In a potentially season defining game, Arsenal managed a late comeback against a resilient Wolverhampton Wanderers, to put themselves in pole position for fourth spot.
The game started with a bang. Arsenal had a strong claim for a penalty waved away after Semedo clattered Gabriel Martinelli in the penalty area, before a Saïss goal from a set piece was ruled out for offside. Both teams were aggressive with their closing down, and their passing, giving the game a frenetic fell, and it was Wolves who went ahead.
A long ball down the Wolves left was sheperherded uncertainly towards the touchline by Gabriel, before he played a loose pass back towards his penalty area. Hwang, who was alert to the opportunity, got to the ball before Aaron Ramsdale, and kept his composure to roll the ball home from a tight angle.
Although Arsenal grew into the match, and looked to control proceedings, they found it hard going against a Wolves team that gave their hosts very little. Arsenal alternated between long passes and trying to play through the Wolves midfield, and neither were especially fruitful.
Arsenal’s best chances came from forcing errors from Wolves. Although the hosts racked up the shot count, clear sights of goal were few and far between, and Arsenal didn’t seem to have the quality to unlock the Wolves defence.
That changed in the last ten minutes. Good work from Eddie Nketiah, who seemed to be everywhere after coming on as a substitute, found Nicolas Pepe in the penalty area. The Ivorian showed real composure with his first touch, to spin onto his left, and his second touch fired home at the near post.
Arsenal weren’t done yet, and kept pushing, although Wolves still posed a threat on the counter. After Sa saved a shot from Saka, pushing it out to his left, but Arsenal kept coming. The ball ended up at the feet of Lacazette, who worked himself space and lifted the ball across goal from a tight angle. Sa, raising his hands to palm it away, inadvertently hit it into his net, and the damage was done. Arsenal are a point off United with two games in hand, while Wolves travel to West Ham next, two points behing them with one game more to play.
MORE: Is Conte leaving Tottenham already?
Arsenal vs. Wolves final score
Hwang — 10th min.
Pepe — 82nd min.
Jose Sa og — 95th min.
Arsenal vs. Wolves as it happened
Arsenal 2, Wolves 1
If Wolves didn’t enjoy the Arsenal celebrations a fortnight ago, they’ll hate these scenes! Jubliation at the Emirates, as Arsenal toiled, and toiled, and found a way through right at the death. Potentially a season defining moment.
95th min: GOAL!
Lacazette hasn’t stopped running all night, and he’s surely scored the winner! Saka cut in from the left and arrowed a shot towards the far corner, producing a superb stop from Jose Sa. Arsenal keep the ball on the right and work the ball into Lacazette. From a tight angle he lifts the ball across goal, and Sa, while trying to palm the ball away from goal, diverts the ball into his own net.
92nd min: Tierney is down with cramp, and Nuno Tavares comes on. Given how quickly he was ready, he was probably coming on anyway. Four minutes for either side to find a winner. Nketiah forces another turnover.
90th min: Jiménez stays on, and in the end Podence goes off for Dendoncker. A strange minute all round. Nketiah, who has done well since coming on, wins the ball in midfield. Wolves get bodies back, and Saka finds Xhaka’s underlapping run. Arsenal corner, six minutes added on.
88th min: Aït-Nouri’s cut back finds Neto, who steers the ball towards the bottom corner. It’s deflected wide by Gabriel, but the referee gives a free kick. At the other end, Ødegaard’s hot fails to hit the target. Jiménez is book after taking a long time to leave the pitch. He’s refusing to leave, and seemed to be asking to leave on the far side of the pitch. There’s confusion all around, and Martin Atkinson heads to the technical area to figure out what’s going on.
85th min: Lacazette pumps up the crowd after defending well in the left back position. The stadium is in good voice with four minutes plus injury time to go.
82nd min: GOAL!
Nicolas Pepe fires home! Ødegaard’s clipped ball over the top finds Nketiah in the right channel. He fires the ball in towards goal, where Pepe spins onto his left and finishes with real composure at the near post. Arsenal have worked very hard for that moment.
80th min: Pepe shuffles the ball in to Xhaka on the edge of the area. He tries to link with Lacazette, but the duo are on different wavelengths.
78th min: It’s Saka on the left, Pepe on the right, Nketiah up with Lacazette and a back three for Arsenal. Full time is within touching distance for the visitors now as Arsenal still labour to try and create a moment of real quality.
76th min: Another direct pass from Arsenal that is overhit. Arsenal bring on Eddie Nketiah for Cedric Soares, who the Wolves players are unhappy with after a loose arm when he went up for a header a couple of minutes ago.
74th min: Arsenal get into a dangerous position, but Lacazette’s attempt to play Saka through is too heavy, forcing him wide. Xhaka volleys a dropping ball towards the far post, but it’s blocked. Pedro Neto comes on the goalscorer, Hwang.
73rd min: A couple of Arsenal corners see the ball end up with Granit Xhaka thirty yards out. It’s smart play from him to evade pressure and slide the ball through to Ben White, who fires wide on his left.
71st min: Nice play from Arsenal, with Saka and Cedric combining well. Saka is driving laterally on his left foot and slides it back for Thomas Partey to shoot. Predictably, it doesn’t result in a goal. Pepe is on for Martinelli, who hasn’t been at his best. Lacazette forces a good save, Arsenal have a corner from the right.
69th min: It’s more of the same. Arsenal alternating between long balls, and trying to play through the pitch. Neither are really working, but they get a free kick just inside Wolves’ half after winning the ball, which is when Arsenal have seemed most dangerous. Nicolas Pepe is warming up.
67th min: Another Arsenal attack is repelled, Martinelli carries the ball into the box from the left, but he can’t find anyone with his pass.
65th min: Lacazette’s shot flicks off the top of the wall, and Sa manages to father it. Just before that counter, it felt like Arsenal had lost their rhythm during the stoppage for Semedo’s injury. They’ll have to find it again if they want to get something from this game.
63rd min: Arsenal counter, Lacazette tries to slip Saka in with a reverse pass, but it comes back to him, and he’s bundled over by Jonny. Arsenal free kick, left of centre, just over twenty yards.
62nd min: Gabriel has to head behind from a Podence cross, after a loose Ramsdale pass gives Wolves the chance to counter. There have been a couple of loose passes from the Arsenal ‘keeper tonight.
61st min: The Arsenal fans are frustrated as Semedo continues to receive treatment. He’s close to the touchline, and Lacazette helps him limp off the pitch. He’s replaced by Jonny, who returns from injury. He’ll have to get up to speed quickly.
59th min: Thomas Partey flights a ball over the top of the Wolves defence, but it’s just ahead of Bukayo Saka, who can only poke it out for a goal kick on the stretch. Arsenal are really squeezing Wolves here. Nelson Semedo is down, but Arsenal play on and make the most of it, Tierney knocks the ball inside to Martinelli, who fires it into the area. Lacazette has to take a touch and spin to finish, but he can’t find the target. Semedo is still getting treatment.
54th min: A moment of frustration as Ramsdale has the ball on the edge of his area but Arsenal don’t seem to have an option on the ball. Lacazette loses it and Arsenal think they’re away, but Conor Coady is penalised for fouling Ben White who looked to get to the ball first. The Wolves skipper is furious, as White went down without any contact, and he would have been through on goal. This game is coming to the boil nicely now.
51st min: Saka has a shot blocked and it bobbles around the Wolves area before a gold shirt gets a foot to it. Wolves get a moment on the ball, with Arsenal trying to press high.
50th min: Arsenal’s approach has been very direct, but it’s been asking a lot of Saka and Martinelli. Partey wins a free kick in midfield and there’s a slight cerfuffle. The free fick is thirty five yards out, right of centre.
47th min: Wolves play it well down their right, and find Hwang who runs off Gabriel. He’s clean through, and shoot from a very tight angle. It goes under Ramsdale, who gets something on it, and rolls across the goal, going out of play just past the far post.
46th min: We’re back underway. Much like the first half, Martinelli gets the ball in the box early on, this time from a Tierney cross. The Brazilian flashes it wide of the near post.
Wolves started sharply, and had the edge of the first ten minutes, but Arsenal came back into it. Both teams have gone fairly direct, and Arsenal have forced plenty of turnovers, but they’ve not been able to create quality chances in the final third. Few teams are better than protected a lead than Wolves, and Mikel Arteta has his work cut out for him at half time.
47th min: Saka gets on the ball and finds himself surrounded by gold shirts in the Wolves penalty area. He finds enough space to stab the ball towards the centre of the box, but there’s nobody there in support.
45th min: It’s a Wolves foray forward. Neves drills a ball into the area, which hits the shins of Gabriel. The ball is kept alive and Jiménez attacks a cross, which drops wire of the far post.
44th min: Ødegaard clips the ball into the area. It drops between Martinelli and Sa, and the keeper hesitates. Martinelli gets a foot to it and tries to lift it, but Sa gets his fingers to it, and gathers it at the second attempt.
42nd min: An Arsenal short corner sees Saka carry the ball into the area, but lose possession. Wolves fail to make the counter stick, and the ball ends up at the feet of Martinelli. He goes for goal from a tight angle, but Sa is equal to it.
40th min: Ruben Neves drills a pass out to the corner flag, and Semedo eats up the yards to get to it before Tierney. He skins the Scot to drive infield along the byline, but the ball rolls agonisingly out of play for the Wolves man before he can get to it.
37th min: Lacazette holds up the ball well on the left side of the Wolves’ area. Amidst a crowd of bodies he rolls the ball back into midfield, where Thomas Partey takes a touch before sending the ball into orbit. Bukayo Saka is booked for catching Hwang as Wolves look to counter.
36th min: Arsenal force Coady into a poor pass, and Martinelli and Lacazette try and punish the mistake, but Martinelli can’t find the target from Lacazette’s cross.
34th min: Arsenal play their way through the middle of the pitch, and it’s good work from Lacazette to get away from his man in midfield. He takes a shot on his weaker foot from twenty five yards, but doesn’t catch it well enough to trouble Sa. Arsenal win the ball high up and Saka tries to combine Lacazette in the middle, but his bicycle kick doesn’t quite work out. Wolves get a much needed spell on the ball.
30th min: Cedric’s cross sails over everyone in the area, including a grasping Jose Sa, to find Kieran Tierney on the far side. The Scot drills the ball back into the area, with Sa still retreating to his goal. Lacazette throws a foot at the cross, but it’s blocked by a Wolves body.
27th min: A few times now Arsenal have looked to be in a promising position, only for Lacazette to want more time than he has. The tempo is quick out there, and fine margins could make the difference. Wolves have lost possession a couple of times in dangerous positions now. Wolves take the best part of half a minute over a free kick, and the home fans aren’t happy. Wolves will point to Arsenal’s behaviour in the fixture two weeks ago.
24th min: Jiménez penalised for a high foot on the halfway line as Gabriel tried to head a loose ball, but the Arsenal free kick comes to nothing and Wolves get a spell on the ball.
21st min: Another good move from Arsenal. Cedric drives the ball into the centre of the pitch, where Ødegaard’s reverse pass finds Lacazette, who tries to take a touch rather than shooting, and the chance goes begging. Saka’s run in behind is found by Ben White, and Coady has to get across to block the shot.
20th min: The space left by Kieran Tierney during his forays forward look like something that Wolves might be targetting. Wolves are maintaining a compact shape, and choosing their moments to press well.
18th min: Arsenal have responded well, and they’re beginning to establish possession in Wolves’ half. Ødegaard has a shot blocked, but Saka is seeing more of the ball, and that will be a problem for the visitors.
15th min: Arsenal manage a moment of settled possession, it feels like the first time they’ve been able to breathe since the game started. Ramsdale is limping. Arsenal play through Wolves and Saka finds Lacazette running into the Wolves area. He dances round a couple of players and his shot goes wide from a tight angle. A goal kick is given, but it came off a Wolves defender and the Arsenal front man isn’t happy.
14th min: It’s not really sticking for Arsenal in the final third, and it doesn’t stick for Jiménez either. Somehow he finds himself in acres of space on the edge of Arsenal’s area, one on one with Aaron Ramsdale. The forward drags his shot well, well wide. Arsenal need to turn up soon if they’re going to get something from this game.
10th min: GOAL!
It’s Hwang who breaks the deadlock! Gabriel is drawn out to the right hand side by a long ball. He’s shepherding it towards the corner flag when he plays a really loose backpass. Hwang gets to it before Ramsdale, and finishes from a tight angle.
7th min: VAR took an uncomfortably long look at that for the home fans, but the decision stands and it’s still 0-0.
6yh min: It’s an assertive start from both sides, who are looking to attack quickly and close down out of possession. Semedo gets a chance to cross first time, but he takes a touch and Tierney gets back to concede a corner. Semedo’s follow through catches Tierney in an unpleasant area, but the Scot is up on his feet. The corner is cleared, and the second phase sees Saïss score. It’s flagged offside, but VAR is taking a look.
2nd min: It’s a fast start from Arsenal! They win possession high up and work it out Martinelli on the left. Semedo doesn’t get the ball, and Arsenal want a penalty, but Martin Atkinson isn’t convinced and it’s not overturned by VAR.
1st min: We’re off! Jiménez gets things underway.
2:45pm: The teams are out on the pitch, and kickoff is moments away!
2:22pm: It’s two in midfield for Wolves. Bruno Lage was pleased with how a midfield pairing managed against Arsenal a fortnight ago, and it’ll be the same setup today.
2:16pm: The teams are out to warm up under the floodlights. It’s a crisp evening in North London.
2:00pm: A couple of surprises in the Arsenal squad, with Tomiyasu and Smith-Rowe both absent tonight. Hwang is the only change for the visitors, who will likely line up with Hwang and Podence either side of Jiménez.
1:47pm: Wolves’ lineup is in too, with Hwang Hee-chan making his return to the XI:
— Wolves (@Wolves) February 24, 2022
1:46pm: The Arsenal team is in, with Martinelli returning from his one-game suspension:
? TEAM NEWS
?? Lacazette leads the line
?? Martinelli returns
?? Partey holds the midfield
⚡️ Let’s go, Gunners pic.twitter.com/gqbM7bDgsJ
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 24, 2022
1:40pm: Welcome to Sporting News’ coverage of Arsenal vs. Wolves, as the Gunners aim for a third straight win in the race for the Champions League spots.
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