Premier League
ArsenalArsenal1WolvesWolverhampton Wanderers2

Arsenal 1-2 Wolves: Arteta 'not worried' about his future despite loss

By Joe BradshawBBC Sport
Arsenal results not good enough - Arteta

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said he is not worried about his position after his side slumped to their worst start to a season since 1981 with defeat at home by Wolves in a game overshadowed by a nasty head injury to visiting striker Raul Jimenez.

The Gunners sit 14th in the table after five losses in 10 league games - a year to the day since Unai Emery was sacked at head coach - and have been beaten in their past three matches at Emirates Stadium.

"It's something that the day I decided to be a coach I knew that one day I would be sacked or leave the football club but I don't know when that is going to happen," he said.

"In this profession, I know it will happen but I never worry about it.

"My only concern is to get the best out of the players and give the best possible service to the club."

A game between two of the Premier League's lowest-scoring sides was disrupted by a sickening clash of heads between Jimenez and David Luiz in the opening exchanges that led to the Mexico striker receiving treatment on the field for 10 minutes before being taken to hospital.

It was understandably flat for a time after that but flickered into life when Pedro Neto slotted home from close range after Leandro Dendoncker had headed Adama Traore's teasing cross against the bar midway through the first half.

Gabriel equalised for the hosts with a thumping header from a Willian cross just three minutes later but Wolves were the better side throughout and re-established their lead when Daniel Podence cleverly converted after keeper Bernd Leno fumbled Neto's drive.

Arsenal rarely threatened, with striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang little more than a spectator at times, and Arteta has much to ponder with his side languishing in the bottom half.

Wolves, on the other hand, are up to sixth and sit just four points off the summit in an increasingly congested top half of the table.

A sickening injury

The match had barely got going when one of its biggest stars was left unable to continue.

The moment Jimenez and Luiz dropped to the floor it was clear there was real concern among the players as medical staff rushed on to the field.

Jimenez was ultimately taken off on a stretcher and straight to hospital after a bandaged and visibly upset Luiz went to check on his stricken opponent.

Medics tend to Raul Jimenez and David Luiz
Raul Jimenez had only three touches before his injury

Luiz continued until half-time - Arsenal have said they followed all the correct protocols in keeping him on the pitch - but was withdrawn at the break, blood clearly showing through his bandage.

In the absence of talisman Jimenez, manager Nuno Espirito Santo needed his other attackers to step up - and, once the shock of the injury wore off, they duly delivered a vibrant performance of real menace.

Neto's second goal of the season, from the bench against Southampton last week, was rewarded with a start at Emirates Stadium on Sunday, and he repaid that faith by firing Wolves into the lead.

The 20-year-old Portugal forward was also instrumental in the goal that put the visitors ahead again on the stroke of half-time. Arsenal keeper Leno could only shovel out Neto's shot from distance and Podence smartly drilled home the rebound.

Wolves have struggled for goals this season but, with Traore back in the team, and Neto and Podence looking threatening, it may be they have the tools to address that in the coming weeks, even if Jimenez may be set for a spell on the sidelines.

One year on, Arsenal still struggling

On 29 November 2019, Emery was dismissed as Arsenal manager with the Gunners eighth in the Premier League and a mutinous atmosphere around the club.

Exactly 12 months on, his successor seems to have more questions than answers in his in-tray after another flat performance in front of empty stands at this cavernous stadium.

Arteta deserves credit for the way he rallied the team last season to seal Europa League qualification by winning the FA Cup - a triumph that included notable victories over Manchester City and Chelsea.

The former Gunners midfielder has also stiffened the backbone of a team that was regularly accused of being flaky - before Sunday's fixture, only Tottenham had conceded fewer goals in the Premier League this season.

But at what cost?

Arsenal seem to have lost fluency going forward and their world-class striker and premium asset Aubameyang has only scored two league goals this season.

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang
Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang touched the ball fewer times (23) than his goalkeeper Bernd Leno (24) during the game

Indeed, Aubameyang touched the ball only eight times in the first half - and three of those were from kick-offs. Then, when gifted two second-half opportunities, the Gabon international failed to hit the target with either.

Arsenal's goal, simple in its creation, was a powerful Gabriel header from Willian's cross, but beyond that they rarely threatened a Wolves backline that is also notoriously solid.

Arteta needs a swift solution to his side's bluntness because, on a day when north London rivals Tottenham went back to the top of the table, they seem further away than ever from the English top-flight's elite.

Jimenez injury was serious - Nuno

'No excuses' - what they said

Arsenal manager Arteta: "They had two shots on target and scored both times. In the second half, my team showed a resilience, togetherness and belief to try to win the game back. We generated good chances but all players go through periods where they struggle to score goals.

"It's my responsibility for the team to score more goals. There are no excuses - we have to improve."

Wolves boss Nuno: "It's terrible when you see one of your players [Jimenez] in an incident like that. We have to have a proper assessment, but he's in good hands.

"I'm very proud of my team tonight. The talent and quality is there and the will and belief we have will move us forward."

Shot-shy Gunners - the stats

  • Arsenal's tally of 13 points is their lowest after their opening 10 matches of any league campaign since 1981-82 (12).
  • Arsenal have lost three consecutive home Premier League games for the second time since the start of last season. Before this, they had never suffered three straight home defeats in the competition.
  • Wolves' tally of 17 points is their most after 10 games of a top-flight campaign since 1979-80 (20 - adjusting to three points for a win).
  • During 2020, only Manchester United (nine) have won more Premier League fixtures away from home than Wolves' seven.
  • Arsenal have lost five of their past eight league games, after being beaten in only five of their first 22 under Arteta.
  • Neto has scored as many goals in Wolves' 10 league matches this season as he managed in 29 last term (three).

What's next?

Wolves have a trip to champions Liverpool next Sunday (19:15 GMT kick-off), while Arsenal have the north London derby at leaders Spurs earlier on the same day (16:30).

Before that, the Gunners host Rapid Vienna in the Europa League on Thursday (20:00).

Player of the match

Pedro NetoPedro Neto

with an average of 8.88

Arsenal

  1. Squad number6Player nameGabriel Magalhães
    Average rating

    4.26

  2. Squad number3Player nameTierney
    Average rating

    3.79

  3. Squad number7Player nameSaka
    Average rating

    3.51

  4. Squad number1Player nameLeno
    Average rating

    3.46

  5. Squad number2Player nameBellerín
    Average rating

    3.27

  6. Squad number16Player nameHolding
    Average rating

    3.20

  7. Squad number23Player nameDavid Luiz
    Average rating

    3.19

  8. Squad number28Player nameWillock
    Average rating

    3.18

  9. Squad number24Player nameNelson
    Average rating

    3.14

  10. Squad number8Player nameDani Ceballos
    Average rating

    3.14

  11. Squad number12Player nameWillian
    Average rating

    2.91

  12. Squad number34Player nameXhaka
    Average rating

    2.80

  13. Squad number9Player nameLacazette
    Average rating

    2.64

  14. Squad number14Player nameAubameyang
    Average rating

    2.43

Wolverhampton Wanderers

  1. Squad number7Player namePedro Neto
    Average rating

    8.88

  2. Squad number10Player nameDaniel Podence
    Average rating

    8.39

  3. Squad number28Player nameJoão Moutinho
    Average rating

    8.14

  4. Squad number16Player nameCoady
    Average rating

    8.05

  5. Squad number37Player nameTraoré
    Average rating

    7.96

  6. Squad number9Player nameJiménez
    Average rating

    7.68

  7. Squad number32Player nameDendoncker
    Average rating

    7.59

  8. Squad number5Player nameMarçal
    Average rating

    7.54

  9. Squad number15Player nameBoly
    Average rating

    7.42

  10. Squad number17Player nameFábio Silva
    Average rating

    7.38

  11. Squad number8Player nameRúben Neves
    Average rating

    7.32

  12. Squad number11Player nameRui Patrício
    Average rating

    7.31

  13. Squad number49Player nameKilman
    Average rating

    7.31

  14. Squad number22Player nameNélson Semedo
    Average rating

    7.22

Line-ups

Arsenal

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Leno
  • 2BellerínBooked at 69mins
  • 23David LuizSubstituted forHoldingat 45'minutesBooked at 86mins
  • 6Gabriel
  • 3TierneyBooked at 90mins
  • 8Ceballos
  • 34XhakaSubstituted forLacazetteat 80'minutes
  • 12WillianSubstituted forNelsonat 65'minutes
  • 28Willock
  • 7Saka
  • 14Aubameyang

Substitutes

  • 9Lacazette
  • 13Rúnarsson
  • 16Holding
  • 17Cédric Soares
  • 24Nelson
  • 25Elneny
  • 30Nketiah

Wolves

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 11Rui Patrício
  • 22Nélson Semedo
  • 15BolyBooked at 47mins
  • 16CoadyBooked at 89mins
  • 5Marçal
  • 32Dendoncker
  • 28João Moutinho
  • 37TraoréBooked at 54mins
  • 10PodenceSubstituted forNevesat 70'minutes
  • 7Neto
  • 9JiménezSubstituted forFábio Silvaat 15'minutesBooked at 56minsSubstituted forKilmanat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Hoever
  • 3Aït-Nouri
  • 8Neves
  • 17Fábio Silva
  • 20Vitinha
  • 21Ruddy
  • 49Kilman
Referee:
Michael Oliver

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamWolves
Possession
Home56%
Away44%
Shots
Home13
Away11
Shots on Target
Home2
Away5
Corners
Home8
Away4
Fouls
Home13
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Arsenal 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Arsenal 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Kieran Tierney (Arsenal) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Bukayo Saka.

  4. Post update

    Gabriel Magalhães (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Leander Dendoncker (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

  6. Booking

    Kieran Tierney (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Kieran Tierney (Arsenal).

  8. Post update

    Pedro Neto (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  9. Post update

    Dani Ceballos (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

  11. Booking

    Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  12. Post update

    Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

  14. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Maximilian Kilman.

  15. Booking

    Rob Holding (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Rob Holding (Arsenal).

  17. Post update

    Adama Traoré (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Hand ball by Reiss Nelson (Arsenal).

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box misses to the left.

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

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