Arsenal refuse to give up in title race as much-needed victory takes them back top

Wolves vs Arsenal: Trossard puts visitors ahead before the break – latest updates
Arsenal's Leandro Trossard celebrates scoring their first goal - Reuters/Molly Darlington

After being branded chokers and the Premier League’s nearly men, Arsenal are refusing to leave the party.

The crisis supposedly engulfing Mikel Arteta’s season appears to have been dispelled, for the time being, as his team returned to the top of the table to suggest fears of their demise are premature.

In this most absorbing title race of recent times, Arsenal are still in there fighting.

While this was far from the effervescent performance they have frequently produced this season, the beauty is in the three points at this late stage.

This felt like a perfectly timed response to the suggestions that their annual April collapse could prove terminal.

Successive defeats by Aston Villa and Bayern Munich in the space of four days were regarded as potentially damaging blows, but Leandro Trossard’s ninth league goal of the season and a late clincher from Martin Odegaard were enough to take them back to the summit.

Nervy Arsenal beat Wolves to return to the top of the Premier League
Martin Odegaard sealed the win in stoppage time - Getty Images/Andrew Kearns

They also secured a sixth successive clean sheet away from home in the league for the first time in their history.

Ahead of a pivotal week, in which Arsenal face Chelsea on Tuesday and then bitter enemies Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, the prospect of a first title since 2004 is still there.

Arteta is desperate to halt the narrative that has been building, of an apparent April curse and a third successive season collapse. He has been here before but feels this team, and the mentality of his current crop of players, makes it a different scenario. Yet those two defeats had only ramped up the tension and underlined how there is so little margin for error when competing for major trophies.

This felt like a huge moment in their season, against a Wolves team whose own fine season is threatening to fizzle out. Wolves have endured a deepening injury crisis, with slim hopes of European qualification recently fading away, though the outstanding job performed by head coach Gary O’Neil cannot be forgotten.

With Pedro Neto, Matheus Cunha, Craig Dawson, Nelson Semedo, Jean-Ricner Bellegarde injured, and Rayan Ait-Nouri only just returning to the squad, O’Neil simply does not have enough options to challenge a team competing for the title.

Among the Wolves substitutes was 15-year-old Wes Okoduwa, who was dragged out of a science lesson at school on Friday to train with the squad. Four other teenagers were on the bench. Typically, Wolves still produced a resilient performance, particularly in the first half as they frustrated Arsenal with their intensity and high pressing.

Joao Gomes, the Brazil international, continues to enhance his reputation and was very impressive in the opening 45 minutes. Gomes presented David Raya with his first test after 31 minutes, crashing in a shot from close range which the Arsenal goalkeeper pushed onto the post.

Arsenal had been hesitant, struggling to execute the final pass around the penalty area, with a couple of tame efforts from Declan Rice their only snarls of defiance.

As a result, the opening goal arguably came out of nowhere on the stroke of half-time. Gabriel Jesus was allowed to wriggle free of the Wolves defence and the ball fell to Trossard, who sliced a shot into the top corner. It seemed to be a fortuitous finish, scuffed from under his feet, but in the context of Arsenal’s season felt huge.

Nervy Arsenal beat Wolves to return to the top of the Premier League
Leandro Trossard put Arsenal ahead in the first half - Getty Images/Andrew Kearns

Wolves have conceded against Arsenal in the last 33 meetings, and early in the second half they had to take off Hee Chan Hwang after his recent return from a hamstring injury.

In a flat contest of few goalscoring chances, Arsenal managed the game adequately and never appeared in genuine danger. Mario Lemina, a Wolves substitute, was given room in the Arsenal penalty area but his shot was comfortably held by Raya.

O’Neil introduced substitutes Ait-Nouri and Pablo Sarabia with 15 minutes to go, and it gave them a temporary lift. Ait-Nouri’s direct running on the flank presented Arsenal with some nervy moments yet the absence of forward players to find in the box is glaringly evident.

With Ben White impressive at right-back, and Kai Havertz posing problems, Arsenal did enough to complete the job. Odegaard provided the gloss in added time, finishing from close range after his cross was cut out by Toti Gomes.

Advantage Arsenal, for now, and perhaps their season is not dead and buried quite yet.

Nervy Arsenal beat Wolves to return to the top of the Premier League: As it happened

10:00 PM BST

Gary O’Neil speaking to Sky Sports

“An incredible performance, one of my favourites considering how tough I thought it would be. The lads showed commitment and work rate to push Arsenal. I’m very proud. I’m, disappointed with the second goal, it was soft.

“I can’t believe how well the lads did with how short we are.

“Hwang playing just 45 minutes and Mario [Lemina] playing as a number nine, he did well as a nine actually. It was an enjoyable evening, which you don’t often get when you lose.”

09:55 PM BST

Theo Walcott on Sky Sports

“Odegaard gets a bit of luck with the ball coming back to him but puts himself in that position he deserves it. He’s always involved in the big moments. Arsenal built their team around him and you can see why they did.”

09:54 PM BST

Martin Odegaard talking to Sky Sports

“Massive win for us, it was a tough week for us. I think a few tough results and hard emotionally but we had to keep going. Today was all about bouncing back and getting the win and we did that so I’m happy. It was tough, a big disappointment, obviously we wanted to go further in the Champions League, the game before [against Aston Villa].

“It is hard but the good thing in football is that you always get another chance and still a long way to go and still tight in the race so today was all about getting back to business and we did.”

“Wolves are a good team, well organised. A physical team who defend well and they made it hard for us but we just had to keep on playing and we knew that we were going to get the chances and the goals in the end.”

On getting the second goal: 

“It’s always a bit tricky when you’re 1-0 up. We wanted to get the second one earlier but again it’s a good team and we have to give them credit as well but I don’t think it was our best performance. Today was all about the three points and we got them. Three points was the key, that was the main thing.”

On his goal: 

“I’ve been looking for the goal for a while now so it was good to get it again. We have to believe and go for it and then we will see.”

09:51 PM BST

Jamie Redknapp on Sky Sports

“Trossard has been a brilliant signing. He comes up with vital goals. He gives you width, he’s comfortable on the ball. When you’re looking to add players to the squad you have to make sure you bring in the right type and he’s certainly that.

£27m is an absolute bargain for a tremendous player, technically good that can nick a goal.  I know Odegaard got the second but that was a huge moment for their season.”

09:47 PM BST

More from Trossard, speaking to Sky Sports

“I think it was pretty impressive, we played really well and had control most of the time.

“They are a good side of course and they tried to hurt us on the counter but we managed it well. We could have scored more but we’re happy with the clean sheet. The second goal came a bit late but we’re happy with it.”

“The resilience has been brilliant. It’s always tough when you lose game but the boys showed great character and mentality. If we win our own games, then we’ll see what happens.

“The boss wants everyone to sprint back when there’s a counter and get involved on the defensive side. We’re all hungry to win the second ball as it’s really important nowadays in football.”

On his goal: 

“I new I had a small amount of time to hit the ball so I had to use my toe to get it on target. It’s top bins so it’s a great goal.”

09:43 PM BST

Leandro Trossard speaking to the BBC

On his side’s performance:

“I think it was pretty impressive, we played really well and had control most of the time. They are a good side of course and they tried to hurt us on the counter but we managed it well. We could have scored more but we’re happy with the clean sheet.”

On bouncing back from consecutive defeats:

“We wanted a response for ourselves. We has such a great win before last week and it has been a tough two games.

“The response was brilliant today. All we can do is win our own games and focus on ourselves.”

09:40 PM BST

Trossard moves to nine

09:39 PM BST

13 clean sheets for Raya

09:38 PM BST

Wolves did not carry much attacking threat

Considering Pedro Neto and Matheus Cunha were missing and Hwang Hee-chan came off early in the second half, it is perhaps not that big a surprise that Wolves did not carry that much threat going forward. Missing Neto and Cunha really did hurt them.

09:36 PM BST

David Seaman a happy man

09:35 PM BST

Arsenal celebrate going to the top of the league

Arsenal's Declan Rice celebrates after the match
Declan Rice (pictured) was named man of the match - Molly Darlington/Reuters
Arsenal's David Raya celebrates after the match
Six consecutive league clean sheets away from home for Arsenal - Molly Darlington/Reuters
Arsenal's Martin Odegaard celebrates after the match
Martin Odegaard (centre) scored Arsenal's second to seal the victory - Molly Darlington/Reuters

09:31 PM BST

Jamie Redknapp on Sky Sports

“Somehow, some way you have to find it within yourself to get a really vital three points and that’s exactly what they did. It won’t be on Premier League Classics but the players won’t care.

“Now they can go on. They’ve got so many big games coming up. Chelsea in midweek, Spurs on Sunday... There’s that bit of confidence now.

“Football can change so quickly. For Arsenal things are starting to look up but they have to keep building.”

09:28 PM BST

Live from Molineux

For the first time in their league history, Arsenal have kept six consecutive clean sheets away from home.

09:25 PM BST

Full time

Martinelli has a very late one-on-one chance but his effort is straight at Sa. That is it at Molineux and with this 2-0 victory Arsenal move to the top of the table.

09:24 PM BST

GOAL! Odegaard seals the victory

Arsenal have secured the win and they are going top of the table. Odegaard’s initial cross is blocked, but the ball falls back to him and he slots home neatly past Sa. The Wolves goalkeeper probably should not have been beaten at his near side like that.

Arsenal celebrate their second goal
Arsenal go top of the league with this victory - Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

09:22 PM BST

90+3 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

Martinelli has a big chance to seal the victory for Arsenal but his effort is well-saved by Sa. Arsenal could have finished the game but Sa has stepped up with a couple of big saves.

09:21 PM BST

90+2 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

Rice has an effort from just inside the box which is saved by Sa.

09:20 PM BST

90+1 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

Saka dribbles his way through the box but he lifts his effort over the bar. After good footwork, he could have killed the game there but Wolves are just about still alive.

09:19 PM BST

90 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

There will be six minutes of added time at the end of this match.

09:12 PM BST

84 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

Wolves have a free-kick inside the Arsenal half which they are going to send into the box.

The ball is sent in but Raya catches it and the danger is gone. Six minutes of normal time remain.

Lemina has been down after contact with Raya but he is now back on his feet.

It’s all a bit flat here, still. I don’t think the Wolves fans or players really expect an equaliser. The Arsenal fans, meanwhile, are very quiet in the away section. That’s probably fear.

There was some fun a few minutes ago, though, as the Wolves fans accused Ben White of having a sub-standard spray tan.

09:08 PM BST

80 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

Arsenal change:

On Partey
Off Jesus

Mikel Arteta shakes hands with Gabriel Jesus
Mikel Arteta (centre) makes a defensive change - Rui Vieira/AP

09:07 PM BST

78 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

Doyle flashes the ball across from the right-hand side of the box but Raya is on hand to catch the ball to snuff out the danger.

09:05 PM BST

76 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

The delivery is headed away and Traore attempts an audacious effort from distance but it does not trouble Raya’s goal.

09:04 PM BST

75 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

Wolves’ issue at the moment as they do not have many attacking players on the pitch at the moment so even when they do get forward they struggle.

But they do have a corner. Before that, a double Wolves change. Sarabia and Ait-Nouri replace Chirewa and Doherty.

Wonder if Arsenal might regret not making the most of their dominance after the break. Arteta’s players are looking increasingly tired out there, and Wolves have just become a lot stronger: Ait-Nouri and Sarabia are on.

09:00 PM BST

71 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

Arsenal change:

On Martinelli
Off Trossard

09:00 PM BST

70 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

Lemina cuts inside on the right-hand side of the box and tries to curl one into the far corner but Raya makes an easy save.

Down the other end, White has a shot saved by Sa but the offside flag was up as White was offside.

08:58 PM BST

69 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

The Wolves fans are becoming increasingly frustrated by referee Paul Tierney for what they believe are soft calls going Arsenal’s way.

08:55 PM BST

66 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

It is looking quite comfortable for Arsenal at the moment but their lead is by just the one goal. Mikel Arteta will be urging his side to kill off this game because you would think if Arsenal go 2-0 up there is very unlikely to be a way back for Wolves.

Mikel Arteta on the sidelines
Arsenal will go top of the table with a win tonight - Henry Nicholls/Getty Images

08:50 PM BST

62 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

Odegaard shoots from range but he drags his shot well wide.

08:44 PM BST

56 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

Rice plays a quick one-two with Odegaard and his effort is blocked. Arsenal keep possession and lift the ball into the box, where Havertz volleys towards goal. It is a fairly simple save for Sa, straight down his throat.

There is, at last, a real intensity in Arsenal’s attacking play now. They have been right on top since the break, pinning Wolves back and creating chances. Wolves don’t seem to be able to get out and the substitution of Hwang has, so far, not helped their cause

08:43 PM BST

54 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

Arsenal have a free-kick just outside the Wolves box after Traore fouls Saka. Rice and Odegaard are standing over it...

08:42 PM BST

53 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

After Trossard breaks down the right and into the Wolves box, Arsenal have a corner. They play it short and eventually work it into the box but Wolves clear their lines.

08:40 PM BST

51 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

Hwang is booked for a challenge on Kiwior. The Wolves forward was on the stretch and receives a yellow.

Hwang fouls Jakub Kiwior
Hwang's (bottom) final act in the game was to be booked - Mike Egerton/PA

That is Hwang’s last act as he is taken off for Lemina. That is an interesting change. Is Hwang carrying a knock or does Gary O’Neil feel he has to manage him.

08:38 PM BST

49 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

Trossard is down after a bit of friendly fire with Jesus as they came together inside the Wolves box. Trossard is back on his feet but limping away. It does look like he is fine to continue.

08:34 PM BST

Second half

We are back under way at Molineux.

08:19 PM BST


Referee Paul Tierney blows the whistle and Arsenal lead 1-0 at the break.

08:18 PM BST

45+2 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

Saka was down for a few moments after an awkward landing but he is back on his feet.

08:16 PM BST

45 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 1

There are three added minutes at the end of this first half.

08:15 PM BST

GOAL! Trossard gives Arsenal the lead

Right at the end of the first half Arsenal take the lead. Jesus goes down inside the box but gets back up quickly. He lays it back to Trossard, who slices across the ball a little and it goes in off the far post. It did not look like he completely meant it but the travelling Arsenal fans will not care one bit.

A bizarre finish from Trossard, who appeared to catch the ball with the edge of his pinky toe. The trajectory of it was strange, to say the least. A scuffed effort into the top corner from the edge of the box. They all count!

Arsenal's Leandro Trossard celebrates scoring their side's first goal
Leandro Trossard (pictured) gets Arsenal's opener on the stroke of half-time - Nick Potts/PA

08:08 PM BST

38 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 0

Saliba makes a hash of a ball forward deep inside his own half and it is easily intercepted by Bueno. Bueno wastes a good chance though from the edge of the box as his effort goes well wide.

08:06 PM BST

35 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 0

There have now been four yellow cards in quick succession. Rice is the next one to be booked as is Kilman. Arsenal were unhappy that the ball was not kicked out of player after a heavy challenge by Kilman on Havertz, who stayed down. But Arsenal were on the attack immediately after the foul and did not kick the ball out so referee Paul Tierney was fully entitled to play on.

Looking back at the Kilman yellow, it was not a nice tackle on Havertz. It looks like he genuinely was going for the ball but the contact was nasty on Havertz. A yellow card probably feels right.

Max Kilman fouls Kai Havertz
Was Max Kilman (left) lucky to only get a yellow card? - Mike Egerton/PA

08:03 PM BST

33 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 0

Odegaard’s delivery is headed away.

08:02 PM BST

32 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 0

Toti has soon followed Trossard into the book for a foul on Saka, which gives Arsenal a free-kick in a dangerous position not far outside the Wolves box...

08:00 PM BST

31 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 0

Gomes hits the frame of the goal. Kiwior is caught out and Gomes takes advantage. He drives into the box on the right-hand side and his shot is saved onto the post by Raya. An important save from the Arsenal goalkeeper.

That Gomes chance was a warning to Arsenal. Arteta’s side have been so comfortable with the ball at the back but one error, in this case by Kiwior, is enough to hand Wolves the best chance of the game so far.

Joao Gomes hits the post
Joao Gomes (far right) denied the opening goal of the game by the frame of the goal - Jack Thomas/Getty Images

08:00 PM BST

30 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 0

The initial delivery is headed away and Arsenal then clear after the ball is recycled.

07:59 PM BST

29 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 0

Wolves have a free-kick in a good position on the right after Trossard fouls Gomes. Trossard is booked for that foul and is the first player tonight to receive a yellow card. Doyle to take...

07:56 PM BST

26 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 0

Saka dribbles into the Wolves box and tries to cut onto his left, but it is intercepted. The ball falls to Odegaard, who cannot get a shot away.

Moments later White plays the ball across too Trossard, who messes up his first-time shot and wastes a good opportunity.

Arsenal are beginning to get in behind the Wolves defence now. Rice has injected some urgency on a few occasions. Saka is seeing more of the ball. They’re warming up but it’s still not flowing as smoothly as they would like.

07:54 PM BST

24 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 0

Chirewa works it well between himself and Hwang and decides to have a shot from outside the area. His effort takes a deflection and it ends up being an easy catch for Raya.

07:52 PM BST

22 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 0

Patient start by Arsenal, with Wolves offering nothing in attack so far. Arteta would certainly like his side to be creating more than this, though. It’s all a little flat.

07:50 PM BST

20 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 0

Close for Rice. Trossard finds Rice on the edge of the box and the England midfielder comes onto it, hitting it first-time. His shot goes narrowly wide of Sa’s post.

Declan Rice reacts after missing a chance
Declan Rice (centre) comes close to giving Arsenal the lead - Henry Nicholls/Getty Images

07:48 PM BST

18 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 0

That is the first time Wolves have made an entry into the Arsenal box. In the right-hand channel, Doherty plays it through to Hwang, who cannot get a proper shot away and the ball rolls through to Raya.

07:45 PM BST

15 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 0

Rice shoots from the edge of the Wolves penalty area, which Sa gets down to his right to save. A fairly routine save for the Wolves goalkeeper as the shot did not have huge power on it.

07:39 PM BST

9 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 0

Trossard’s deflected cross from the left finds Saka at the far post, but his header towards goal is easily saved by Sa.

07:34 PM BST

4 mins: Wolves 0 Arsenal 0

Jesus has an effort from outside the box but he drags a tame effort wide of Sa’s right-hand post.

07:31 PM BST

1 min: Wolves 0 Arsenal 0

Chance for Arsenal inside the opening minute. The ball is played in from the left and takes a slight deflection. In the centre of the box Havertz hooks it towards goal but his effort is straight at Sa.

07:30 PM BST


We are under way at Molineux.

07:27 PM BST

Kick-off fast approaching

Both sides have emerged from the tunnel and we are just moments away from kick-off at Molineux.

07:24 PM BST

Reminder of the team news

Wolves: Sa, S Bueno, Kilman, H Bueno, Toti, Traore, J Gomes, Doherty, Hwang, Doyle, Chirewa.

Substitutes: Bentley, Ait-Nouri, Lemina, Sarabia, Holman, Barnett, Ojinnaka, Okoduwa, Fraser.

Arsenal: Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior, Odegaard, Rice, Havertz, Saka, Jesus, Trossard.

Substitutes: Ramsdale, Partey, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Nketiah, Jorginho, Vieira, Nelson, Zinchenko.

07:15 PM BST

Jamie Redknapp on Sky Sports

“What Arsenal don’t have - the luxury other sides do which is players who can come off the bench and make a real difference. That was a problem last week.

“That’s where they’ll need to strengthen for next year. Thicken up the squad so you have game changers, like City have, or Liverpool.”

07:12 PM BST

Gary O’Neil deep in thought

07:09 PM BST

Mikel Arteta speaking to Sky Sports

“Tomiyasu had a knock in the last game and had a bit of swelling. He wasn’t fit to play this game but the rest are and so we’ve picked a very strong side.

“We’ve made some changes from the Bayern game as we needed some freshness. It’s the type of game that we expect so the team is ready.”

07:01 PM BST

Live from Molineux

An indication of the injury crisis at Wolves: they have five teenagers on the bench today. Not ideal against a team of Arsenal’s quality. Arsenal’s bench, by contrast, includes the likes of Thomas Partey, Emile Smith Rowe, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah, Jorginho and Oleksandr Zinchenko. Arsenal will back themselves to dominate the latter stages of this game.

06:57 PM BST

Arsenal forward Kai Havertz speaking to Sky Sports

“Everyone is sticking together. It’s especially important during tough times. We’ve had a lot of good moments this season but this week wasn’t our week. We’ve all had to stick together and we want to make it better today.

“We’re here to win this game and going back top of the league is very important for us to take a step forward. We’re going to put everything into this match to do just that.”

06:55 PM BST

Wolves hit by injuries

Wolves’ injury situation is deepening and threatening a fine season under Gary O’Neil to fizzle out.

With Pedro Neto, Matheus Cunha, Craig Dawson, Nelson Semedo, Jean-Ricner Bellegarde injured, and Rayan Ait-Nouri only just returning to the squad, this is a very frustrating period for O’Neil.

On the bench tonight is 15 year old Wes Odokuwa, who was dragged out of a science lesson at school on Friday to train with the squad.

The right-back will be the club’s youngest player at 15 years and 344 days if he plays.

06:49 PM BST

Wolves defender Matt Doherty speaking to Sky Sports

“We’ve not been playing that well and the results haven’t been coming. We’ve had a lot of injuries and for the players who have come in we’ve lacked rhythm.

“At the end of the day, it’s the Premier League. It’s the hardest league in the world. It’s you’re not 100 per cent every week, you’re not going to get anything out of the game.

“We’ve been training hard this week and for those coming in, it’s an opportunity for them to play well.”

06:45 PM BST

Hwang starts

With no Matheus Cunha or Pedro Neto tonight, Hwang-Hee Chan is going to play a crucial role for Wolves tonight.

06:44 PM BST

No Tomiyasu

Japan defender Takehiro Tomiyasu has been left out of the Arsenal squad tonight as a precaution after picking up a knock on Wednesday night as Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich.

06:40 PM BST

Full team news

Wolves make four changes from their 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest a week ago. Tawanda Chirewa makes his first league start with Hugo Bueno, Boubacar Traore and Hwang Hee-Chan also coming in.

Matheus Cunha and Nelson Semedo are out of the squad. 15-year-old Wesley Okoduwa is named on the bench.

Wolves: Sa, S Bueno, Kilman, H Bueno, Toti, Traore, J Gomes, Doherty, Hwang, Doyle, Chirewa.

Substitutes: Bentley, Ait-Nouri, Lemina, Sarabia, Holman, Barnett, Ojinnaka, Okoduwa, Fraser.

Arsenal make one change from their 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa last Sunday. Jakub Kiwior starts a game for the first time since 31 March as he comes in for Oleksandr Zinchenko at left-back.

Arsenal: Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior, Odegaard, Rice, Havertz, Saka, Jesus, Trossard.

Substitutes: Ramsdale, Partey, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Nketiah, Jorginho, Vieira, Nelson, Zinchenko.

06:35 PM BST

Reverse fixture

The last time these two sides met was in early December, where two early goals from Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard saw Arsenal beat Wolves 2-1 at home.

06:31 PM BST

Arsenal team news

06:30 PM BST

Wolves team news

06:27 PM BST

Visitors checking in

06:26 PM BST

Live from Molineux

There are two ways of looking at this game for Arsenal. Those of a more optimistic disposition will point to the league table, and say that Mikel Arteta’s side will move to the top of the Premier League with a victory. Doesn’t sound much like a crisis, does it?

The more pessimistic among the Arsenal fanbase, however, will see it differently. Two back-to-back defeats (by Aston Villa and Bayern Munich) have transformed the mood around Arsenal, and another loss here would almost certainly mark the end of their title charge.

What is the overriding emotion, then? The excitement for possible victory, or the fear of another damaging failure? You decide!

06:22 PM BST

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06:19 PM BST

Home side arrive

04:46 PM BST

Arteta tells Arsenal players to stop feeling sorry for themselves after disastrous week

Mikel Arteta has told his Arsenal players they must not feel sorry for themselves after their back-to-back defeats this week, and insisted that they should instead feel “lucky” to be in the position they are in.

Arsenal’s losses to Aston Villa and Bayern Munich have put their season on the brink of collapse but they could transform the mood with a victory over Wolves on Saturday. Three points at Molineux would take them back to the top of the Premier League table.

Arteta has told his players that they have a “problem” if they are in need of any extra motivation after their back-to-back defeats, and insisted his players will “squeeze every drop of energy” in pursuit of the league title.

Asked about Arsenal’s difficult week, in which their title charge faltered and they were knocked out of the Champions League, the Arsenal manager said crucial weeks involving decisive matches in top competitions are what the club has been craving for years.

“I think the players are all very lucky to have had the week that we’ve had,” said Arteta. “Because these are the weeks that we want and have been seeking for many years to have at Arsenal.

“You have to deal with that. If you want to be in this position [challenging for trophies], you have to go through it and it’s going to be tough. Against those opponents, the margins are minimal and you have to try to compete to be better than them.

“But maybe even if you are better, you don’t win. Like what happened at home against Bayern and against Villa. Are you ready to react to that? If not, you’re not ready to be living these kinds of weeks — and we want to be living these kinds of weeks. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. If we want to be here, we have to be prepared because this is a possibility.”

Arteta said the critical reaction from the wider world to their two losses, after receiving huge plaudits for their form in recent months, has provided a test of “resilience” for him and the club.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta standing before their match against Bayern Munich
Arsenal are looking to bounce back from their Champions League exit this evening against Wolves - Angelia Warmuth/Reuters

“It is testing your resilience and your ego,” he said. “If I take a newspaper and show it to my son, seven days ago after Brighton [when Arsenal won 3-0], and then seven days later after Bayern Munich, talking about the same team, he would think it is three years ago.

“It is the reality of what it is. But we have to live with that. That is the beauty of it, as well. On Saturday you can be at home [after the game at Wolves] and you can be the happiest man ever, saying we have a real chance here, let’s go for it with five games to go. We have to make that happen. That is our job.”

Arteta added: “If we win, we are top of the league. If you need anything else to be motivated and if you need anything else to go to that game with your mind clear and your purpose very clear, you have a problem.”

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