Premier League leaders Arsenal take on a struggling Wolves side, as Mikel Arteta is eager to maintain momentum ahead of the World Cup break.
Steve Davis will take charge of Wolves for the final game before handing the reigns over to Julen Lopetegui. The World Cup break may not have come at a better time for the Midlands club, who were treading on a difficult path up until now.
New manager Lopetegui will have plenty of time to analyse and fix glaring issues with the squad during the break. However, Davis will be left in charge for the visit from Arsenal. Wolves seek to get out of the relegation zone. Their midweek win over Leeds United in the EFL Cup will fill the team with confidence, but the Gunners are a different animal this season.
Wolves’ major problems have come on the front line, as they are the lowest-scoring team in the division. They have scored only 8 times this season. They are the second-weakest defence after conceding 30 goals. Last weekend, 10-man Wolves were soundly beaten by Brighton, and facing Arsenal could result in further bad news for the club.
The Gunners come into this game at the back of a rare defeat on home soil. Brighton thoroughly beat Mikel Arteta’s much-changed side in the EFL Cup third-round clash. On the one hand, the manager had claimed Arsenal were serious about the competition, but an early exit could prove helpful in the title race.
Matchday ready 👊
📍 London Colney pic.twitter.com/KDudphMsm9
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 11, 2022
Arsenal proved their title credentials after a comprehensive victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last Sunday. The 1-0 scoreline failed to justify the dominating performance the Gunners put up against the Blues. Arteta’s side have won 11 of their 13 fixtures this season and carries the best defensive record on the road, conceding only four times.
Those four conceded goals have resulted in the five dropped points so far. Arteta will ensure that Arsenal remains on top of the table after the final matchday before the World Cup break. Plenty of their players are called up to their national sides, but the manager will work closely with fringe stars during the break.
Team News & Tactics
Wolves are missing a host of players ahead of the Arsenal clash. Diego Costa will serve the third and final game of his suspension. Nelson Semedo will be back after his red card last weekend, but a new hamstring injury hampered Jonny Otto’s recent return.
2020 ➡️ 2022 pic.twitter.com/sB1MM3vD49
— Wolves (@Wolves) November 11, 2022
Matheus Nunes could return after recovering from a shoulder issue, but Sasa Kalajdzic, Chiquinho, Pedro Neto, and Raul Jimenez remain sidelined with significant injuries. Tote Gomes was also back in midweek, but he is not expected to challenge either Max Kilman or Nathan Collins for a central defensive berth.
Davis will return Jose Sa after resting the first-choice keeper for the midweek clash. The manager could use a familiar backline despite the problems with conceding too many goals.
He could also sustain the recent tweak in the attacking third, which saw Goncalo Guedes leading the line. The changes have resulted in goals against Brighton, and Davis might continue with that style.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1) – Jose Sa; Semedo, Collins, Kilman, Bueno; Nunes, Neves; Hee-Chan, Podence, Traore; Guedes
Arteta will make at least ten changes from the midweek clash, with only William Saliba retaining his place. The Gunners fielded a much-changed squad against Brighton, which ensured most of Arsenal’s Premier League regulars were fresh for the final game before the break.
All set for Saturday ✅ pic.twitter.com/BDfAMupVJV
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 11, 2022
Takehiro Tomiyasu is fighting to get fit ahead of the World Cup, and there is positive news about the Japanese defender. Emile Smith-Rowe is the only other absentee ahead of the Wolves clash, with the attacker likely to return during this mid-season break.
Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, and Oleksandr Zinchenko will form the Arsenal backline. Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka are the preferred midfielders Arteta will choose for the weekend. Martin Odegaard will play the advanced role ahead of the two central midfielders.
The Arsenal attack will have a familiar ring to it. Gabriel Jesus will lead the lineup front, while Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli will support the Brazilian from either wing.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1) – Ramsdale; Ben White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Jesus
- Wolves have failed to win 19 of their last 21 matches in the Premier League.
- Wolves are the lowest scorers this season in the Premier League with 8-goals.
- Arsenal have kept a clean sheet in 5 of their last 7 away matches in the Premier League.
- Arsenal have the meanest defensive record away from home, conceding four times.
- Arsenal have yet to concede a Premier League goal in the opening 30 minutes of matches this season.
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It would have been a relief for Jesus after seeing his name in the Brazil squad. The news might have relieved the pressure on the forward’s shoulders, considering he’s on a dreadful run of form in front of the goal. Can that help the striker end his goal drought? It will be a question by Arsenal fans, as he could head to the World Cup high on confidence.
Taking the attention away from Jesus’ goal drought, the forward certainly brings more to the table from a tactical standpoint. He is also the club’s joint highest assist provider and the centre-forward that Arteta desperately wanted. Yet again, all eyes will be on the Brazilian as he seeks to score for the Gunners in a Premier League game.
Wolves 0-3 Arsenal
The Gunners are in high spirits at the moment, and Arteta will demand continuation in their form ahead of the final game before the break. Wolves have proved a bit difficult in the past for Arsenal, but going by their current form, the north Londoners are overwhelming favourites to win here.
Additionally, Arsenal’s defensive record this season has been phenomenal, especially away from home. Moreover, Wolves have the worst possible attacking stats this term, which points towards a comprehensive victory for the Gunners at Molineux.