4-1 is may have been the final result but judging from the opening 20 minutes of the game, it would be rather hard to envisaged that scoreline. Credit to Wolves and McCarthy for their game plan as they came out firing on all cylinders and chose to take the game to us rather than just contend to defend. But in the end, the Arsenal won the game through sheer quality and class of the players and their game to give Wolves a home hiding.
Though we had weather quite a storm in those early minutes as the midfield just was not working. Wenger’s plan to rest Song and play the inexperience Ramsey in his stead backfired almost immediately. Wolves were winning possession in the middle of the pitch and the duo of Banks and Doyle were more than a handful for the Arsenal defenders. Why was Diaby played further forward compared to Ramsey was beyond me. There’s no doubting that of the two, Diaby should’ve been the one that is deployed in the defensive role. A few scary moments came from corners and needless freekicks given at the edge of our penalty area. When Wolves cannot take the advantage handed to them, Arsenal capitalised.
The moment Wenger’s hand was forced to put Song in to replace the injured Diaby was the turning point of the game. As we wrested control back from Wolves in midfield, we were fortunately put in from by the home team. Although Arsenal already have plundered in 32 goals from just 10 league games, none of them could lay claim to the opening 2 goals. First, Zubar knee-d the ball into the net while under pressure from Eduardo from an ensuing corner. 7 minutes later and his defensive partner, Craddock headed past his keeper when trying to keep Eduardo’s chip away. The Brazilian may not have his name on the scoresheet but he definitely played his part in the 2 goals.
Then came the moment in which Wolves players and fans alike will realise the gulf in class between their team and the one from North London. A break-out from defense saw Fabregas releasing Sagna on the right and swiftly kept pace with the right back as the latter crossed for Van Persie. The Dutchman’s touch was exquisite to play the on-rushing Arsenal captain within sight of the goal. Fabregas did not need to break his stride as he calmly slotted the ball home to make it a resounding 3-0 score at half time. As much as Wolves pelted the Arsenal box with crosses, none of it really threatened Almunia and when it mattered, Arsenal just stepped up a gear or two and dully got their goals. Arshavin claimed his 3rd goal of the league campaign by reacting first to the ball that was cleared from a corner.
It is not hard to see why Wolves have been relegated immediately upon their return to the top flight. They will face another mammoth task to stay up this season. When playing teams like Arsenal, you just can’t switch off and allow the opposition time and space to exploit. To our credit, the players knew the results was more important than the performance. The 4 goals scored was flattering as our performance was no where near what the team was really capable of but the quality of the squad was undeniable.
Wenger will need to go back to the drawing board and reflect on some of the decision that he has made in this game. His opted to rest Song when there is an international break in the aftermath of this game is questionable. Molineux is the type of place where we expect the game to be hard fought with passion guiding the home side more than craft. For that, Arsenal do need their hard man in midfield to break the rhythm if not just to show that we can play that game as well. Meanwhile Eduardo’s start can be commended in that the formation does not look like a safe option if the widely speculated position was filled by Eboue.
Alas, we conceded another late goal which means yet another game without clean sheet. Almunia has every right to feel aggrieved about it. The way the needless corner was conceded when we should be spraying the passes around just to kill off time. Vermaelen will also need to look back on how Craddock managed to lose him in the box.
No doubt though, this was a very very good win for Arsenal as we keep up the pressure on the top 2 who will face each other today. So far that’s wins against all the lower teams except for West Ham. Signs of improvement in direct comparison with last season. That apart, defending session will likely to take up bigger portions in Wenger’s future trainings.