The Gunners traveled to Molineux to play Wolves in their final Premier League game before the World Cup break. Arsenal won again, this time coming out with a 2-0 win. This result takes Arsenal five points clear at the top of the Premier League table. Let’s get into the Arsenal week 14 match review.
Arsenal Week 14 Match Review: The Positives
Arsenal dominated possession once again in this match. The Gunners had 63% possession in this match and kept Wolves on the back foot for much of the match. Arsenal controlled this match for much of the 90 minutes, particularly in the second half.
Additionally, Arsenal’s defense held up well and their back line all played well. Gabriel Magalhaes was the standout player from the Gunners’ defense, making some critical blocks and covering for Saliba’s mistake in the first half. This stout defense only allowed Wolves to get two shots on target in the entire match.
Neither of those shots really troubled Ramsdale. The Gunners ensured that he had another fairly uneventful match. Still, he did what he needed to do when called upon.
Ben White played well. He made some excellent passes and defended resolutely, as we have come to expect. White remains one of Arsenal’s most consistent players and his call-up to England’s World Cup squad is well-earned.
The biggest positive for Arsenal in this match was the midfield. Thomas Partey dictated the tempo of the game and protected the back four as usual. He also helped the Gunners transition from defense to attack smoothly.
Fabio Vieira did well in replacing Granit Xhaka in a more advanced role in midfield. His assist to Odegaard for Arsenal’s first goal was excellent. Replacing Xhaka in the midfield is a tough task, but Vieira did an admirable job. Thankfully, Xhaka only had a stomach illness and did not suffer an injury.
Odegaard was outstanding. He scored both of Arsenal’s goals and created several other chances for the Gunners. His first goal was a simple tap-in, but his second goal was an excellent finish with his left foot. Odegaard was the clear Man of the Match in this game.
Arsenal Week 14 Match Review: The Negatives
Arsenal did not have the best first half. The Gunners failed to register a single shot on target in the first half. Their attack didn’t seem to be clicking in the first half. Wolves sat back for the most part and frustrated Arsenal in the first half.
Additionally, Arsenal made a few defensive mistakes in the first half that could have been punished. One of those was Saliba’s mistake. Thankfully, Gabriel Magalhaes reacted quickly to it and blocked the shot that Wolves got due to that mistake.
Of course, Xhaka coming off early in the first half was not good. He is an integral part of the Arsenal team and has enjoyed an excellent start to the season. Xhaka was reportedly subbed off due to an illness, so he should be fit and available after the World Cup is over.
Tactical Note: Vieira Replaced Xhaka
The most interesting tactical note from this match was Arteta’s decision to replace Xhaka with Vieira. Vieira performed a similar role as Xhaka, getting forward and looking to make things happen in the final third. However, Vieira did operate slightly more narrowly, allowing Martinelli plenty of space on the left.
Manager Rating: 8
Arteta made a good choice when replacing Granit Xhaka early on with Fabio Vieira. Vieira played quite well and got an excellent assist. Aside from that, Arsenal defended well overall and attacked with much more success in the second half. Arteta did a good job despite the unexpected challenge of Xhaka’s early replacement.
Arsenal Heads into the World Cup Break Top of the Table
With this win, the Gunners are five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table. Additionally, Arsenal have kept six clean sheets in eight away games this season. This was a crucial win. Arsenal return to Premier League action on December 26th at the Emirates against West Ham United.
At this point, I would bet on Arsenal winning the Premier League.
Check back next week for more Arsenal content.