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Match Preview – Arsenal vs Wolves

Last Updated: 09/11/18 4:42pm

Arsenal could end the weekend three points off the top of the Premier League – and face an out-of-form Wolves side on Sunday.

Wolves started the season in superb form, but have since tailed off and lost their last three games, leading head coach Nuno Espirito Santo to demand his side react to their current slump.

There were reasons to be optimistic from their narrow 3-2 defeat to Tottenham last weekend, with Wolves coming from 3-0 down to almost claim a point against the title chasers, but Santo wants more from his side, who are competing in the Premier League for the first time since 2012 after winning the Championship last season.

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Nuno Espirito Santo is adamant his Wolves side will never sacrifice their playing style to secure victory.

Nuno Espirito Santo is adamant his Wolves side will never sacrifice their playing style to secure victory.

“We’re not in the best moment but we have to react to it,” said the Wolves boss. “In every moment it’s a challenge for us because we have to get better. You have to challenge yourself and improve yourself.

“You cannot get results if you don’t perform well, that’s what I think and defend. We reacted well from the bad performance against Watford, we didn’t achieve the result against Brighton or Tottenham but we performed well.

“We work to perform better and well and then we try to achieve the result. We don’t think about the result first – no matter what it’s perform well, do your tasks and try to win.”

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Highlights from Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool in the Premier League.

Highlights from Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool in the Premier League.

Arsenal will be without striker Danny Welbeck, who suffered a broken leg in Thursday’s Europa League draw with Sporting Lisbon, and team-mate Rob Holding tipped the forward, who had received a call-up to the England squad earlier that day, to bounce back.

“I didn’t see it because obviously I’m at the other end of the pitch so I didn’t see exactly what he’d done,” said Holding.

“But Danny is a tough lad so if he’s on the floor, I know it’s something serious and we’ll see what happens.

“He’s been so unlucky with injuries over the past few years but he’s a good character and got a good set of lads around him so we’ll lift him up and get him back as soon as we can.”

Team news

Arsenal will be without Danny Welbeck and Stephan Lichtsteiner for Sunday’s Premier League visit of Wolves after both were forced off injured in Thursday’s draw with Sporting Lisbon.

Welbeck (ankle) is expected to be sidelined for some time after being taken to hospital following an awkward fall, while Lichtsteiner limped out of the Europa League clash with a muscular issue.

Mohamed Elneny (thigh) and Konstantinos Mavropanos (groin) are still missing, while Matteo Guendouzi is back in domestic contention after serving a one-match ban.

Wolves team news to follow.

Opta stats

  • Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 19 matches against Wolves in all competitions (W16 D3) since a 3-2 defeat in September 1979 under Terry Neill.
  • Wolves have avoided defeat in just one of their eight Premier League games against Arsenal (P8 W0 D1 L7), though that was in their last visit to the Emirates in December 2011, a 1-1 draw under Mick McCarthy.
  • Arsenal have taken 59 points from their last 63 available at home in Premier League games against newly promoted sides (P21 W19 D2 L0) since losing 1-0 to Newcastle United in November 2010.
  • Arsenal haven’t been behind for a single minute in eight Premier League matches against Wolves – only one team has ever played more games against an opponent without falling behind (Chelsea v Portsmouth, 14 games).
  • Wolves have played more Premier League games against Arsenal without winning (8) than against any other opponent.
  • All three of Wolves’ Premier League goals against Arsenal have been scored via corners.
  • Arsenal are unbeaten in nine Premier League games (W7 D2), last going 10 without defeat in the competition in December 2016 (a run of 14).
  • After a six-game unbeaten run (W4 D2), Wolves have lost their last three Premier League games.
  • Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette has been directly involved in 16 goals in his 18 Premier League starts at the Emirates (12 goals, 4 assists).
  • Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored five goals and assisted two more in five Premier League appearances against newly promoted sides.

Merson’s prediction

What a game this promises to be. Wolves made a game of things against Spurs but only once the game was over, the shackles came off and they played. They have started to concede more which is worrying from a Wolves perspective – they started the season not scoring a lot but they didn’t concede either.

Now it’s looking like Wolves have got to score two goals to win a football match, whereas it was one before. That’s a big ask, especially when you’ve got to go to an unbeaten Arsenal side. It’s going to be entertaining, but not an afternoon to remember for Wolves.

PAUL PREDICTS: 3-1 (11/1 with Sky Bet)

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