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Arsenal logo
Premier League | Gameweek 14
Dec 2, 2023 at 3pm UK
Emirates Stadium
Wolves logo
Arsenal
2 - 1
Wolves
Saka (6'), Odegaard (13')
Saliba (68')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Cunha (86')
Hee-chan (88'), Cunha (90+9')

Preview: Arsenal vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

On the back of an emphatic victory over Lens to seal their spot in the last 16 of the Champions League, Arsenal return to Premier League duty with the visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers to the Emirates on Saturday.

Mikel Arteta's side ran riot in a 6-0 beating of Lens to top their European group, while Gary O'Neil's men have had a few days to reflect on an excruciating 3-2 loss to Fulham, where VAR controversy reared its ugly head once more.


Match preview

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on November 29, 2023© Reuters

Flash back to October 3, where Arsenal's effervescent attackers were quelled by a stingy Lens backline at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis as they suffered their first defeat of the season in any competition, but revenge was a dish best served with six goals on Wednesday evening.

Unlike many of their Premier League counterparts, who operate in a low block and spend the majority of the game trying to stifle Arteta's men, Lens continuously left space for the Gunners to exploit, and the rampant North London crop took full advantage with five goals in a merciless first-half mauling.

A Jorginho penalty for good measure ensured that Arsenal would put their ball in the pot for the last-16 draw as Group B winners, but Arteta typically refused to get too carried away in the moment, as while the Gunners' first-placed ranking in Europe is safe, their position at the Premier League summit is not.

Prior to drawing first blood against Lens, Kai Havertz's first goal from open play in 31 games saw Arsenal rise to top spot in the English top flight with a nail-biting 1-0 win over local foes Brentford, but Manchester City, Liverpool and Aston Villa are all within touching distance of Arteta's troops, who boast the best defensive record in the division with a mere 10 strikes conceded.

The six-goal obliteration of Lens marked a fourth triumph in a row across all competitions for the Premier League leaders, who are yet to suffer a single defeat at their Emirates fortress in 2023-24 and could now equal a club record of scoring in 32 games versus a single opponent, having not been shut out by Wolves since 1979.

Wolverhampton Wanderers head coach Gary O'Neil speaks to officials after Fulham game on November 27, 2023.© Reuters

The customary exchanging of pleasantries between Arteta and O'Neil will precede 90 minutes where neither manager is the other's friend, but the two head coaches may take a moment to share their recent officiating gripes after Wolves fell victim to more debatable decisions at Craven Cottage on Monday.

Referee Michael Salisbury pointed to the spot on no fewer than three occasions in the second half, where a pair of penalties from ex-Arsenal man Willian - including one deep into injury time - proved telling, but a crestfallen O'Neil was apparently told after the game that as many as three decisions to go against his side were incorrect.

Repeated PGMOL apologies have done little to soften the blow for Wolves, who could be seven points better off had VAR not incorrectly intervened on numerous occasions, and O'Neil conceded that he has finally reached the end of his tether with technology after Monday's unjust defeat.

Nevertheless, Wolves remain in the safe haven of mid-table with a third of the season played, occupying 12th spot with a 10-point buffer to the relegation places, and this weekend's visitors to the Emirates have now found the back of the net in each of their last 12 Premier League games.

Wolves have seen their own backline breached in 11 of those contests, though, and Arsenal boast four wins from their last four Premier League clashes with the West Midlands side, who nearly suffered the same fate as Lens in a 5-0 final-day hammering at the Emirates last season.

Arsenal Premier League form:


Arsenal form (all competitions):


Wolverhampton Wanderers Premier League form:


Team News

Arsenal's Fabio Vieira is shown a red card by referee Michael Oliver on November 11, 2023© Reuters

While he is technically set to serve the second of a three-game domestic ban this weekend, Arsenal playmaker Fabio Vieira will instead be watching on from the treatment room after undergoing a groin operation, which will render him unavailable for weeks.

Long-term trio Thomas Partey (thigh), Emile Smith Rowe and Jurrien Timber (both knee) are keeping Vieira company behind the scenes, although the former two may return around the New Year period in the best case scenario, and no fresh concerns have arisen from Wednesday night.

A double half-time change saw Takehiro Tomiyasu and Oleksandr Zinchenko make way for Ben White and Jakub Kiwior, but those two alterations appeared to be tactical with the Gunners already five goals to the good, and David Raya will also make his Premier League return after being ineligible to face parent club Brentford.

As for Wolves, injury was added to insult against Fulham when left-back Rayan Ait-Nouri came off after just 19 minutes with a sprained ankle, and the 22-year-old will not be involved at the weekend; Hugo Bueno, Jonny Otto and Matt Doherty are all ready to deputise.

One defensive boost will arrive in the shape of Craig Dawson's return from suspension - Mario Lemina and Joao Gomes have now incurred their own bans - but rumoured Arsenal target Pedro Neto is still working his way back from a thigh injury, while Joe Hodge is aiming to return from a shoulder operation at some point in January.

Having served his time on the naughty step, Dawson should be a straight swap for Santiago Bueno in the visitors' backline, while Hwang Hee-chan and Matheus Cunha will reprise their effective partnership in the final third.


Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Raya; Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Rice, Havertz; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli

Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Sa; Dawson, Kilman, Toti; Semedo, Traore, Doyle, Bellegarde, Doherty; Cunha, Hwang


SM words green background

We say: Arsenal 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Any dreams of another six-goal slaughter are fanciful for Arsenal fans, whose side should face a more conservative Wolves than a disjointed Lens outfit, but O'Neil's backline is far from sturdy.

The visitors can sometimes make up for their rearguard shortcomings with ruthlessness in the final third, but we cannot see any way for their scoring streak to continue in North London, where Arteta's men should find their way through on a couple of occasions to retain their first-placed position.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data


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Game History

How you voted: Arsenal vs Wolves

Arsenal
83.8%
Draw
7.6%
Wolverhampton Wanderers
8.6%
185
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Tables header RHS
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool27196264253963
2Manchester CityMan City27195362273562
3Arsenal26184462233958
4Aston Villa27174659372255
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs26155655391650
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd27142113739-244
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham2712694347-442
8Newcastle UnitedNewcastle271241157451240
9Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2710984944539
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves27115114043-338
11Chelsea26106104443136
12Fulham27105123942-335
13Bournemouth2687113547-1231
14Crystal Palace2777133247-1528
15Brentford2775153950-1126
16Everton2787122937-825
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest2766153449-1524
18Luton TownLuton2655163754-1720
19Burnley2734202560-3513
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2634192266-4413

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