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Arsenal 2-1 Wolves: Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard strike early to put Gunners four clear at top of Premier League

Report and highlights as Arsenal moved four points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 win over Wolves; Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard scored twice in the first 13 minutes to put the Gunners in control; Matheus Cunha set up a grandstand finish with four minutes to go

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of the Premier League clash between Arsenal and Wolves

Arsenal moved four points clear at the top of the Premier League after another fast start earned them a 2-1 win over Wolves.

After scoring five first-half goals in their 6-0 Champions League demolition of RC Lens in midweek, the Gunners were quick out of the traps once again with two goals in the first 13 minutes.

Bukayo Saka showed persistence to fire past Jose Sa after six minutes, before Martin Odegaard coolly completed a fine team move from the edge of the area seven minutes later.

But while Arsenal got off to a good start, they failed to kill the game and that allowed Matheus Cunha to pull one back in the 86th minute to set up a tense finish at a freezing Emirates Stadium.

Bukayo Saka makes it 1-0 to Arsenal
Image: Bukayo Saka opened the scoring early for the league leaders

Arsenal held on for the win, which puts them four points clear of Manchester City - who take on Tottenham on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports.

How Arsenal held on in the cold

Arsenal were in a clinical mood in the opening exchanges - scoring from their first two shots inside the first 20 minutes.

Team news

  • Arsenal made one change from their 6-0 win over Lens in midweek - Leandro Trossard started over Kai Havertz in midfield.
  • Wolves made four changes from their 3-2 loss to Fulham on Monday. Hugo Bueno replaced the injured Rayan Ait-Nouri in midfield, Tommy Doyle and Boubacar Traore came in for the suspended Joao Gomes and Mario Lemina. Craig Dawson returned from suspension to replace Santi Bueno.

First, Saka played an incisive ball into Gabriel Jesus on the right wing and continued his run into the box. Takehiro Tomiyasu gave him the ball in the box and he burst past Craig Dawson to slam past Sa.

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The Gunners doubled their lead seven minutes later, as Oleksandr Zinchenko played a slick one-two with Jesus and cut the ball back for Odegaard, who slammed home.

Arsenal kept on going with Leandro Trossard denied by a Sa block from close range after a defence-splitting pass from Odegaard.

But that ended up being the Wolves goalkeeper's last action of the game as he was replaced by Daniel Bentley after picking up a knock in the move.

Arsenal kept going with Gabriel Martinelli and Declan Rice seeing shots blocked - before the former hit the outside of the post after being found on the break by Saka.

Player ratings

Arsenal: Raya (6); Tomiyasu (7), Saliba (6), Gabriel (7), Zinchenko (7); Rice (7), Odegaard (7), Trossard (6)); Saka (8), Jesus (8), Martinelli (6)

Subs: Nketiah (5), Havertz (6), White (6), Jorginho (n/a), Kiwior (n/a)

Wolves: Sa (4); Dawson (5), Kilman (6), Toti (6); Semedo (7), Bellegarde (5), Traore (6), Doyle (6), Bueno (5); Hwang (5), Cunha (7)

Subs: Bentley (7), Doherty (6), Sarabia (6), Kalajdzic (n/a)

Player of the match: Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal)

For Wolves, it was a brutal first half - with their only sight of goal coming late in the half as Hee-Chan Hwang was denied at his feet by David Raya after a mix-up between William Saliba and Zinchenko.

Wolves did improve at the start of the second period, with Cunha forcing Raya into a smart near-post stop after beating Rice down the left.

But Arsenal continued controlling the tempo of the game by keeping the ball away from Wolves. Rice blasted wide from distance, before Saka put a 25-yard curling effort inches over Bentley's far post. As the game went into a lull, there was concern for Arsenal as Tomiyasu came off injured.

Arsenal's Takehiro Tomiyasu goes off injured
Image: Arsenal's Takehiro Tomiyasu goes off injured

The Gunners' inability to get a third did end up biting them as Wolves pulled one back. Zinchenko dithered on the ball so Nelson Semedo snuck in, before feeding Cunha to slam home past Raya.

And despite Eddie Nketiah missing a big chance to seal the points after being put through and hitting the post, Arsenal held on for another slender victory.

Arteta: Arsenal extraordinary again today

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Mikel Arteta felt Arsenal dominated the game in their 2-1 win over a well-organised Wolves side

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta to Sky Sports:

"I am really happy with the way we played and dominated the game, the big situations we generated to win the game more comfortably. At the end, we made an error and then it's game on in this league. The team was extraordinary today, again.

"The aggression we showed to play forward and take risks and find gaps in the right moments. We were really aggressive again, defensively definitely. I'm really happy.

"We have to find solutions, the chemistry between the players and keep developing that. Today we generated a lot against a team that is very well organised and they have shown against the top teams what they are capable of doing.

"We are happy with the performances we are having, they are really consistent. We are generating a lot and not conceding much. We have to continue with another big one on Tuesday.

"We train really little, we have one day to prepare for football matches, making sure everyone is physically and mentally in the best condition and maintain momentum, that's it."

O'Neil: First goal came because it's easy to concede penalties

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Gary O'Neil knew playing Arsenal away would be a tough game and was pleased his Wolves side gave everything they had

Wolves manager Gary O'Neil:

"I wasn't really disappointed with the performance as such for the first 20 minutes, more the first goal. Because we'd organised ourselves to be in a low block at times, to get people around Saka and Martinelli.

"Saka gets the ball and we're perfectly in shape, with three or four bodies around him, but he still finds a way of wriggling through. Then we're slightly hesitant in the penalty area, in the game at the moment it's easy to give away penalties.

"Second goal was brilliant from Arsenal. But apart from that the game looked how we prepped for it to look. When you concede two first the place lifts and Arsenal are on the front foot, we struggled to have any spell. 2-0 as we saw on Wednesday night can turn into a long 90 minutes for you.

"I thought the referee's performance was very good, decision-making wise, just a slight disappointment over the added time. Not the amount that was put up, there was a lengthy stoppage, they said they would go to 98 minutes.

"Arsenal took an age with their free-kicks. The ball was out of play for so much of that. You don't expect Arsenal to be time-wasting, but if we had done that away at the Emirates we would have been given yellow cards. There's no criticism of Arsenal, I would have done the same."

Analysis: Jesus key but do Arsenal still need a striker?

Arsenal's Gabriel Jesus was brilliant for the Gunners but is he the answer?
Image: Arsenal's Gabriel Jesus was brilliant for the Gunners but is he the answer?

Sky Sports' Sam Blitz at the Emirates Stadium:

Most managers would have squirmed if they saw their injured striker playing international football - but thankfully it seems to have paid off for Mikel Arteta when it comes to Gabriel Jesus.

The Brazilian striker has yet to score in the Premier League since returning from his hamstring injury during the international break - but he played such a vital role in Arsenal's 2-1 win over Wolves.

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Arsenal legend Paul Merson is confident his former side can go on to win the Premier League this season

Jesus did not score, did not assist - but played two crucial passes in the build-up to both of Arsenal's early goals which ultimately proved crucial in them going four points clear at the top. That is what he does - his link-up play is so efficient that it unites an attack which has scored eight goals in a week.

But despite their dominance, Arsenal failed to seal the points and it ultimately led to Wolves creating a nervy ending by halving the deficit late on.

Jesus' finishing was part of that - missing a total xG of 0.63 - the second-highest total in the game behind Leandro Trossard, another option for that No 9 spot, who did not score from five shots.

Jesus missed several big chances despite playing a big role in Arsenal's two goals
Image: Jesus missed several big chances despite playing a big role in Arsenal's two goals

And when Eddie Nketiah hit the post in a key one-on-one chance to wrap the game, questions lingered over Arsenal's quality in that centre-forward role. Jamie Carragher said Arsenal cannot win the league due to them playing too close to the fine margins - these missed Arsenal chances are part of that.

Nobody is complaining about Arsenal's attacking quality after eight goals in a week, but Arteta is the brutal perfectionist and may need that clinical goalscorer to seal results. Will he make a move in January?

FPL stats: Arsenal 2-1 Wolves

Goals Saka, Odegaard | Cunha
Assists: Tomiyasu, Zinchenko | Semedo
Bonus Points Odegaard (3), Tomiyasu (2), Bentley (1)

What's next?

Live: SNF

Arsenal face a trip to Luton Town on Tuesday, kick-off 8.15pm before heading to Villa Park on Saturday, kick-off 5.30pm, to play Aston Villa - a game live on Sky Sports.

Wolves are also in action on Tuesday when they host Burnley, kick-off 7.30pm. It is then Nottingham Forest on Saturday at Molineux, kick-off 3pm.

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