Arsenal v Wolves: PREVIEW
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Arsenal travel to the West Midlands tonight to face Wolves in the Premier League, knowing that only a win will do in their hunt for a top four spot.
Unai Emery’s side will be looking to pick up all three points at Molineux and recover from a disappointing 3-2 defeat against Crystal Palace at the Emirates on Sunday, one which saw defensive mistakes prove costly.
Nuno Espírito Santo’s men will be no pushovers though, having taken a respectable 13 points from a possible 30 against the top six in the Premier League this season, also knocking Liverpool and Manchester United out of the FA Cup en route to the semi-final.
Arsenal are in desperate need of three points in their quest to finish in a UEFA Champions League place, knowing a win would take them back above Chelsea into fourth and put them a point behind Tottenham in third, with the Gunners looking to avoid a repeat of the 1-1 draw between the sides at the Emirates in November.
Now might just be the right time to face Wolves though, who have won just one of their last five games in all competitions, although they have been a revelation since their promotion from the Championship last season and are still in with a chance of securing European football for next season.
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Despite their recent form, Arsenal boss Emery believes Wolves will provide a tough test.
“We are playing against all of the teams and they want to battle us, fighting and playing with a big motivation,” he said.
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“One is the motivation in the table for each player and one is the motivation against Arsenal.
“Every team wants to battle us because they respect us and also because it’s important to try to win against us.”
Sokratis is expected to return to the starting XI tonight after serving his suspension, with the Greek defender likely to take the place of Shkodran Mustafi following his defensive horror show against Palace.
Speaking at the Gunners London Colney training ground yesterday, Emery confirmed that Aaron Ramsey and Denis Suarez will both miss out through injury, but refused to confirm if fellow midfielder Granit Xhaka is available after missing Sunday’s defeat.
“Aaron Ramsey cannot play. Denis Suarez cannot play,” he said.
“I am not telling you what our idea is with the players, with the system, with the injured players or the first XI.
“Sorry, I think it’s better for us.
“It can change sometimes. It’s because maybe I don’t want to be clear on how the players are. I prefer it. It’s not you, it’s for our opposition.”