Arsenal lock horns with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League this Saturday afternoon.
The Gunners have looked shaky in recent weeks with pressure beginning to pile up on Unai Emery. The Spaniard will be desperate for three points in front of a raucous Emirates crowd to subdue the growing anxiety.
Wolves have followed up their giant-killing over Manchester City from three weeks ago with successive draws against Southampton and Newcastle, but Nuno Espirito Santo will be hoping to oversee another away-day masterclass.
Read on for Arsenal vs Wolves preview, predictions, team news and more.
When is Arsenal vs Wolves?
Competition: Premier League
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Date: Saturday, 2 November 2019
Kick-off: 3:00 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): N/A
Last five meetings: Arsenal vs Wolves
24 Apr 2019: Wolves 3-1 Arsenal (Premier League)
11 Nov 2018: Arsenal 1-1 Wolves (Premier League)
11 Apr 2012: Wolves 0-3 Arsenal (Premier League)
27 Dec 2011: Arsenal 1-1 Wolves (Premier League)
12 Feb 2011: Arsenal 2-0 Wolves (Premier League)
Aggregate Score: Arsenal (LDWDW) 8-5 Wolves (WDLDL)
Ones to watch
Arsenal: Matteo Guendouzi
The precocious Frenchman has been the star of the show for Arsenal this season. Where his midfield teammates have struggled for large parts, Guendouzi has showcased tremendous grit, determination and overall skill in the middle of the park, proving indispensable at the minute.
He may have appeared a little lightweight last season, but the 20-year-old has fully adapted to the hustle-and-bustle of Premier League life now and is really starting to become a dominant force in the heart of Arsenal’s precarious midfield.
Key stat: Guendouzi has made the fifth-most successful passes of any midfielder in the Premier League this season (545).
Wolves: Adama Traore
The Adonis-framed speedster has come alive this season and is now starting to justify his £18m price tag when, at times, he seemed an expensive flop last season. The former Spain U-21 international has bags of potential, having hailed from Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, but is only truly starting to express his ability on a consistent basis this term.
Traore only mustered eight league starts last season, but already has seven to his name this time around, and will now be eager to follow up from his brace against City with more goals from the right flank. His only Wolves goals have so far come away from home, with one in the capital against West Ham, so Arsenal must be ready for his explosive pace and directness.
Key stat: Traore has completed more successful take-ons than any Wolves player in the Premier League this season (28).
The main talking point for Arsenal will be whether Emery affords captain Granit Xhaka a starting berth, or even a place in the squad, after last weekend’s exchange with the fans during the Palace draw. The club has issued an official statement from their captain detailing the extent of the abuse he received on social media ahead of last Sunday’s incident, where Xhaka swore and gestured toward booing fans as he was being substituted with the scoreline level.
The following is a message from Granit Xhaka… pic.twitter.com/YG5lBKmQvi
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 31, 2019
There will also be calls for Mesut Ozil to be reintroduced into the starting line-up after he enjoyed an exceptional game against Liverpool during midweek’s League Cup defeat. Asked about his plans for the 2014 World Cup winner after the Liverpool tie, Emery told reporters: “Yes he will feature.
“We have a match on Saturday and we will look at the possibility to use him again alongside other players and this is the way sometimes.”
On the injury front, Emery only has Reiss Nelson absent for this fixture, with the young winger sidelined because of a knee issue.
Confirmed XI: Leno; Chambers, Sokratis, Luiz, Tierney; Guendouzi, Torreira; Ozil, Ceballos, Aubameyang; Lacazette.
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The big news for Wolves is that Willy Boly is expected to be out until the new year after he fractured his fibula in training, meaning a similar line-up to the one against Newcastle is expected to be deployed in north London, with Matt Doherty making up the third centre-back, or Real Madrid loanee Jesus Vallejo deputising.
Confirmed XI: Patricio; Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss; Doherty, Moutinho, Neves, Jonny; Traore, Jimenez, Jota.
There is an air of uncertainty looming over north London at the minute, and Wolves could very much capitalise on this if they show the kind of form that rocked the Etihad earlier this month. Emery will know that only maximum reward can keep the Arsenal faithful off his back, but Wolves have proven a tricky customer since promotion last season, so they could sneak a point here.
Scoreline prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Wolves