Arsenal

Arsenal

Premier League • England

Arsenal avoid Wolves wobble despite remarkable red card in tale of two Gabriels

Michael Oliver sending off Gabriel Martinelli

Arsenal managed to cling on to a 1-0 win over Wolves despite going down to 10 men yet again and facing plenty of pressure.

A goal from Gabriel Magalhaes in the first half proved to be the difference, despite Wolves having more chances and finishing the game with more players. Arsenal’s other Gabriel, Martinelli, received a red card in the second half for two yellows in the same move.

Despite Wolves putting pressure on either side of his dismissal, Arsenal kept them at bay. In doing so, they earned their first win of 2022 at the sixth attempt.

Arsenal’s midfield was bolstered by the returns of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey to the starting lineup after suspensions. At full-back, Cedric Soares came back from injury for a rare start.

Wolves shuffled their pack further with five changes from their most recent lineup. Jose Sa, Marcal, Romain Saiss, Francisco Trincao and Raul Jimenez returned.

Clear-cut chances were at a premium in the opening exchanges. Wolves first had a sniff when Partey had to cut out a cross from Ruben Neves and divert it back to Aaron Ramsdale.

The first decent shot of the game came from a surprise source, when the ball fell to Ben White on the edge of the box. The Arsenal defender’s shot from unfamiliar territory hit a defending body.

Gabriel gives Gunners advantage

It was White’s defensive partner Magalhaes who gave the Gunners the lead shortly after. White nodded down a header to striker Alexandre Lacazette, who got there before Jose Sa to keep the ball moving towards Gabriel for a tap in.

VAR checked there was no foul from Lacazette on Sa, but the goal was indeed upheld.

Wolves came fighting back and Granit Xhaka had to make a good headed clearance to prevent a cross from Marcal causing problems.

Crossing continued to be an avenue of attack for Wolves, with one from Nelson Semedo setting up Jimenez for a header that Ramsdale caught.

Semedo struck by his own means with a left-footed attempt from the right that didn’t drift close enough to the nearpost.

At the other end, a neat Arsenal move saw Bukayo Saka play a one-two with Martin Odegaard before setting up Lacazette. The Frenchman’s shot was at a comfortable range for Sa, though.

 

Wolves began the second half on the front foot, but again lacking clear sights of goal.

Arsenal were aware of the risk their hosts were posing and the referee made note of their time-wasting tactics as early as the hour mark when he booked Magalhaes.

Arsenal receive another red card in remarkable fashion

Michael Oliver then produced a red card in remarkable circumstances when Martinelli was shown two yellow cards in the same passage of play. He was first booked for shoving Daniel Podence taking a throw-in, and then took down Chiquinho from the resulting advantage to earn another.

It was the correct call from the referee, meaning Arsenal’s poor disciplinary record continued.

Wolves put the ball in the back of the net from the resulting free kick. Xhaka put the ball beyond his own keeper after Rayan Ait-Nouri’s delivery, but the assistant referee spotted an infringement to rule the equaliser out.

For Arsenal, Lacazette tried to curl the ball in, but his effort dropped just wide.

Next to take aim for Wolves was Saiss. His venomous effort tried to catch Ramsdale out off his line, but the keeper batted it away.

As the game entered its final 10 minutes, there was a goalmouth scramble that somehow didn’t lead to an equaliser for Wolves after efforts from Chiquinho and Podence.

And despite further pressure, Wolves just could not get a leveller. As a result, Arsenal are fifth in the Premier League, while Wolves are eighth.

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