EPL

Wolves v Arsenal: ‘What we still have to play for is beautiful’ – Arteta

By Sports Desk April 19, 2024

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta set out to remind his team that they still have something “beautiful” to play for despite their Champions League exit.

The Gunners slipped out of UEFA’s flagship club competition in midweek when they went down 1-0 to Bayern Munich, losing 3-2 on aggregate.

That defeat followed on from a 2-0 loss to Aston Villa last Sunday – a reverse that significantly dented Arsenal’s title hopes, with the Gunners now two points behind Manchester City who, after this weekend, will have a game in hand.

Arsenal face Wolves on Saturday and, with City in FA Cup action, a win would see them move back to the top of the table, at least temporarily, so Arteta offered a reminder that all is not lost.

“I can guarantee you we are fully focused on Wolves and everybody's lifted,” he said following the loss in Munich.

“What we still have to play is beautiful and I said before, it's time to be next to our players and in this moment, not when you win 10 in a row and a draw, that's easy to prize our players and to be behind them and to say really nice things. The moment is now to be next to them.”

On Friday, in his pre-match press conference, Arteta added: “As an experience, [the Champions League was] the best one.

“I am now fully focused on the times ahead of us. We are now behind Manchester City and will give it a good go. The context is clear. If we win we are top of the league.”

Wolves sit 11th, though they could do with snapping a four-game winless streak in order to get their European hopes back on track.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Wolves – Matheus Cunha

Cunha has been involved in nine goals in his last nine Premier League games, scoring six and assisting three. His 11 goals overall this season is the fourth most by a Wolves player in a single Premier League campaign after Raul Jimenez (17 in 2019-20, 13 in 2018-19) and Steven Fletcher (12 in 2011-12).

Arsenal – Bukayo Saka

Saka has been involved in eight goals in his last seven Premier League away games, scoring seven and assisting one. His 13 away goal involvements overall this term (eight goals, five assists) is the most by an Arsenal player in a single Premier League campaign since Alexis Sanchez’s 20 in 2016-17.

MATCH PREDICTION: ARSENAL WIN

Arsenal lost a Premier League game for the first time in 2024 against Villa last time out. Since the start of last season, only twice have the Gunners suffered consecutive league defeats, doing so in May 2023 (v Brighton and Nottingham Forest) and December this season (v West Ham and Fulham).

Wolves are winless in their last four Premier League games (D2 L2), though they have won their last two at Molineux against sides starting the day in the top two of the table, beating Man City 2-1 in September and Spurs by the same score in November.

Arsenal have scored in their last 32 meetings with Wolves in all competitions.

Wolves have now lost each of their last five against the Gunners, failing to score in both home defeats in that run.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Wolves – 21.5%

Arsenal – 51.2%

Draw – 27.3%

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