time the game changed on its head as David Luiz was sent off for clipping Willian Jose, as he also gave away a penalty kick that Neves converted brilliantly.
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Right at the start of the second half Wolves took the lead in stunning fashion as Moutinho smashed home from distance, and Wolves then kept the ball well to frustrate Arsenal.
Saka still caused problems, despite Arsenal being down a man, but it was Wolves who caused problems on the break.
The night then went from bad to worse for Arsenal as Leno was sent off. The Arsenal goalkeeper misjudged the ball as it skipped off the surface and he handled the ball outside the box to deny a clear goalscoring opportunity and was shown a red card.
Substitute Alex Runarsson made a couple of fine stops to deny Wolves a third, as nine-man Arsenal never really looked like equalizing.