Arsenal transfer worry and Premier League top four dream.
On a night Arsenal needed to battle past their opponents in a blisttering manner, that day, their striker was now where to be seen as Gabriel Magalhães sneaky finish was what makes the difference.
That was on display on Thursday night at Molineux as Arsenal secured a battling 1-0 win, finishing the game with ten men after Gabriel Martinelli was sent off.
Arsenal striker continues to misfire
The Gunners’ frailties in attack almost cost them, however, as they failed to put the game to bed.
Alexandre Lacazette continues to lead the line and his work ethic and his hold-up play cannot be faulted, but there is no denying there are limitations to his game.
It was another match without a goal for the Frenchman, whose Premier League tally this season remains at just three.
Lacazette missed several chances throughout the night, but the worst of them all was when he skewed a one-on-one with a glorious chance to make it 2-0 and secure the points shortly after Martinelli’s dismissal.
This miss was so poor that Arteta has to confront Lacazette which led to an heated arguments on the touch line after the striker was subbed of for Eddie Nketiah.
“Disappointed,” the Frenchman said.
“I know I should score that one, gonna keep working to be back!!”
Likewise also, On one occasion during the first half, Martinelli went on a mazy run from his own half into Wolves ‘ territory, dragging as many as five defenders along with him.
Martinelli had very few options but played the ball where he was expecting Lacazette to be, but the Frenchman’s lack of mobility meant that he was nowhere near it, prompting an angry reaction from the youngster.
Good to worse?
The Gunners were renowned for their blistering attack over the years, while their defence would continually let them down.
Now, it’s the complete opposite.
Prior to the Wolves game at Molineux stadium, Arsenal have scored just once in in five appearances in all competitions since the second half of the season.
With the summer signings of Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale and Takehiro Tomiaysu have added some steel to Mikel Arteta’s side and they are one of the hardest teams to break down however,the issues and lack of depth at the striker position have been laid bare this season.
Alexandre Lacazette does not have enough of a cutting edge in front of goal.
Eddie Nketiah continues to show that he is not of the quality to play for Arsenal in high pressure matches against Premier League opposition and with just three league goals combined this season for the current options speaks for itself.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s exit is a clear indication that they’re willing to sacrifice short-term success for their long-term gain, however, it’s a decision that could backfire should Arsenal fail to finish Top 4 this season despite opportunity that has been presented to them.
Premier League top four: Arsenal dream of Champions League
Arsenal strengthened their hopes of a top-four finish on Thursday with a 1-0 win at Wolverhampton Wanderer, defender Gabriel scoring for the Gunners
It’s certainly been a while. Not since 2016 have Arsenal finished a season in the Premier League top four, a startling indication of their decline as a force in English football.
Arsenal’s 17-year streak of Champions League participation came to an end when they failed to secure a top-four finish in 2016-17, and they have been absent from Europe’s premier competition ever since.
Placing 5th, 6th, 5th, 8th and 8th since then has shown how the mighty have fallen.
But Mikel Arteta’s team are well placed to end their absence after overcoming their worst top-flight start in history this season
‘They still need to score more goals, it’s been a difficult period, but they are in the top four. Why can’t Arsenal make it?’ Martin Keown said on BT Sport.
‘I do feel the quality is there and the belief is there.’
The lack of goals could yet derail Arsenal — with youngsters Emile Smith Rowe (eight) and Bukayo Saka (six) their leading scorers in the league to date — and, prior to the trip to Wolves, the club had failed to score in four successive games in all competitions.
But although the Gunners have their weaknesses, their fixture list is favourable and they have a clear run without cup distractions (having been knocked out of the FA Cup by Nottingham Forest in the third round), so Arsenal are favourites to claim fourth place.
So will Arsenal finish the season in the top four?