PREVIEW: Can the Gunners maintain their lead at the top of the table against Wolves?

PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW: Can the Gunners maintain their lead at the top of the table against Wolves?

Mark Kinyanjui 11:30 - 02.12.2023

Can Arsenal stay top of the Premier League with a win against spirited Wolves?

Arsenal will be seeking to extend their lead at the top of the table when Wolves head to Emirates Stadium for a traditional Saturday 3pm kick-off.

The Gunners’  last-gasp win over Brentford plus the 6-0 thrashing of Lens in midweek means there’s plenty of momentum behind them, as they have won each of their last four games against the Midlands side, including a 5-0 triumph when they last locked horns back in May.

However they will need to be wary of Gary O’Neil’s new-look side who have already upset a league leader this season, when they beat Manchester City 2-1 in September, and have recorded good results against the likes of Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur already this term.

Wolves arrive in north London 12th in the table, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. A host of questionable VAR decisions have blighted their season, with O’Neil claiming bad decisions in matches against Manchester United, Luton Town, Newcastle and Sheffield United have cost his team seven points.

Then on Monday night, Fulham were awarded two controversial VAR-assisted penalties to run out 3-2 victors over the Old Gold, leaving them entrenched in mid-table despite impressing many with their positive football this term.

Wolves have scored in each of their last 12 Premier League games, however have kept just one clean sheet this season so far which came away at Everton - one of two wins on the road with the other coming at O’Neil’s former club Bournemouth.

What the coaches have said

Arteta: “[Wolves] have a lot of quality. It’s not a coincidence, what they are doing. They perform really well, especially against the top sides. That speaks highly about the quality of the coaching staff.

“What Gary is doing, the way they prepare and control opponents, especially when they play at home. We’re going to have to try to break them down tomorrow.” -

O'Neil: “I go into games extremely confident, but also realistic in how we need to approach them. We go there with slightly less numbers than we would usually have, but what an incredible opportunity for us to go to a tough place, and I’m really looking forward to taking the lads to a real tough place and see where we can go.

"Arsenal feel they’re in a really good moment, so they’re the ultimate test in the Premier League at the moment, especially going there with a weakened group as we will, and not having the numbers that we have in the other games, It will be a real test for us.”

Team news

Fabio Vieira remains suspended following his red card against Burnley last time out at the Emirates, while Thomas Partey and Emile Smith Rowe will continue to miss out, as does long-term injury victim Jurrien Timber.

Wolves’ loss to Fulham on Monday was a costly one as it saw Joao Gomes and Mario Lemina pick up their fifth bookings of the campaign and they’re suspended for the trip to north London, but Craig Dawson is available again after completing his.

Rayan Ait-Nouri is a doubt with an ankle issue also picked up in that game, while Pedro Neto is injured after tearing a hamstring against Newcastle last month.

Match facts

Arsenal have won our last four Premier League games against Wolves, having won just two of their previous eight.

Wolves have never kept a clean sheet in 18 previous Premier League games against the Gunners. In Premier League history, only West Bromwich Albion have faced an opponent more without ever recording a shutout (26, also against Arsenal).

Arsenal have scored in our last 31 meetings with Wolves in all competitions, since a 1-0 home loss in February 1979. If they score, it will equal their longest scoring streak against an opponent in  history (current run of 32 against West Brom).

Wolves are unbeaten in their last four Premier League games against teams starting the day above them in the league table (wins against Man City and Tottenham, draws against Aston Villa and Newcastle).

Arsenal have lost just one of their last 15 home Premier League games (W11 D3) and are unbeaten in their  last eight at the Emirates.

Following Kai Havertz’s winner against Brentford, Arsenal have now had 10 goals scored by substitutes in all competitions this season, the joint most of any Premier League side (Brighton also 10).

Arsenal  have kept the most clean sheets (6) and conceded the fewest goals (10) of any Premier League side this season. Their 10 goals conceded is their  fewest 13 games into a season since 2013/14.

Arsenal  have won our last six games played in December, their  longest such run in the month in the Premier League.

Gabriel Jesus has been involved in seven goals in his six Premier League starts against Wolves (6 goals, 1 assist), scoring and assisting in their  5-0 win last season.

Bukayo Saka’s nine goals and assists have been worth nine points to Arsenal  in the Premier League this season. Only Erling Haaland’s goal involvements have been worth more points (10).

Only Mohamed Salah (11) has scored or assisted a goal in more different Premier League games than Wolves’ Hwang Hee-Chan (9) this season.

Arsenal possible starting lineup: Raya; Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Rice, Havertz; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli

Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup: Sa; Dawson, Kilman, Toti; Semedo, Traore, Doyle, Bellegarde, Doherty; Cunha, Hwang

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