Arsenal 1-1 Wolves: Late Henrikh Mkhitaryan strike keeps unbeaten run alive for below-par Gunners
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Arsenal hosted Wolves at the Emirates on Sunday. Read on for Layth Yousif’s match report.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s late cross-cum-shot cancelled out Ivan Cavaleiro 13th minute goal as Arsenal and Wolves played out a 1-1 draw at the Emirates on Sunday.
It was another below-par performance from Unai Emery’s Gunners even if they did manage to extend their unbeaten run.
Wolves travelled to North London sitting in 11th place prior to kick-off having garnered 15 points their first 11 games of the season.
Boss Nuno Espirito Santo fielded an unchanged side after losing 3-2 to Spurs last time out to cap their third successive defeat after a six game unbeaten run which included four wins as they returned to the top flight.
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They took on the Gunners positioned six places higher in fifth place having collected 23 points. The home team had history on their side as Wolves had failed to beat the Gunners in their last 19 league and cup games.
They were also unbeaten in nine top-flight matches, winning seven in a row before drawing the last two.
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With the west midlanders last win over Arsenal being a 3-2 victory at Highbury in September 1979 few from the Black Country were optimistic about breaking that gloomy sequence.
Yet in a bright start backing by their vociferous 3,000 travelling fans Wolves went 1-0 ahead in the 13th minute through Cavaleiro.
The 25-year-old former Benfica winger drove at the heart of the Gunners backline before a neat interchange with Raul Jimenez who squared for the Portuguese international to slot past Leno on the line.
Three minutes before the half hour Helder Costa had a vicious shot palmed away by the alert Leno as the Wolves hunted for a second.
In between captain Conor Coady blocked an Alexandre Lacazette effort to deny Emery’s men. Now it was Arsenal’s turn to fear the statistics as Wolves had conceded only four times on their travels, a record bettered only by Manchester City and Chelsea.
As referee Stuart Atwell blew for the break one could only agree Wolves were well worth their 1-0 lead in what was probably Arsenal’s worst opening 45 minutes display this season.
Given there have been a few contenders since August it was unsurprising Emery showed once again he is unafraid to make early tactical changes as he hooked an underperforming Alex Iwobi for Matteo Guendouzi during the break.
However, the change failed to spark a lacklustre home side that looked unfocussed and lacking intensity leaving an impressively solid Wolves side looking worthy victors.
That was until Mkhitaryan’s late strike won a point for the below-par Gunners.
If a sign of a good team is that they can pick up points when playing well below their best then Sunday was a good day.
But sooner or later the Gunners will have to start performing to the level they are capable of to banish afternoon’s like this one.