Wolves 3-1 Arsenal: Gunners top-four hopes dealt blow
Watch highlights as Wolves ripped Arsenal apart with three first-half goals; Arsenal stay fifth after second successive defeat
By Oliver Yew
Last Updated: 25/04/19 6:18am
Arsenal's hopes of a top-four finish suffered another significant blow as Wolves eased past Unai Emery's side 3-1 at Molineux on Wednesday evening.
Arsenal stay fifth in the Premier League, a place outside of the Champions League spots, after their second defeat in less than a week.
The Gunners needed to avoid defeat to regain fourth place from Chelsea but the hosts ripped them apart with three goals in 19 first-half minutes from Ruben Neves (28), Matt Doherty (37) and Diogo Jota (45+2).
Sokratis gave Arsenal hope of a late comeback, heading in from a corner in the 80th minute but it proved to be only a consolation as Emery's team followed Sunday's loss to Crystal Palace with another serious setback.
Arsenal's away woes
Arsenal have won just six times on the road this season and still face tricky trips to Leicesterand Burnley as they look to secure a top-four finish
A first top-flight victory over the Gunners since 1979 sees Wolves, who move up to seventh, add another top-six scalp to their record following wins over Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham this season.
Wolves: Patricio (7), Doherty (8), Bennett (8), Coady (7), Boly (8), Jonny (8), Neves (8), Moutinho (7), Dendocker (7), Jota (9), Jimenez (8).
Subs: Cavaleiro (6), Traore (n/a), Gibbs-White (n/a).
Arsenal: Leno (4), Maitland-Niles (4), Sokratis (5), Koscielny (5), Monreal (4), Torreira (4), Xhaka (5), Iwobi (5), Ozil (4), Mkhitaryan (4), Lacazette (5).
Subs: Guendouzi (6), Kolasinac (5), Nketiah (6).
Man of the match: Diogo Jota
How Wolves ripped apart Arsenal
Arsenal started brightly and enjoyed lots of early possession, but things quickly unravelled for the visitors after Neves gave Wolves the lead in the 28th minute, curling home a 20-yard free-kick after Nacho Monreal had fouled Jonny.
Wolves quickly doubled their advantage in the 37th minute, exploiting Arsenal's frailties when defending set-pieces. With Bernd Leno in no man's land, Doherty headed in Jonny's cross.
It then went from bad to worse for Arsenal on the stroke of half-time, with Jota firing through Leno, who should have done better, to make the game all but safe.
It could have got even better for Nuno Espirito Santo's side at the start of the second half but the impressive Jota could not control Raul Jimenez's cross when unmarked at the far post.
Arsenal had 71 per cent of possession but were bereft of a cutting edge in the final third.
They eventually managed to get on the scoresheet when Sokratis rose above Neves in the six-yard box to head in Granit Xhaka's corner at the far post, but it proved only to be a consolation, leaving them with it all to do in the top-four battle.
Arsenal's remaining Premier League fixtures
|Apr 29: Leicester (A) - Live on SSPL|
|May 4: Brighton (H) - Live on SSPL|
|May 12: Burnley (A)|
Emery: Defending worried me
Top-four race: Sky Bet odds…
Man of the Match - Diogo Jota
Jota epitomised Wolves' energetic display. He was a bundle of energy and was a constant threat for the hosts as they looked to counter-attack Arsenal at every opportunity.
Jota, who got his reward for his excellent display by scoring Wolves' third on the stroke of half-time, has now been directly involved in seven goals in his last five Premier League appearances for Wolves at Molineux (5 goals, 2 assists).
- Wolves have ended their 20-game winless streak against Arsenal (D4 L16), with this their first victory against the Gunners in all competitions since September 1979.
- This is Arsenal's heaviest Premier League defeat against a newly promoted team since a 2-0 loss to Newcastle United in May 1994.
- Wolves are one of three promoted sides to have beaten at least four sides to finish that season in the top six in a single Premier League campaign, after Sunderland in 1996-97 and Blackburn in 1992-93.
- Wolves are the first newly-promoted team to earn 50 points in a Premier League season since Birmingham in 2009-10.
- Only Jimenez (23) has been directly involved in more Wolves goals in all competitions this season than Doherty (15; 8 goals and 7 assists).
- Neves has more goals (4) than he has touches (3) in the opposition's box in the Premier League this season. Only Charlie Mulgrew (10) and Harry Wilson (9) have scored more goals from outside the box since the start of last season in the top four English tiers than Neves (8).
Nuno Espirito Santo on trying to finish seventh: "It doesn't mean anything, you can repeatedly ask that but our aim is always the next game. We must look where we came from, let's go step by step.
"I am very proud of the way we work and how the players engage themselves because we give everything we have and that's what makes me proud - the belief in ourselves. Playing against any team is difficult but Arsenal have quality players. In order to create anything we had to be organised and work hard on the shape of the team. Movement off the ball was also very important.
"It was a good performance against a top team. It was a fantastic performance from the players." It's good. We've been able to do good performances and achieve some good games. We have the next game, it doesn't mean anything. Our aim is just to improve game by game."
"We have the next game, it doesn't mean anything. Our aim is just to improve game by game."
Unai Emery: "We lost in our hands the opportunity for fourth but we can also recover this opportunity. We have lost opportunities in the last two matches, losing to Crystal Palace and here (at Wolves) but the last three matches we play in the Premier League we have opportunities.
"Generally we are now disappointed but we need to look at all the season. We lost this opportunity today but we need to prepare as best as possible for Leicester. Again it is very difficult but hopefully we can take something.
"We will be doing all we can in Leicester on Sunday to take the three points. Top four is the target, a difficult target, but we have a chance in this competition and also in the Europa League."
Arsenal are back in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Sunday when they travel to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester. Kick-off is at 12pm with our coverage getting underway at 11.30am on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event.
Meanwhile, Wolves have the chance to avenge their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Watford when they travel to Vicarage Road on Saturday to face Javi Gracia's side, kick-off at 3pm.