Wolves came back from 1-0 down to beat Arsenal at Molineux to end their barren run of form. The home side fell behind courtesy of a wonderful goal from Nicolas Pepe, but they fought back in spectacular fashion to level before the break and take the lead just after it. I take a more in-depth look at each player to see how they fared in this crucial win.
A solid game from the Portuguese international who has seemed more confident with collection in recent games. He made a brilliant save to deny Nicolas Pepe minutes before the Ivorian scored, and was solid throughout when needed. No clean sheet will disappoint him but he couldn’t do anything about the shot.
This man consistently seems to split the fanbase as to whether he was worth the near £40m Wolves paid for him, and he didn’t do himself many favours with his defending for the first goal. He gave the ball away and then proceeded to get sold by Pepe before he curled his shot in. His attacking input was valuable however, as he offered Wolves a chance to break out of their own 16-yard line several times in the first half. He made some Doherty-esque runs in the second but did not see much of possession, although it was his brilliant pass that Bernd Leno handballed. Still progress to be made defensively but bright again going forward.
Another impressive performance from the ever-present Willy Boly. He was imperious in the air throughout the game and did not put too much of a foot wrong. Struggled a bit at first with Bukayo Saka constantly getting past Max Kilman, but not to the extent where he looked like a liability. He is showing that he’s Wolves best central defender by far.
A mixed afternoon for the Wolves captain. He was pretty awful in the first half, not closing down Pepe at all for his goal and also finding himself out of position several times when Arsenal broke at pace. Needs to show more aggression in the air as he seemed passive at points and struggled to cope with Saka when he was isolated. Was much more solid in the second half and produced a good block towards the end of the game.
Playing a left-back was always going to prove a tricky test with the pace Arsenal have out wide, and it proved to be so. Really struggled in the first half, giving up a golden chance for Saka to score in the opening minutes. He was constantly beaten for pace and failed to keep a hold of his side. He improved in the second half but was still one of the main weak links that Arsenal looked to expose.
What a second half for the veteran. He has come in for a lot of stick over recent weeks (and deservedly so) but he put in a masterclass here, particularly in the second half. Looked shaky and passive in the first half much to the annoyance of fans but looked far superior in the second where he dictated Wolves’ tempo with his quick passes and tenacity. His goal was one for the collector book in more ways than one in terms of rarity and quality. He looked back to his best after that and gained confidence as the game went on, hopefully, this a turning point for his personal campaign.
Whilst Moutinho struggled in the first half, this maestro was almost faultless throughout the whole game. He maybe could have done more for the first goal but his defensive play in midfield and his passing forward was as good as always. He played one particular stunner to Adama towards the end of the first half. He of course dispatched his penalty into the top corner to get the side back on track and kept Wolves ticking alongside Moutinho after that, picking up his solid form after missing out against Palace. Definitely my pick for player of the season so far.
So much better from the Spaniard this time around. He was a constant threat to the Arsenal backline and had the beating of Cedric all night. He’ll be disappointed to not have an assist to show for it but he was certainly crucial in pushing Arsenal back in the second half as the side built up momentum. Went down a bit too much at times but in fairness, the Arsenal defence did go in on him a lot.
Played in his strongest no.10 position today and was yet again impressive. Maybe one of his quieter games but he still showed the burst of pace Wolves needed. His footwork is always a troublemaker and he offers the team a creative outlet from midfield. Managed to play well behind Arsenal’s midfield and created space for Neto and Adama.
Another superb game from the little magician. Despite Hector Bellerin keeping him quiet on a couple of occasions, his physicality is deceptively impressive. Players just seemed to bounce off him when he got going and was unfortunate to not get a goal or assist either. Definitely the best player going forward and is consistently performing when given the ball often enough. Arsenal looked terrified to give him any space and doubled up in him more often than Adama, which is certainly enough of a sign as to how good he is. Would have been the perfect game if he had got a goal.
After the first couple of games to get a look at him, he certainly looks to be a useful addition. His physicality up front is certainly a plus and his hold up/link up play is impressive. His experience in knowing what decisions to make when passing or shooting makes a big difference and he can certainly strike a ball. Won the ‘controversial’ penalty and also caused issues with his aerial presence – plenty of promise as a replacement for Raul Jimenez.
How good is this kid by the way? Plenty have been comparing him and Gibbs-White, but it seems as though we should be putting those discussions to bed. For a player who has had very limited game time, he never fails to make an impact. Some lovely footwork and style to go along with his Moutinho/Neves like ability to keep the ball moving with quick passing. Should have scored in the dying moments and it would have been deserved. Very good backup option for Podence.
Was brought on to help see out the game and so did not really have to do a fat lot. Helped add some steel in the middle of the park so I cannot complain.
Came on in the last minute of the game so It would have taken something special to make a real impact.