Arsenal 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers: 5 Talking Points and Tactical Analysis
The away side raced off the blocks and instantly got into the ascendancy, courtesy a combination of courageous build-up play and intensity. However, as the half progressed, the Gunners regained control and they went ahead in the 21st minute when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stabbed home Alexandre Lacazette’s pass inside the box.
The hosts entered the tunnel boasting a one-goal lead but that was wiped out 14 minutes from time when Raul Jimenez rose above Calum Chambers to power home a wonderful cross from the right flank.
Both sides pushed to ripple the net again but failed as the teams ended the game on level terms.
Here is a look at the talking points from the contest.
#5 Arsenal edge ahead in a fascinating first half
Arsenal came into the encounter on the back of a tumultuous week which had seen them squander a two-goal lead against Crystal Palace while they are also dumped out of the Carabao Cup after a manic 5-5 draw at Anfield.
Thus, the Gunners were under a bit of pressure, considering they’d not really set the world ablaze before those results too. And, for the opening 10 minutes, the hosts looked a side bereft of confidence as Wolves swarmed all over them.
The visitors showcased immense confidence on the ball and put the home side under immediate strife. More encouragingly though, Wolves’ tactics tied Arsenal in knots as the Gunners failed to cope with the away side’s system.
Nuno Espirito Santo deployed a 3-4-3 formation, meaning that Adama Traore and Diogo Jota were accorded the license to play high up on the flanks. Additionally, Jonny and Matt Doherty bombarded forward regularly, thereby creating several instances of numerical superiority on the wings.
Moreover, the Gunners’ lack of natural wingers meant that Wolves enjoyed themselves in the wider areas.
Arsenal, meanwhile, failed to impose themselves on the early exchanges of the game. The visitors blunted the Gunners’ passing edge courtesy a well-drilled implementation of the high press. The hosts tried to play out from the back but Wolves compressed the pitch extremely efficiently. In the process, the home side weren’t able to break through the lines.
However, as the half wore on, Unai Emery’s men began dominating possession. The above allowed them to move the ball and drag Wolves all across the pitch, thereby giving the former the requisite time and space to carve out opportunities.
Even though the visitors always looked dangerous on the break, they never really threatened an under-fire Arsenal rear-guard with the only opening falling to Doherty.
Thus, despite starting the match on the back foot, the Gunners somehow managed to wrest control and ultimately, they surged ahead in an engrossing first half.