Arsenal 1-1 Wolves: 4 things we noticed | Premier League 2018/19
Arsenal came into this game boasting of a 15 game unbeaten run since their opening games losses of the season to Manchester City and Chelsea. Arsenal hosted Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Emirates looking to consolidate on the recent good showing in the Premier League.
However, Wolverhampton Wanderers were never going to be an easy opposition because they have bloodied the nose of the premier league big boys this season already, taking points off teams like Manchester City and Manchester United at the Molineux Stadium and Old Trafford respectively
They nearly ran out winners at the Emirates Stadium yesterday, no thanks to a late Henrikh Mkhitaryan effort.
Here are 4 things we noticed from the game:
#1 Arsenal must learn to start games strongly
Arsenal cannot afford to start games slowly as they did with many games this season. The gunners will have found themselves battling relegation if matches are decided based on first-half performances alone. When they play against teams who are dogged and have the quality to hurt them on the counter, then it will be very difficult to win football matches.
Wolverhampton Wanderers showed why they picked points against the Manchester clubs. They came with a game plan and they succeeded for large periods of the game, if not Unai Emery's men newfound resilience evident this season.
They should and can replicate the Liverpool performance at the Emirates a fortnight ago, it is only if they do this can they have a fighting chance of achieving their aims this season.
#2 Unai Emery is a very intelligent manager
The Spaniard has won the hearts of many Arsenal fans as a result of his promptness in changing the formation of the team when things are not going according to plan.
In many games this season, his substitutions at the right time have come in handy and turn the tide of a game in Arsenal's favour.
Tongues were left to roll when Unai Emery substituted Alex Iwobi and brought on Matteo Guendouzi inn the game against Wolves. On the surface, it looked like a poor call by the manager, but one can understand the logic behind Emery's decision to haul off the Nigerian and bring on Guendouzi.
Alex Iwobi is a winger that thrives on space. When given room, he has the ability to beat his marker with ease as seen many times this season. However, against Wolves, he was denied space and often ran into "traffic". He could not bring the drive that moves the team forward as a result of the tactics employed by Wolverhampton coach Nuno Espirito Santo.
When Guendouzi came on, Emery switched to a 4-1-3-2 formation, pushing Lucas Torreira forward a little to give the Uruguayan more room to find a killer pass to break down the opposition.
Arsenal equaliser came from a lofted ball by Guendouzi into the box for Aaron Ramsey who was quickly closed down by Rui Patricio in goal. The resultant short corner kick floated in by Mkhitaryan evaded everyone and sailed into the back of the net much to the disappointment of the Wolves' players. Unai Emery also explained another reason for the substitution.
Speaking to Arsenal official website, Arsenal.com, this is what Unai Emery had to say on Matteo Guendouzi coming on for Alex Iwobi:
"It was a tactical change. We wanted to play our right and left backs deeper and win back more possession inside with Sead and Hector. Sometimes we did this situation well and we created chances to score. Their work was good defensively because their block was very high."