A ten-man Arsenal scraped through to a 1-0 win against Wolves, with Gabriel coming up with the only goal in a defensive masterclass from Mikel Arteta.
It is not common for Arsenal to take advantage when their rivals falter, but the outcome of their outing at the Molineux proved a point. After top-four rivals Manchester United and Tottenham dropped points in midweek, the Gunners needed to take advantage and move up the ladder, which they duly ensured.
It was a tight contest at the Molineux, with neither side creating clear-cut chances. In the 25th minute, Arsenal found the back of the net in a scrappy way – a goalmouth scramble involving Alexandre Lacazette and Wolves keeper Jose Sa. The final ball fell kindly to Gabriel Magalhaes, who toe-poked it to open the scoring.
Lacazette had one good chance after some brilliant work on the wings from Bukayo Saka, but the Frenchman shot it straight into the hands of Jose Sa. The first half ended with Arsenal dominating proceedings, while Wolves could not create any good clear-cut chances.
The more exciting half was about to come as Gabriel Martinelli added some spice to a dull-looking first 25 minutes. The Brazilian forward was booked for two fouls in a row, something that has never been seen before in the Premier League. Michael Oliver decided the outcome and gave him his marching orders.
#Arsenal have won 35 of their 97 Premier League games in which they've had a player sent off (36%) – more than any other side in the competition's history (Man Utd next with 22 such wins).
— Harvey Downes (@HarveyDownes92) February 10, 2022
From that point, after Rob Holding replaced Saka, Arsenal put on a brilliant defensive show, giving Wolves no chance despite tremendous pressure from the home side. In the end, the Gunners held on to their slender lead and saw the game through, with Aaron Ramsdale making at least two good saves in the process of collecting his 11th clean sheet of the season. Here is how the Arsenal players fared during their win over Wolves at the Molineux.
Aaron Ramsdale: 7/10
A pair of safe hands when collecting high balls and crosses into the box, Ramsdale was alert at all times, making at least two good saves in a period of Wolves pressure.
Cedric Soares: 7/10
Cedric did a fine job at right-back and put in a strong defensive performance on the right-hand side. There were instances where he should have been booked and was lucky to escape any cards. During the last 25 minutes, his assurance in possession helped the Gunners retain their slender lead.
Ben White: 7.5/10
Ben White created the only goal of the game, which might have gone through Lacazette on to Gabriel. At the back, the English defender was at his finest, keeping things tight and showing positional awareness to see off the game amid the pressure from Wolves’ attack.
No Arsenal player created more chances vs. Wolves than Gabriel (2), while only Alexandre Lacazette (4) had more shots than the Brazilian (3).
The match winning centre back. 😀 pic.twitter.com/qTExTqbSK7
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 10, 2022
Gabriel Magalhaes: 8/10
The man of the match at the Molineux, Gabriel, got the winning goal and put in a solid defensive display after the Gunners were down to ten men. His ability to win headers at the back was a great weapon, which helped him keep many dangerous balls at bay. He will be happy with the clean sheet.
Kieran Tierney: 6/10
It was not Tierney’s best game as he struggled to deal with the pressure from the flanks. Wolves often chose to attack from his end, especially in the last phase of the game. The Scotsman, however, held his nerve and grew into the game, especially in the last part to help prevent any unwanted goal from the home side.
Thomas Partey: 8/10
Partey put in a colossal midfield display, taking good control of the area right from the start. When Arsenal needed the Ghanaian’s defensive ability, the midfielder delivered despite being booked in the first half.
Thomas Partey Vs. Wolves (A) | 10/02/2022 pic.twitter.com/ac9HexAe5A
— Zak (@zak_a3) February 10, 2022
Granit Xhaka: 7/10
A good performance from Xhaka, whose influence in the game’s final phase immensely helped the team. Often popped up at left-back to help Tierney deal with the attacks, and barring a silly yellow card challenge in the first half, the Swiss midfielder was good overall.
Martin Odegaard: 7/10
Odegaard always found space outside the box to free up one of the attackers in front. Arsenal looked threatening whenever he had the ball, as he combined well with Cedric and Saka on the right-hand side.
Bukayo Saka: 6.5/10
The winger produced an underwhelming display by his lofty standards, but he did have his moments. Always a threat on the right flank, the 20-year-old created one brilliant opportunity for Lacazette. He was later substituted for Rob Holding as Arsenal braced themselves to see the game out after the red card.
Alexandre Lacazette: 5/10
It was rightly pointed out what Arsenal could do with a top striker leading the line. While Lacazette did his usual work with great energy, there were two chances any half-decent striker might have converted, especially the one on one opportunity after the red card.
Gabriel Martinelli: 5/10
Martinelli had a good game when he was on the pitch. He made some direct runs into the box and proved to be a threat for the Wolves defence. However, a few seconds of madness, indiscipline and lack of maturity led to his dismissal. Michael Oliver gave the Brazilian a bizarre red card for two back-to-back bookable offences. Luckily Arsenal held their nerve and saw the game out, which will have pleased the youngster.
Just like that, Arsenal are down to 10-men!
Gabriel Martinelli picks up two yellow cards in quick succession and Michael Oliver gives him his marching orders 🟥 pic.twitter.com/poGmbN41sl
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 10, 2022
Emile Smith Rowe: 6/10
There was a sense of optimism when he came on, although Martinelli’s red card soon after changed the game’s complexion and Smith Rowe’s role in it. He often tried to make runs with the ball but always fell short. He did prove to be an outlet at the back when needed.
Rob Holding: 8/10
A colossal cameo from Holding, who made nine clearances after being introduced. Arteta was right to credit him for the win afterwards, as the defender was impenetrable at the back.
Rob Holding made nine clearances against Wolves, at least three more than any other player.
He only came on in the 70th minute. 😅 pic.twitter.com/gutrZlvh1L
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 10, 2022
Eddie Nketiah: 5/10
Arteta decided to add fresh legs and replace the jaded Lacazette. Nketiah was barely involved as Arsenal dealt with the Wolves pressure.