Arsenal head into the international break sitting five points clear at the top of the Premier League table as Martin Odegaard’s double secured a 2-0 victory over struggling Wolverhampton at Molineux.
The Norwegian was in the right place to convert Fabio Vieira’s excellent cross after superb work from Gabriel Jesus, and he capped a fine individual display when he rifled home a deserved second to seal all three points.
To their credit, Wolves continued to huff and puff with new boss Julen Lopetegui watching on, but they were unable to find a way through and remain four points adrift of safety from the relegation zone.
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Ten wins from 12 at Molineux for the Gunners who end the day with breathing space at the Premier League summit, and you can’t say they don’t deserve it. You’ll struggle to find am Arsenal fan who wouldn’t have taken that before a ball was kicked this season.
The visitors looked a little bit like cannon fodder when Wolves were able to get out and counter at speed, while the men in red lacked discipline in spells and can be thankful that referee Stuart Atwell was in a forgiving mood in the first half.
Manager rating (out of 10, 10 = best)
Mikel Arteta, 8 — The Arsenal boss has slowly but surely transformed this Arsenal side and now has the North Londoners looking cosy at the summit. This wasn’t a glistening display, but his side showed grit capped by a couple of wonderful team goals.
Player ratings (players introduced after 70 minutes = no rating)
GK Aaron Ramsdale, 8 — Raced off his line and clutched onto Guedes’ low cross intended for Adama Traore before clinging onto the latter’s free-kick to preserve his clean sheet. Showed immense bravery to get to the ball ahead of the latter who clattered into him.
DF Gabriel, 7 — Glanced a decent opportunity wide of the far post from Saka’s corner, but he came to the rescue were a superb block to divert Guedes’ strike wide and bail out Saliba. Booked for a mistimed sliding challenge that swept Traore off his feet.
DF William Saliba, 6 — You wait all season for a Saliba mistake and two come along at once. The centre-back survived an early VAR check following a clumsy collision with Guedes and presented the same man with a clear sight of goal after a careless pass to nobody.
DF Oleksandr Zinchenko, 6 — The versatile Ukrainian struggled against the pace of Traore and Semedo and set Wolves away on the counter after he failed to control a slide. In fairness, he drilled in a killer cross that was eventually smashed home by Gabriel Martinelli.
DF Ben White, 6 — Produced some really effective overlapping runs and almost created the opener when his clipped cross was glanced just over a red shirt by Nelson Semedo. Mightily fortunate to escape a foolish yellow card for dissent.
MF Thomas Partey, 6 — He’ll be cursing Stuart Atwell’s memory as he became the first Arsenal player of the night to see yellow after hacking down Semedo, nearly three minutes after the foul had been committed.
MF Granit Xhaka, 6 — The Arsenal stalwart looked more than a little worse for wear from the off. The peaky Gunner puffed out his cheeks and tried to get on with the job, but had to be withdrawn with just 16 minutes played.
MF Martin Odegaard, 9 — Classy. A performance oozing magic from the Norwegian magician, who tapped home to cap a breathtaking team move and hammered a super second into the bottom corner. He very nearly helped himself to a couple more too.
FW Gabriel Martinelli, 7 — Clipped a tidy through-ball through to Jesus who finished well before the flag went up. Continued to create openings, and it was his brilliance that led to the Gunners’ second, including a nifty backheel for good measure.
FW Bukayo Saka, 6 — Showed his quality for the first time with 15 minutes on the clock when he won a corner, from which his inviting delivery was headed wide by Gabriel. Found Jesus with a stunning pass that split the Wolves defence wide open but the latter hit the bar.
FW Gabriel Jesus, 8 — Produced a lovely touch to set himself before smashing past Jose Sa, but he was offside. Rattled the bar after great work from Saka and continued to create chance after chance, including a remarkable pass to find Vieira who squared for 1-0.
MF Fabio Vieira, 7 — Introduced just past the quarter-hour mark as Arteta’s hand was forced by illness. Worked hard and grabbed himself an impressive assist when he darted in behind and squeezed a deft pass across the face of goal that was converted by Odegaard.
MF Mohamed Elneny, NR — Came on in the 91st minute and was immediately fouled by Bueno who was booked for booting the ball away, and that was pretty much that.
MF Reiss Nelson, NR — Finally replaced Saka after a very lengthy wait. I’m not sure if he even had a touch after all that.
DF Cedric Soares, NR — A late cameo that probably irked the overworked fourth official.