EPL

Arsenal return to top of Premier League with win at Wolves

By Sports Desk April 20, 2024

Arsenal recovered from a horror week by returning to the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 win at Wolves.

The Gunners’ endured potentially season-defining back-to-back defeats as they lost to Aston Villa in the league last Sunday before being knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

But they returned to the summit of the Premier League thanks to goals from Leandro Trossard and Martin Odegaard at Molineux, moving a point above Manchester City, who have a game in hand.

Pep Guardiola’s side were in FA Cup semi-final action on Saturday and, with the Gunners facing Chelsea on Tuesday, they could be four points clear of City by the time the reigning champions next play against Brighton on Thursday.

That would be a big swing in momentum after what was diagnosed as a seemingly terminal defeat against Villa last week, with Liverpool, who also play twice before City are in action again, currently three points behind.

Mikel Arteta’s men were good value for their Saturday night win, even if Trossard’s opener had an air of good fortune about it and then having to wait until injury time to kill the game.

Wolves are crippled by injuries, including most of their key attacking players, but competed well and a shock result might have been possible had Joao Gomes’ first-half shot gone in instead of hitting the post.

Gary O’Neil’s men are now six games without a win in all competitions, but with home fixtures coming up against Bournemouth and Luton they will still be eyeing a top-half finish.

Arsenal did not have long to stew on that midweek defeat in Germany and were soon on top at Molineux.

Trossard was involved from the off, causing trouble down the left and his cross was tamely headed straight to Jose Sa by Bukayo Saka before the Belgian teed up Declan Rice who whistled a low shot just off target.

Trossard was then on the end of the supply line when he was found by Ben White, but he missed his kick in the middle of the penalty area.

For all Arsenal’s domination, it was Wolves who came closest to opening the scoring on the half-hour.

Gomes got the better of Jakub Kiwior down the right, advanced into the area and thundered in a shot which David Raya did well to divert onto the post.

Arsenal survived that scare and took the lead on the stroke of half-time.

Matt Doherty was weak in the challenge with Gabriel Jesus and the Brazilian set it back for Trossard, whose sliced effort went in off the post for his side’s first goal in two and a half games.

Arsenal were able to manage the contest effectively in the second half.

Wolves were so short of attacking options that midfielder Mario Lemina came on as a striker and the hosts upped the ante in the final 15 minutes.

But unsurprisingly, they were unable to create anything clear-cut as they probed for a leveller.

And Arsenal, who have not conceded in a Premier League away game since January, killed the game deep into injury time when Odegaard converted from an acute angle at the second attempt to take the three points and top spot.

Related items

  • Austin FC v LAFC: Cherundolo hopeful of maintaining 'contagious' winning feeling Austin FC v LAFC: Cherundolo hopeful of maintaining 'contagious' winning feeling

    Los Angeles FC head coach Steve Cherundolo is hoping to maintain their "contagious" winning feeling when they travel to the Q2 Stadium to take on Austin FC. 

    The Black and Gold are unbeaten in their previous six MLS fixtures after emerging 3–1 victors away at Orlando City last time out to keep them within striking distance of league leaders Real Salt Lake.

    Cherundolo's team have the comfort of an extra game in hand over the surrounding sides, but the 45-year-old wants an improved performance after their display last week. 

    "Winning is contagious, and winning is important," Cherundolo said. "Winning away from home is a lot of fun. 

    "It certainly wasn't one of our prettiest games, but we had solutions at times, but not all the time. We were hoping to manage our game a little better in possession, but we were unable to do that. 

    "That is what we will take away for something to improve on, but the result, the effort are some big pluses to take away from tonight."

    Meanwhile, Austin are eighth in the Western Conference having suffered a third consecutive defeat as they went down to the Colorado Rapids.

    Austin are winless in their last three games against their opponents, and head coach Josh Wolff expects another difficult encounter on Thursday. 

    "LAFC are one of the best teams in the league," Wolff began. "They have enough weapons, and their attacking players are ruthless and are extremely dangerous.

    "For me they are the best team in the league once again. I think they have so much talent and so much depth which goes a long way in this league. If it's a difficult day, they still have players to make plays. 

    "We have got to do better with our chances. Our key players have to perform and execute."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Austin FC – Sebastian Driussi

    The Austin captain will hope to mark his 100th appearance for the club with a goal, and is currently the top scorer for the Verde and Black's with five goals. 

    LAFC – Mateusz Bogusz

    Mateusz Bogusz has been involved in a goal in six consecutive league matches with four goals and two assists. 

    Only Carlos Vela (11 in 2019-20) has produced more in LAFC history, while only two players (Luciano Acosta - nine, Lionel Messi - eight) have had a longer streak in MLS this season.

    MATCH PREDICTION: LAFC WIN

    LAFC enter the contest as the favourites to emerge with the three points.

    Cherundolo's side have won eight consecutive matches in all competitions. The only MLS team to win nine straight matches outright (excluding breakaway shootout wins) in all competitions were the Seattle Sounders in 2018.

    The Black and Gold's are unbeaten in their last three meetings with Austin scoring at least three goals in each of those triumphs. 

    Austin's last victory over their opponents came in 2022, with the Texas side winning both of their MLS encounters with LAFC that season. 

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Austin FC - 27.6%

    Draw - 24.1%

    LAFC - 48.3%

  • Bolt undergoes successful surgery to repair ruptured Achilles Bolt undergoes successful surgery to repair ruptured Achilles

    World 100m, 200m and 4x100m record holder Usain Bolt has had a successful surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles heel.

    The eight-time Olympic gold medalist, who is 37 years old and retired in 2017, suffered the injury while playing in Soccer Aid, a match played annually to raise funds for UNICEF, on June 9 at Stamford Bridge, home of English Premier League club Chelsea FC.

    “Surgery was successful,” said Bolt on social media on Monday.

    Bolt, who has been a regular fixture in the charity game in recent years, was captaining the Soccer Aid World XI against England before going down with the injury early in the second half.

     

  • Inter Miami v Columbus Crew: Black & Gold aim for further road joy against gutsy Herons Inter Miami v Columbus Crew: Black & Gold aim for further road joy against gutsy Herons

    Inter Miami are sitting comfortably at the top of the Eastern Conference table but face a challenge on Thursday when Columbus Crew visit for an MLS clash at Chase Stadium.

    The Herons are two points clear at the summit of the East standings after snatching a 2-1 triumph over Philadelphia Union last time out.

    Yet Wilfried Nancy's Crew have triumphed in their last four road games in the league, battling to a 3-2 victory over New York City FC at Yankee Stadium on Friday.

    "It's a massive run and just shows how good we are mentally" Mohamed Farsi said of the streak.

    "I think we have more away wins right now than last year all season. I think so or the same, so I'm happy for that."

    Farsi has become a central figure for Columbus and scored the go-ahead goal in the 53rd minute against the Pigeons, much to the delight of head coach Nancy.

    "The idea for Mo is to be more consistent because he brings a lot of energy to the team," Nancy said.

    "He wants also to show himself that he's a better player than last year when we had the same deal here. Good for him.

    "Now, he knows that he has to work on certain things, but I'm happy for him. He's doing a good job."

    Despite missing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Matis Rojas – all of whom are on Copa America duty – the nine-man Herons overcame the Union thanks to Leo Afonso's last-gasp strike.

    "It is clear that in 10 times, nine of these games we would end up losing," Miami head coach Gerardo Martino said.

    "Absolutely all the credit belongs to them. That has to do with the effort, with the character, with the guts that the boys had."

    Afonso echoed his coach's sentiment ahead of another crunch match-up.

    "It's difficult when you're missing the best players in history in their positions," he said. "But we got to keep working, and we got to try our best."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Inter Miami – Jordi Alba

    With stars Messi and Suarez on international duty, Jordi Alba will be expected to step up once more for the Herons.

    The former Barcelona full-back has two goals this year in MLS, as well as five assists – that creative tally is only bettered by Messi (13) and Julian Gressel (six) among Miami team-mates.

    Columbus Crew – Diego Rossi

    Diego Rossi remains an integral figure in attack for the Crew, whose Javier Hernandez (five goals) has only scored more than the forward's four in 10 MLS games this year.

    With other Uruguayan colleagues at the Copa, Rossi will hope to extend his fine scoring form here.

    MATCH PREDICTION – DRAW

    Miami may be leading the way in the East but a draw appears the most likely outcome at Chase Stadium.

    The Herons have never lost a home match against the Crew (W2 D1), though Columbus did earn their first away point against David Beckham's Miami-based side on the last visit to Fort Lauderdale, a 2-2 draw in July 2023.

    Martino will hope to continue a strong run of form with another victory, however.

    Miami have won eight of their last 11 regular-season matches (D2 L1) following a 2-1 victory at Philadelphia on Saturday. Since that run began in mid-April, Martino's side have managed 26 points and scored 28 goals – both league-leading figures.

    Yet Columbus should not be ruled out for a win either.

    The Crew have won four straight regular-season away matches for the second time in club history after a four-match run in August-September 2015.

    Columbus have lost only one of their last 11 regular-season road matches, dating back to last September (W5 D5), and that streak could continue here.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Inter Miami win – 37.4%

    Columbus Crew win – 36.3%

    Draw – 26.4%

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.