Arsenal hits break with five-point Premier League table lead

Martin Odegaard scored a pair of goals to give Arsenal a five-point lead atop the Premier League table following a 2-0 win over Wolves at the Molineux on Saturday.

Arsenal’s 12-1-1 record through 14 matches gives it a five-point lead over Manchester City atop the Premier League table, seven points clear of Newcastle and 14 ahead of fifth-place Manchester United.

WATCH WOLVES vs ARSENAL FULL MATCH REPLAY STREAM

Wolves enter the World Cup break with just 10 points and eight goals, 20th place on the table. That’s four points off 17th.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

What we learned from Wolves vs Arsenal

Odegaard at his clinical best: Martin Odegaard is a technician. Sometimes he’s a team’s metronome. Other times he’s asked to carve open a difficult, tight back line. But the Norwegian has also shown a willingness to fire when ready, and Odegaard’s pair of finishes on Saturday give him six goals through 13 Premier League games this season. That’s one off his PL-best total, set last season, and two off his best-ever league season when he scored eight times with Vitesse Arnhem in the 2018-19 Eredivisie season. He’s about to get a month off to recharge his batteries with Norway’s failure to qualify for the World Cup, and that seems unlikely to be a bad thing for Arsenal.

Wolves not ready for possession: There’s this line from Heath Ledger’s Joker in “The Dark Knight” where he compares himself to a dog chasing cards, “I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just… do things.” That’s what Wolves look like in the final third right now. Wolves had an electric counterattack in the first half that fizzled in almost comical fashion whether a runner wasn’t arriving or arrived at the wrong time or destination. Julen Lopetegui has a lot of interesting pieces for his formal takeover of the squad, and his possession and attacking ideas are going to be paramount to Wolves’ hopes of staying in the Premier League.

Tactical focus

Fabio Vieira slid in for Granit Xhaka after just 16 minutes as the Swiss midfielder reportedly took ill, and brought a different feel to the game as Mikel Arteta’s midfield plan took a turn. Less explosive but just as forward-hopeful, Vieira barely put a foot wrong and helped move Wolves around with his clever runs.

Stars of the Show

Oleksandr Zinchenko

Martin Odegaard

Goncalo Guedes

Gabriel Jesus

Toti Gomes

Fabio Vieira

What’s next?

Arsenal’s off until Boxing Day, when the Gunners reengage their Premier League title chase by hosting West Ham for a London derby.

Wolves will break until hosting Gillingham in the League Cup’s Round of 16 on Dec. 20, then heading to Everton for what will be a relegation six-pointer on Boxing Day.

Martin Odegaard goal videos

How to watch Wolves vs Arsenal live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 9 am ET, Saturday
TV channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Key storylines & star players

Arsenal are perhaps a year ahead of schedule by challenging for the Premier League title, but make no mistake they are genuine contenders this season. With just one defeat and one draw in 13 games, only Manchester City have a better goal-scoring record (thanks to the arrival of Erling Haaland), and no one has a better defensive record this season (11 conceded).

As for Wolves, relegation is a genuine fear after winning just two of their first 14 games. Julen Lopetegui is set to take over as new manager after Saturday’s game, with a reliable goal-scorer (or two) the top priority in the January transfer window. Just last weekend, Wolves scored two goals in a game for the first time all season, in a 3-2 defeat to Brighton.

Wolves team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Diego Costa (suspension), Raul Jimenez (groin), Pedro Neto (ankle), Sasa Kalajdzic (torn ACL), Chiquinho (knee), Jonny (undisclosed)

Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Emile Smith Rowe (groin), Takehiro Tomiyasu (undisclosed)

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Arsenal hits break with five-point Premier League table lead originally appeared on NBCSports.com