Stylish Arsenal move four clear top of the Premier League

LONDON, United Kingdom, Dec 3 – Arsenal moved four points clear at the top of the Premier League table with victory over Wolves at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners, 6-0 winners over Lens in midweek, took an early lead when Bukayo Saka got the better of Craig Dawson in the penalty area before firing low into the bottom corner.

It was 2-0 not long afterwards, Martin Odegaard finishing a magnificent team move involving Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus to double the hosts’ advantage.

Gabriel Martinelli struck the outside of the post with a low shot, while Leandro Trossard and Jesus both went close as Arsenal pressed for a third goal that would have put the result beyond doubt.

Wolves improved in the second half and Matheus Cunha tested David Raya’s reflexes with a powerful effort at the near post, before curling a superb drive into the top corner to give the visitors hope with five minutes remaining.

Gary O’Neil’s side were unable to complete the fightback, however, and Eddie Nketiah fired against the frame of the goal for Arsenal not long after Cunha’s strike.

Gunners get job done

Arsenal currently boast the joint-best defensive record in the Premier League, but they are now beginning to exhibit more of the free-flowing attacking football that fuelled last season’s title challenge.

The Gunners’ second goal was a thing of beauty, Zinchenko playing a neat one-two with Jesus before cutting the ball back to Odegaard for a first-time finish beyond Jose Sa, who was injured while trying to save the Norwegian’s effort.

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They could – and maybe should – have been further ahead at the break after Trossard was denied by Sa from close range and Jesus blazed over the bar at the far post.

Martinelli was also denied by the woodwork at the end of another mesmerising Arsenal counter-attack.

“It should have been a much bigger scoreline,” Arteta told BBC Match of the Day. “We made a mistake and they take the chance, and it’s game on in the Premier League.

“We had chances and we didn’t put them away, but we kept trying. We had some big, big chances to put the game to bed.”

The second half, as it was against Lens on Wednesday, was more low-key. Rice dragged a low shot off target and Trossard shot straight at Wolves’ substitute goalkeeper Dan Bentley from a good position, before Cunha halved the deficit late on.

It was a nervier finish than Arteta would have wanted, but the 41-year-old cut a very happy figure at full time as his side stretched their winning run in all competitions to five matches.

Too little, too late from Wolves

Wolves were on the wrong end of another contentious VAR call in Monday’s defeat by Fulham, but O’Neil’s frustration will be directed at his own defence at Emirates Stadium after they conceded twice inside the opening quarter of an hour.

Dawson was beaten far too easily by Saka for the opener, while Zinchenko and Odegaard were both given too much space in the build-up to the Norwegian’s low finish.

“The first goal was disappointing,” O’Neil said. “There were so many bodies around Saka. For him to wriggle through and for us to look hesitant in the penalty area is disappointing.

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“The second goal was a great goal. We should have prevented it, but it happens.”

Max Kilman almost gifted Arsenal a third late in the first half, but Bentley got down to his left to deny Gabriel Jesus.

Cunha and Hwang Hee-chan both tested Raya as Wolves gradually started to carry more of an attacking threat after half-time, and Cunha’s fabulous, curling strike gave them hope of claiming an unlikely point.

But it was too little, too late from the visitors, who are winless in their last 13 Premier League visits to London.

-By BBC Sports 

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