Wolves earned their third away win of the season as they beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium.
First-half goals from Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence either side of a Gabriel header gave Nuno’s side their first win at Arsenal since 1979.
The game was sadly overshadowed by a sickening clash of heads after just five minutes between David Luiz and Raul Jimenez, with the Mexican leaving the field on a stretcher and heading straight to hospital.
Arsenal 1-2 Wolves reaction
Despite the return of Conor Coady pointing towards Wolves going back to a back three at the Emirates, Nuno sprung another surprise in his team selection.
For just the second time Nuno’s Wolves started with a back four, with the Portuguese starting Traore, Podence, Neto and Jimenez in the same team for the first time ever.
In total three changes were made to the team that drew with Southampton on Monday, with Coady, Marcal and the aforementioned Neto replacing Kilman, Ait-Nouri and Neves, who all dropped to the bench.
Mikel Arteta also made changes from their draw against Leeds last Sunday, with David Luiz and Bukayo Saka replacing Rob Holding and Nicholas Pepe, who was serving the first game of a three-match suspension.
The game’s first incident would turn out to be its defining moment. Jimenez and Luiz leapt to meet a fifth-minute Willian corner, but the Brazilian connected with the head of Wolves’ number nine, leaving him needing serious medical attention.
After ten minutes of treatment, Jimenez was wheeled from the pitch on a stretcher and admitted to a nearby hospital, where reports say the Mexican is thankfully conscious, talking, and responding well to treatment.
While Wolves could have understandably gone into their shell following a shocking injury to their talisman, they admirably used the incident as motivation to pick up a win for the stricken Mexican. Nuno’s side took the lead on 27 minutes as Leander Dendoncker’s header cannoned off the bar following a superb Adama Traore, but thankfully for Wolves Pedro Neto latched onto the rebound and fired past Bernd Leno.
However, the lead lasted just three minutes. Following a short corner, Willian’s delivery was headed home by compatriot Gabriel, who beat three flat-footed Wolves defenders to beat Patricio high to his right.
But it was Wolves who would go in ahead at the break, as Daniel Podence picked up his third goal in gold and black. The Portuguese international picked up Neto’s rebounded shot six yards out, sublimely flicked the ball over the incoming Gabriel and kept calm to fire past Leno to ensure that Wolves scored two goals for just the third time this season.
Podence’s goal would turn out to be the winner, as Wolves held on in a second-half that passed without a shot on target, but the thoughts of all Wanderers players, staff and fans will stay with their number nine.
5- Jimenez suffers sickening injury
Wolves lose Raul Jimenez following an awful clash of heads, and the Mexican is taken to hospital after receiving ten minutes of on-pitch treatment.
27- Neto nets to give Wolves lead
Pedro Neto scores for the second straight game as he fires past Leno from a rebound following Dendoncker’s close-range header.
30- Gabriel equalises for lacklustre Gunners
Gabriel makes the most of Arsenal’s first good opportunity, as he heads home from Willian’s corner.
42- Podence fires Wolves back in front
A superb piece of skill from Daniel Podence wins the game for Wolves, as the winger flicks the ball over Gabriel before finishing into the bottom corner.
Man of the Match- Pedro Neto
Yet again, Neto proved why Wolves sold Diogo Jota to accommodate him in their front three. Arsenal’s back four couldn’t cope with his pace, trickery or final product, as the 20-year-old picked up a goal and inadvertent assist to ensure Wolves’ first win at Arsenal in four decades
Things to improve
After an enthralling, front-foot, attacking 70 minutes, Wolves’ lead began to look less secure when Ruben Neves was introduced in place of Podence, and even more so when Max Kilman replaced the impressive Fabio Silva. While it would obviously be naïve to carry on a swashbuckling, free-flowing game when one goal up at the Emirates, there is a recurring need of Wolves inviting unnecessary pressure, most of which is self-inflicted. The saying goes that ‘attack is the best form of defence’, and Nuno may wish to think about this from time to time, if for no other reason than to save fans’ heart rates.