Arsenal travel to Molineux to face Wolves with their top four chances hanging in the balance. The Gunners were beaten 3-2 at home by Crystal Palace on Sunday and, while other results went in their favour, find themselves in fifth place with just four games remaining.
Their opponents Wolves are still hunting a top seven finish and the Europa League qualifying berth it would present, provided that Manchester City beat Watford in the FA Cup final. Nuno’s side have been a joy to watch at times this season and they boast a formidable record against teams from the big six.
Last season’s Championship winners have already picked up four points against both Manchester United and Chelsea as well as winning at Tottenham, knocking both Manchester United and Liverpool out of the FA Cup and holding Arsenal and Manchester City to draws. Incredibly, Wolves’ record this season against the so-called ‘Big Six’ is better than their record against the current bottom six in the division.
Indeed the 13 points collected by Wolves against sides from the top six is bettered only by Manchester City and Liverpool.
The Midlanders were disappointing in their goalless draw against Brighton on Saturday but that result extended their unbeaten home run to six games and Arsenal know they face a big challenge to return to London with all three points tomorrow night.
Unai Emery’s side have won just two of their last 10 Premier League away games and those two victories came against ten man Watford and rock bottom Huddersfield.
Interestingly though, Arsenal have scored first in 10 of their last 15 away matches and have enjoyed success on the road in Europe, notably in their 1-0 victory at Napoli last week. With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette having bagged 32 league goals between them, the Gunners have an ever present goal threat and will pose plenty of problems to a Wolves backline which has only conceded once in their last three top flight games at Molineux.
Wolves have made a habit of falling behind in games against top six opposition, especially at home where they have conceded first in three of their five matches against the big guns this season. Given Arsenal’s fast starts, there may well be value in Emery’s men taking the lead but Wolves ultimately getting a result. Arsenal HT and draw full time is 12/1, while Arsenal HT and Wolves FT is a tempting 28/1.
The aforementioned Aubameyang is likely to spearhead Arsenal’s attack and the Gabonese international has scored in three of the Gunners’ last five league matches. He is also level with Sergio Aguero and Mohamed Salah in the race for the Golden Boot, with 19 goals, and will be desperate to add to that tally and boost his team’s Champions League hopes in the process.
With Arsenal keeping just one clean sheet in their 16 away league matches to date, goals look likely in this one and it would be no surprise to see both sides on the scoresheet.
Wolves earned a 1-1 draw at the Emirates earlier in the season but that was only the second point they have picked up against Arsenal in their last 11 meetings in all competitions. While history favours the North Londoners, it’s fair to say that Wolves are a different proposition now than they were in years gone by.
Wolves vs Arsenal team news
Nuno Espirito Santo has a fully fit Wolves squad to choose from and is expected to recall Belgian midfielder Leander Dendoncker to the starting eleven after he was left out against Brighton on Saturday.
Raul Jimenez, who has directly contributed to 19 goals in the league this season, will lead the line, supported by Diogo Jota.
Arsenal will be without Aaron Ramsey as the Welshman continues his recovery from a hamstring injury. Fellow midfielder Granit Xhaka is being assessed after he was withdrawn against Napoli last week with a hip injury.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos returns after a two-match ban but Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck all remain long-term injury absentees.
Wolves possible XI: Patricio, Doherty, Coady, Bennett, Boly, Jonny, Moutinho, Neves, Dendoncker, Jota, Jimenez
Arsenal possible XI: Leno, Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal, Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Guendouzi, Kolasinac, Ozil, Iwobi, Aubameyang.
Wolves vs Arsenal current form