Arsenal 2-0 Wolves: A Barcelona-esque performance

If last week’s 4-4 draw with Newcastle was the hyperactive, uncontrollable coffee-fueled spectacle from hell, this one had calming chamomile tea written all over it. We’ve beaten Premiership teams by greater margins this season but I don’t think we’ve been so completely in control of a game as we were against Wolves yesterday.

With the first leg against Barcelona fast-approaching it was hard to get away from the feeling that this was a Barcelona-esque performance. Seven shots on target to zero indicated excellent attacking and defensive performances while the foul count of 15 to 9 showed how hard we worked to get the ball back when we didn’t have it.

Song was dominant in the centre of the park

We carved Wolves apart time to time again and never looked in danger of throwing away the result, a great response after last week. Even on defensive set-pieces, Wolves’ major strength our supposed Achilles’ Heel, we were utterly dominant, lead by another commanding performance by the now-unbeaten-in-27-games-and-only-conceded-one-offside-goal-in-the-last-seven-games Johan Djourou.

The pressure was on to get the result after Wayne Rooney spectacularly stole victory for the top side in the Manchester derby, but we looked in control from start to finish. I was pleasantly surprised to see Arsene Wenger select a full-strength team and it paid dividends when our two leaders, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie, combined for a wonderful opening goal.

The wank-fest surrounding Rooney’s strike means that van Persie’s wonderful volley will probably be lost in the archives. But it shouldn’t be: unlike Rooney’s goal van Persie actually caught the ball the way he wanted — ie. on the foot — whilst the United man’s shot flew in off his shin. Seriously, watch it again. It was a fluke.

Van Persie is unbelievable goal-scoring form at the moment and achieved his third brace in the past month just before the hour mark. It was a beautiful counter-attacking goal, the sort of goal that indicates the power we have to hurt a team even as good as Barcelona, as beautiful one-touch play from one box to the other allowed van Persie to finish.

Between those two goals we had numerous chances to score — Theo Walcott and Andrey Arshavin in a particular missed easy chances while Wolves’ goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy enjoyed a good afternoon — but the result was never in doubt. Wojciech Szczesny was never called into action down the other end as our defence put the nightmare of last week behind them with a solid performance.

Our strong performance allowed the manager to rotate the team as van Persie, Arshavin and Wilshere, three players who will be hugely important on Wednesday night, made way for Marouane Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner and Denilson. The changes did nothing to change our flow as we dominated possession and played out the remainder of the without a hitch.

In my eyes we had three objectives in this game (1) respond well to last week’s setback and get the three points (2) keep a clean sheet and (3) get through the game without any injury problems. We achieved all three and will go into the Barcelona game full of confidence.


Have your say on Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Wolves by leaving a comment.



  1. The calmness & confidence that Djourou brings to our defense is as important as the loads of goals being scored by RvP at the moment.
    As you put it, yesterday’s display was by far the most assuring performance from an Arsenal side this season.
    Is there some chance that Nasri may feature on Wed? (at least from the bench; but it ain’t worth to rush him if he isn’t fully ready).

  2. I think we can give Barcelona a run for their money this time. People are writing us off, but remember last year we were without Gallas, Vermaelen, Cesc, RVP and Arshavin, I think Nasri was out too, basically our six best players. Despite this we went OK, we equalised late in the first leg, and actually went ahead in the second leg.

    This time we are at full strength, full of confidence. A good result on Wednesday night is not out of the question. It’d be ideal to have Nasri back though.

  3. and the kind of game where the crowd do there bit to lift the team in what turns out to be a regulation home win.
    still reading shit like highbury was a thousend times better
    well i was in there with 13 and half thousend in 1973 watching brian hornsby score off the bench and trust me the attmosphere on that tuesday night watching mid table arsenal v relegation threatened wolvres was less than cracking.
    don,t buy this rose tinted nonsense about highbury
    i loved the old gaff but we outgrew it and when our new place rocks it knocks highbury into a cocked hat

  4. It wasn’t a total fluke. Rooney did show some skill in making contact and directing it toward goal ;P

    Wonderful performance all around. Commanding on the offensive end and nullifying any Wolves threat on the other end.

    Loved that little bit by the commentator when he spotted that the linesman couldn’t tell if van Persie was offside because he couldn’t keep up with Walcott’s pace.

    @Andrew, will we have any more posts by the AFCB writers soon? Haven’t heard from them in a while.

  5. @ MTY – My personal thought is that Wenger’s comments about Nasri are a bluff. If he makes Barcelona think that there is any chance he may have to feature, they have put that in their thoughts and planning, which is good for us. But I don’t think he’ll feature.

  6. @ el bizarron – Unfortunately, due to time constraints, difficulties and the desire to get my old community working properly again, I’ll be managing all the writing going forward. I wrote a post a little while ago explaining everything and thanking the writers for their contributions, but I just needed a little more time and space to do things at my own pace.

  7. @Andrew, you posted last week about Ryo. He scored a goal yesterday and looked even better than last week. Do you think it would still be worth going after Eden Hazard?

    With Sagna out against Barca, I wonder if it would make sense to go with Gibbs at RB over Eboue. Either way, I think that we will all be pleasantly surprised by our defensive efforts against Barca. One of the main things that we worry about Arsenal being physically outworked in the box and on set pieces. Barca don’t really pose much of a threat in that area, which is already good news for the squad.

  8. Another excellent post, AW. I think you hit all the salient points. Unlike last week’s debacle, the universe unfolded as it should have yesterday, at least as far our match is concerned. We totally dominated from beginning to end. Wolves couldn’t keep their shape at all and we simply ripped them to shreds.Aside from the clumsy challenge, Djourou’s performance further established him as of one the best defenders in the league, Wilshire’s development is just astonishing and Arshavin’s work rate and effort created opportunities. For me, if he continues to play like this, his confidence and touch will return in time to help us this season. van Persie’s 2nd goal was classic Arsenal from the beginning of the sequence to the end. Very “Barcelona-esque”. He is sublime at the moment. Seeing him writhing around on the pitch before the 2nd goal did my blood pressure no good.

    On the back of the back of this excellent performance however, I have good reason to believe my blood pressure will be quite OK after Wednesday. COME ON ARSENAL.

  9. we can beat barca if all players give 100 & they payed very bad last game, we can take them we only need to have strong mind
    and that ryo kid is amazing he has great potencial
    i would rather buy eljero elia that eden hazrd

  10. i’ll take RVP over a balding, self-absorbed, overpaid and underperforming sack of ManUre hitting one good goal in 1,200,435 games any day. and it was off the shin. RVP’s was timed to perfection and hit wonderfully WITH HIS RIGHT FOOT even. ESPN’s commentators gave him no credit. looking forward to barca. i think we’ve got a decent chance and something to prove after last year. COME ON YOU GUNNERS!

  11. What a good result for arsenal. Let’s keep it going keep up the pressure on United.
    We have to do our part and leave the rest to God.

    On the Barc game, am optimistic BUT very real as well, this will be a very hard game .
    Were still not scoring enough goals though, when we should give teams 5 we end up giving them 2
    missing too many chance but a win is a win let’s see on wed……………..

  12. Great game v. Wolves. Not worried about Barca, know they won’t clog us. Not worried about Leyton Orient, either, but I am worried about Stoke and Rory Delap’s long throws and set-pieces in general. Also worried about Brummie thugs and 6’5″ striker in League Cup. Will watch but not worry about either game this coming week. Good thing, because we’ve got company coming on Wednesday to enjoy the beautiful weather, beach, sunsets and seafood all here in Rincon, Puerto Rico. Great to be a Gooner!

  13. I am happy that we are going into the game pretty well near full strength. I think every pundit out there has just about written us off so am hoping Barca are a teeny bit complacent. I am a bit surprised about the lack of Cesc to Barca crap – I would have thought they would have ratcheded that up. Or maybe it’s Nasri they now covet…Should be a cracking game. Arsenal – mes que un provincial club!

  14. The Barca game happens to fall on the morning of my birthday (here in Australia), if there’s one thing I ever wanted more than anything for a birthday present…

  15. Andrew, I think you are letting your anti Manure bias get in the way of objectivity. I watched Rooney’s goal a few times and it certainly was a stunner and if it had been scored by one of our players we would be rightly talking about it for years to come! Doesn’t mean that I don’t think that Rooney is a grannny shagging, ugly, obnoxious prick though!

  16. Great bounce back from that game agains Newcastle, the team played with confidence, maturity, I really liked that. I was fearing we would not respond in a good manner and that would’ve cost us in the long run, but fortunately we’re very much in the title race. As for the game against Barca, it’s good that we can go with our best XI and I don’t know about statistics but however they are, the’re meant to be broken. We had some outstanding moments this season, we’re at full throttle (well, almost, ’cause we don’t yet have Nasri back), we can win. My colleagues all say Barca will win and hell, how I want to prve them wrong! Go Gunners!

  17. great perfomance the gunners…looking at how solid the defence is with song holding the midfield.
    it w’d b nice to see how barca come at us.
    my worry is that eboue is gonna be exposed with sagna missing due to suspension.
    fingers crossed i hop eboue comes to play…i’ve seen him get lazy a number of times…time for him to prove his worth.

  18. Hi Andy, Its been a while I havent been here,(Lots of work thats why!!), Great articles!!! Just wanna pop in some ideas abt the Barcelona game on Wednsday.
    – 1st and foremost: We are now in a very good Form to beat any team in this world.
    2- Barca is scared of Arsenal at the moment we speak now, They are much more frustrated than we think they are.
    3- Hope Nasri would be fit for the game.If Yes, then They will have a hell of a players tio watch from Midfield to attack.
    4- We gotta keep our 4-3-3 usual best line up. Not pack the Midfiled with 5 players as some say and leave 1 alone upfront, which means playing like coward. NO. NO!!! We shud just play our game which is to concentrate on our attack and let everybody work out an extra energy and focus on a collective defence, thats why I would really love to see SAMNAS to be fit for that game cos Not only, he is a one to watch on attack but he would also HELP CLICHY and our mdfld GUYS TO CLOSE MESSI’s WAY which Arshavin cannot do any better .
    5- Our best weapon is to attack, thats the only way, and I totaly agree with a writter who said that LIL Jack would be a Vital player for that Clash. Agreed. He is a good defender along with Alex Song and is also very Dangerous when he goes forward. To Me :We may not have the best player in the world in our squad but We have the best trio Midfield in the world.I beleive that Cesc would be a fool to leave the Next INVINCIBLES Team (2011-2012) for Barca next season.
    6- My line up:
    Sagna- Kosch-Djourou-Clichy
    ——Song–Lil Jack———-

    7- ANDI, BARCELONA-ESQUE???? REALLY!!!!???? I THOUGHT IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ARSENAL-ESQUE, WHICH WAS THE 2ND GOAL AGST WOOLVES LAST WEEK END. WE WERE THE FIRST TO PLAY THAT STYLE OF GAME SINCE DBERGKAMP, NOT BARCA!! THE ARSENAL WAY, YOU REMEMBER!!??? and that was a real FREE FLOWING FOOTBALL. I love to hear the fact that The ref couldnt catch TW14’s pace that he wasnt even sure abt his decision, oh!!! Still my Favrite in the Squad so Far!!!!.

  19. @ radads : About point 7: Rightly pointed that was an “ARSENAL-ESQUE” goal and we have our own style!!!!!!
    Go Gunners…. Time for Revenge!!!!!!

  20. @ radads – Long time no talk, good to hear from you.

    Regarding Barcelona: I meant more the utter domination in attack and our high foul count. It’s fairly well know that Barca put incessant pressure on their opponents when they don’t have the ball and our high foul count illustrated that.

  21. @Terry: on Rooney’s goal, I agree absolutely that it was a stunner, but that’s also because it was lucky. Great acrobatic move to be sure, but very low percentage shot. Maybe not quite a Federer between-the-legs return for a winner, but for it to deflect in off his shin? C’mon, now…

  22. Several reasons why Barca may dance to the emirates tune . I believe that they may loose witha three margin deficit. So many reasons explain this. Considering that Messi had to attack a backline of 30 years and over defenders in Campbell and silvester to gether with Denilson as their cover up, a goal keeper in Alumnia, with B52 as the lead striker. This time it is a different story. Only a fool would think Barca will repeat the same .We have players with a big heart in the squad. RVP, Nasri, Fab, Walcott,Song, Wishere wont wait to see Barca entertain. Infact we may rip them apart if our starting eleven plays with passion and desire. We must win our game if we are to stand any chance i dont care by what margin. Nevertheless incase we get beaten by the best side in the world, it means we shall have less engagements and target a domestic treble as United are very likely to drop 5 points from Chelsea and Liverpool. Fingers crossed.

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