Arsenal v Wolves Preview: Opportunity knocks

Barcelona might be just around the corner (and if you’re willing to spend a few quid, you can still get tickets to that game via TixDaq) but before then we have a vital game against the conquerors of Manchester United, Wolves.

Three points at home against a team sitting on the bottom of the table look simple but our recent history against Wolves suggests otherwise.

Song's back!

Earlier in the season at Molineaux we relied on two Marouane Chamakh goals, one very early and the other very late, and a string of wonderful saves from Lukasz Fabianski to take victory. Meanwhile in the corresponding fixture last season Wolves frustrated us at The Emirates for 94 minutes before Nicklas Bendtner headed home to set off the infamous man-triangle of love.

Add to that Wolves’ strong record against teams in the top six this season and you have a limited side that tends to save their best performances for the biggest games. In other words, they’ll make us work hard tomorrow.

The good news for Arsenal is that both Johan Djourou and Alex Song should both be fit to start. Djourou’s inclusion is a massive surprise and welcome one at that — these statistics show how much better our defensive record is with him in the side — while Song’s presence will also have a positive impact. Samir Nasri, meanwhile, will not play at Wolves but should be back in the squad in a week’s time.

The injury news means we have the luxury of playing an almost full-strength side at Wolves tomorrow. Wojciech Szczesny will start in goals behind Bacary Sagna, Djourou, Laurent Koscielny and Gael Clichy, with Song backing up Jack Wilshere and Cesc Fabregas in the middle and Theo Walcott, Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin completing the three-man frontline.

There is a possibility that Wenger may rotate slightly with Barcelona coming up — Tomas Rosicky, Denilson and one of Nicklas Bendtner or Marouane Chamakh might get a start — but my belief is that we should play the strongest team here. After last week’s terrible result we need to be ready to respond well and take any opportunity that presents itself in the Manchester derby, which takes place prior to our game.

I’ll be heading to the Oscar Wilde in Berlin early on tomorrow to check out United v City before Arsenal tackle Wolves a little later on. It’s set to be an interesting, exciting day of football and I just have an inkling that we might end the day closer to the current league leaders than we start it.


Have your say on Arsenal v Wolves by leaving a comment.



  1. Glad ESPN is taking this game since FSC have a triple header. Very glad Djourou seems to have recovered. Only Sami (and TV5, of course) missing from our top 11. Still expect a tough game and hope by now the referees(informal, maybe subconscious) association figures we have been punished enough.
    @1NTTA: if you want to talk hockey or American football with me and not clog up this space, my email is

  2. We SO need to get a cheeky early goal to tease Wolves out from their defensive tactics (which I don’t blame them for).

    Just praying for Man City to do us a favour and for no injuries.

    Can anyone confirm if Sagna misses the Barca game – to my mind he got a red card in our last qualifier?

  3. my first post so be gentle
    Andrew I agree I sense the boys will close the gap tomorrow. , but I think it will depend on Man Citys tactics. If they adopt the same tactics as they did at the Emirates I think Ciy will come unstuck. With the attacking taalent they have they must surely have a go at United who also have defensive injuries.

    As for Barcelona, I think we have a chance if we dont try to outplay them. With the exception of Barcelona I believe that Arsenak are capable of outplaying most teams, but if we attack too much and leave ourselves and leave ourselves exposed I can see a similar outcome as last time. Both Song and Wilshere will need to lay deep and break things up

    Just my opinion

  4. Can anyone confirm Carling Cup final switched from Fox Soccer Plus to regular Fox Soccer Channel? Makes a difference here in Puerto Rico! Thanks in advance.

  5. Hi all,
    Back online my DSL got re-routed (I think through Idaho) but it’s up again and quicker than ever.
    Thinking of quick,is it sure that Theo will start? If so I guess that puts Arshavin far left.
    I dunno he can be good anywhere I just hope he settles in scores a couple and gets the Emirates crowd off his back. I totally understand their frustration but really it doesn’t seem to help.
    Anyhow I’m not taking this round lightly Wolves or no. West Brom at Home is still a fresh nightmare for me. But as long as Denilson isn’t in we stand a chance. And of course
    Manu(re) and C(sh)ity is to our advantage. 2pts coming out of that game,one for each would do nicely thank you.

  6. The added spark/extra tension (depending on the score at FT) is that the Manchester Derby is the early match. We’ll know the outcome before start of play. What effect if any, will this have on us?
    A United victory is bad of course, but strategically is it better for us that they split a point each to leave a two-point difference or that City come away with all three points? If City win and we close the gap with a win over Wolves we also have City closely nipping at our heels just a point back.

    @JJ Pittman: I’m at Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi must be up there smiling! I’ll be in touch.

  7. Know that draw is best result statistically, but will be rooting for $hitty. We have game in hand on them and ManUre is my most hated team in all of sports, exceeding even the NY Yankees with whom they share so many characteristics. We have to believe we can take care of our own business and root against the team ahead of us. Paranoid or not, still think our biggest worry is referees'(subconscious?) resentment of us. Better to say “hard lines” and get on with it.
    Have to say, however, that none of today’s cloggers can hold a candle to Leeds United of the 70’s & 80’s.

  8. The Man City players think they can win at old traford n I wish them all the best. That will give us a chance to narrow the gap to atleast a point or 2 if they draw,n this is only possible if we also beat the sturbon Wolves side. For Barcelona I think we can knock them out this time round

  9. i think we should not play a full-strength squad at barca cos even wid it im sure we’re gonna v should forget the champions league n concenterate on other competitions that v can win.the barca tie may be a blessing in disguise as v’ll hv 2 play less matches n becos of which we can concenterate on the pl ,fa and carling cup.

  10. A nil nil draw in Manchester followed by a nice and steady win would do nicely. What could possibly go wrong…?!

  11. @Terry: Excellent post: “What could possibly go wrong…?!” Truer words were never spoken (typed/inputted?)

    Barca is beautiful, incredible. I love watching them, though never at the expense of my team. They are also eminently beatable, and vulnerable and fallible. They may be “more than a club”, but they are mired in debt as deep as the deepest doo-doo imaginable (400 m Euros or somthing?). They’ve only lost once in domestic league competition but to a newly promoted side, the aptly named Hercules, a club much more humble than the mighty Arsenal. And they’ve had some close calls as well. Anything can (AND WILL) happen next week. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We have Wolves first and they will feel the wrath of a side that was wrong and wronged last week. Here we go…COME YOU GUNNERS!

  12. more missed chances from walcott to really settle the game, but shava looked better overall i thought. RVP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! espn made nothing of that goal, but it was wonderful.

  13. @Arsenalroxs-
    I guess Wenger should place a call to UEFA to inform that Arsenal will not play the match on Wednesday then, since you are so sure we will lose to Barcelona.
    You should know, as a sports fan that there is a reason they play the games.

  14. Thanks 1NTTA! My irony can be a bit rusty but it works from time to time. Got half of my wish this weekend – a drama free three points. Shame about Manure – but you can’t argue with Rooney’s winner – what a great goal. Much as it pains me to admit it! Now who do we play next? oh that’s right, that small provincial club from Catalonia… Should be a piece of piss!

  15. One thing about Barca, you know they won’t be clogging us. They do pursue relentlessly when they don’t have the ball. We have to do the same. Walcott has more pace than any of them can handle, but how will we mark the flea? Remember when Flamini manmarked Kaka the whole match and we beat AC Milan(06?) Afraid no one can do that to Messi, that’s how he got his name, after all. Still hope we have a chance. That’s why they play the games.

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