Arsenal sealed an impressive 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux on Saturday, thanks to a moment of brilliance from Bukayo Saka.

The away side set the tempo early on with good spells of possession, and were rewarded for their efforts just before half-time. A deflected Kieran Tierney cross found its way to Saka, who acrobatically adjusted, and fired the ball past a helpless Rui Patricio. Wolves probed for an equaliser, but Adama Traore squandered their best chance after chipping his shot over the crossbar. With five minutes to go, Alexandre Lacazette rifled home to seal a deserved victory, which takes the Gunners to within three points of the day’s opponents in the Premier League table.

Positives

The continued form of Arsenal’s youngsters will please Mikel Arteta enormously. Saka’s goal was wonderfully taken, while Eddie Nketiah could have scored just moments before having struck the upright. Additionally, Arsenal manged to contain the aerial threat of Raul Jimenez as well as any side has managed since the restart. The defensive line, for the most part, was compact and solid. The fact that the away side managed to successfully close out the win is yet another cause for celebration.

Negatives

At times, the forwards struggled to provide an outlet for the defenders. The likes of David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi were urging the Arsenal forwards to make runs, sometimes to no avail. With a little bit more movement, the Gunners could have created a host more opportunities. Cedric Soares also looked a touch off the pace, although he did play an integral role in Saka’s opening goal.

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Manager rating out of 10

8 — Arteta set his team up very well to contain Wolves’ attacking threats, with two hardworking wing-backs included from the start who both know how to defend. Arsenal weren’t too concerned with pressing Wolves as the game progressed, which worked well in terms of denying space for Jimenez and Traore. Furthermore, Arteta’s substitutes, unlike in previous weeks, were well judged, as Lacazette grabbed the all-important second goal.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Emiliano Martinez, 7 — Was sharp to deny a lively Traore early on. The Argentine stopper looked assured throughout.

DF David Luiz, 7 — The Brazilian’s passing range was excellent, and he managed to make a number of good interceptions. At times his tackling was suspect, such as a rash first-half tackle on Traore, which earned him a yellow card.

DF Shkodran Mustafi, 7 — Led the back line well, steeping out when necessary while maintaining positional discipline. The German’s distribution was also solid.

DF Sead Kolasinac, 7 — Functioned well on the left side of a back three. His power and added speed also seemed to help his defensive partners, whom he bailed out on a handful of occasions.

MF Cedric Soares, 6 — Took a while to get into the game, with this being his first league start of the season for Arsenal. The former Southampton defender looked rusty but improved steadily as the game wore on.

MF Kieran Tierney, 7 — Stood off Traore in order to avoid being beaten for pace. This allowed the Wolves forward too much space at times, but going forward his contribution — including an assist for Saka’s goal — was very good.

MF Granit Xhaka, 7 — Worked hard without the ball while also managing to be effective when he was in possession. Committed one or two needless fouls in the second half.

MF Dani Ceballos, 6 — Lost possession in dangerous areas on too many occasions. He worked hard, but defending his own penalty area is not the Spaniard’s biggest strength.

FW Bukayo Saka, 8 — With the game threatening to descend into a training exercise, it was the 18-year-old who stepped up to produce a moment of magic for Arsenal. His first-time effort from Tierney’s deflected cross was the perfect way for Saka to celebrate a bumper new contract.

FW Eddie Nketiah, 7 — A mixed evening for Nketiah, who struck the foot of the post in the first half after catching Patrico out with an early shot. However, he often incurred the ire of Mustafi for not making enough intelligent runs in behind the Wolves defenders.

FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 7 — Prior to Saka’s opener, the 31-year-old looked like Arsenal’s sharpest forward, after showcasing a handful of neat touches and intelligent runs. For the second league game running, he linked up well with Tierney on the left side.

Substitutes

MF Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 6 — Replaced Tierney just before the hour mark. The England U21 international didn’t fare much better than the Scot up against the supremely gifted Traore.

FW Joe Willock, 7 — Replaced Saka but wasn’t able to influence the game quite to the same extent, after having a shot cleared off the line late on.

FW Alexandre Lacazette, 7 — Made an instant, and decisive, impact, scoring beautifully with five minutes remaining to seal all three points.

MF Lucas Torreira, N/R — Did an excellent job of hassling the Wolves midfielders late on.

MF Hector Bellerin N/R — Was introduced too late to have a notable impact.



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