Gunners move to within a point of fourth place after late, late win over Wolves at the Emirates
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
Alexandre Lacazette’s strike deep into stoppage time gave Arsenal’s Champions League push a massive boost this evening, as the Gunners beat Wolves for the second time in a fortnight.
Arsenal looked like they were going to go down to Hwang Hee-Chan’s goal early in the first half – Hee-Chan capitalising on a woefully short back pass from Gabriel.
But substitute Nicolas Pepe’s 84th-minute strike levelled matters, before Lacazette sent the home fans wild – in time rightly added for Wolves’ persistent timewasting.
The Gunners made a bright start but Romain Saiss had the ball in the net on six minutes for Wolves, however his effort was ruled out for offside – a decision rubber-stamped by VAR.
But within four minutes of that Wolves were ahead. Gabriel’s back pass was seized on by Hee-Chan, who rounded Aaron Ramsdale in the Arsenal goal and scored into an empty net from an acute angle on the left.
And it really should have been 2-0 three minutes later. Daniel Podence’s through-ball found Raul Jiminez through on the Gunners’ goal, but he rather snatched at his shot when he appeared to have more time, and the ball went wide.
Arsenal had their first half-chance of the game after 17 minutes when Bukayo Saka, full of confidence, charged down the right and pulled the ball back for Martin Odegaard, whose shot was blocked.
The Gunners continued to push, but Lacazette found Wolverhampton defenders on top of him every time the ball reached him as the visitors allowed the Gunners little space in which to penetrate in the first half.
The Frenchman had another half chance on the half-hour, deflecting Kieran Tierney’s fierce left wing cross goalwards, but the effort was blocked. Lacazette then drew the first save from Jose Sa in the Wolves goal – a comfortable one after a shot from range.
Gabriel Martinelli fired over as Lacazette turned provider, but despite their good approach play, Arsenal were still struggling to create clear-cut chances – and score goals.
At the other end, Jiminez could have made it 2-0 to Wolves on the stroke of half-time, but again his header was wide.
And a minute after the restart it should have been two - Ramsdale saving from Hee-Chan at close range.
Lacazette’s free-kick midway through the half was one of the few opportunities they had in the second period until the late, late show.
The Frenchman drew a good save out of Sa low down shortly afterwards as Arsenal pushed forward, after Pepe had replaced Martinelli. Played on the left the Brazilian was ineffective – but you wonder when he is going to be given the run in the central position he craves.
But just when it looked like the Gunners had run out of ideas they were level – Pepe taking Nketiah’s centre, checking his run and finishing calmly past Sa.
As the Gunners pushed for a winner Pedro Neto had a chance to catch them on the break but put his shot just wide.
But the final word was Lacazette’s – the Frenchman getting his reward for an evening of graft as he blasted the ball into the Wolves net – and moved the Gunners to within a point of Manchester United – and with two games in hand.
Arsenal: Ramsdale, Tierney (Tavares, 90+1), White, Partey, Gabriel, Saka, Odegaard, Lacazette, Soares (Nketiah, 76), Xhaka, Martinelli (Pepe, 71)
Wolves: Sa, Ait-Nouri, Neves, Jiminez, Podence (Dendoncker, 90), Coady, Semedo (Jonny, 60), Kilman, Hee-Chan (Neto, 74), Saiss, Moutinho
Referee: Martin Atkinson