Arsenal late show stuns Wolves to ignite top-four charge

Arsenal ignited their top-four challenge with a dramatic comeback against Wolves as Jose Sa’s own goal in the fifth minute of stoppage-time clinched a 2-1 win at a buoyant Emirates Stadium.

Alexandre Lacazette forced the goal having missed a succession of earlier chances, his close-range, angled effort bouncing in off the Wolves goalkeeper after substitute Nicolas Pepe had come off the bench to equalise in the 82nd minute.

Earlier, Hwang Hee-chan had given Wolves a 10th-minute lead when he latched onto an underhit backpass by Gabriel Magalhaes and rounded Aaron Ramsdale before slotting into an empty net.

Bruno Lage’s side, who were seeking to avenge their 1-0 loss at Molineux two weeks ago, defended superbly after that, with Conor Coady, Max Kilman and Romain Saiss helping to keep the wasteful Gunners at bay.

But Arsenal finally made the breakthrough when substitutes Pepe and Eddie Nketiah combined, and the dramatic winning goal, a moment of redemption for Lacazette, ensured Arsenal moved up to fifth, a point off Manchester United with two games in hand.

Mikel Arteta’s side came into the game hoping to capitalise on Tottenham’s defeat to Burnley on Wednesday but Hwang’s early strike, when he punished Gabriel’s error, stunned the home fans.

Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette and Wolves' Conor Coady
Image:
Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette and Wolves’ Conor Coady

Arsenal had started brightly, seeing a penalty appeal turned down inside the first minute when Nelson Semedo tangled with Gabriel Martinelli.

But the momentum shifted with the visitors’ opener and they should have doubled their lead when Raul Jimenez dragged wide from Daniel Podence’s through-ball soon afterwards.

Player ratings

Arsenal: Ramsdale (6), Soares (6), White (7), Gabriel (5), Tierney (6), Partey (7), Xhaka (6), Saka (7), Odegaard (8), Martinelli (6), Lacazette (6).

Subs: Pepe (8), Nketiah (7), Tavares (6).

Wolves: Jose Sa (6), Kilman (7), Coady (8), Saiss (7), Semedo (6), Moutinho (7), Neves (7), Ait-Nouri (6), Hwang (7), Podence (8), Jimenez (6).

Subs: Jonny (6), Neto (5), Dendoncker (6).

Man of the match: Martin Odegaard.

Arsenal rallied, creating a series of chances in the first half, but they were frustrated by a combination of poor shooting and heroic Wolves defending, with Saiss, Coady and Kilman making crucial blocks to deny Bukayo Saka and Lacazette.

Wolves threatened again either side of the break, with Jimenez heading wide and Hwang firing a low effort just past the post from another fine Podence through-ball, but Arsenal dominated from then on.

Despite their domination, though, their frustration only grew as they displayed a familiar lack of cutting edge with Lacazette the most culpable as he repeatedly fluffed his lines in front of goal.

Wolves' Hee-Chan Hwang celebrates after scoring against Arsenal
Image:
Wolves’ Hee-Chan Hwang celebrates after scoring against Arsenal

It was left to Pepe to make the breakthrough, the Ivorian turning smartly and firing past Sa from Nketiah’s cut-back for a timely first Premier League goal of the season, and after Wolves substitute Pedro Neto spurned a huge chance to put the visitors back in front at the other end, his low shot creeping wide after taking a touch off Gabriel, the stage was set for a dramatic finale.

Lacazette provided it, finally forcing the ball into the net after a total of eight shots without success, and while it was not credited to him, it did at least allow him to soak up the adulation of the fans as Arsenal savoured a potentially crucial victory.

Lacazette hails ‘amazing’ win

Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette told Amazon Prime: “I feel really happy, it is amazing to win this kind of game in the last minute.

“We really wanted this win because we know it is important to be at the top of the table.

“I knew it was the end of the game and Nicolas Pepe gave me a good ball. It went in and we are happy with the three points.

“A bit sad it is not gone down for me, I want to score, but most important is to win.

“We had a difficult January but we are coming back better in February.”

‘Proud’ Lage: Wolves deserved more

Wolves boss Bruno Lage said: “This is football. It is 96 minutes and we need to be in the game all the minutes.

“We had three good chances to go 2-0. Arsenal then come and score two goals and get the three points.

“It was a good game. I think we deserved more than we got but this is football.

“I am proud of my players. We played well, we came here to play with our personality.

“We don’t win together but now is to recover and go again against West Ham.”

What’s next?

Arsenal’s next game is away to Watford on Sunday, March 6 in the Premier League – kick-off 2pm – while Wolves travel to West Ham on Sunday, live on Sky Sports from 1pm; kick-off 2pm.


Sunday 27th February 1:00pm


Kick off 2:00pm

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