Arsenal

Bukayo Saka just did what no Arsenal player has managed since Xhaka last season

Arsenal extended their lead at the top of the table with a 2-1 victory over Wolves yesterday, but the tight scoreline did not reflect their dominance in the game.

The Gunners were particularly dominant in the first half, and should have scored more overall as a number of players missed big chances.

Arsenal have been criticised in recent weeks for their attacking fluency, with it claimed that they were not as strong going forward as they were last season.

The lack of early goals has been a key issue, but Arsenal were back to their best in this regard against Wolves.

Bukayo Saka ends unwanted Arsenal streak

Bukayo Saka opened the scoring in the sixth minute as he battled for the ball before slotting it into the bottom corner, and this goal was significant for several reasons.

It was the first time this season that Arsenal had scored a Premier League goal within the first 15 minutes of a game. The earliest strike was otherwise Saka’s 17th minute opener away at Bournemouth.

It was therefore the first time an Arsenal player had struck in the first 15 minutes since Granit Xhaka’s 11th minute goal against Wolves on the final day of last season in May.

Mikel Arteta’s side had gone 13 league games without an early goal this season, and it was negatively affecting their attacking play as teams would find it easier to settle and defend deeper.

Arsenal came out of the blocks quickly against Wolves, and found themselves 2-0 up within 13 minutes after Martin Odegaard doubled the lead following an excellent team move.

Whilst they did not add to this scoreline, it was still one of Arsenal’s best attacking performances this season. The early goals meant Wolves had to push higher up the pitch, which created more space in behind.

Arsenal’s failure to score again did create a nervy ending to the game, but this was perhaps more bad luck than poor attacking play. Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah both hit the post, whilst Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Jesus also had a few chances throughout the game.

Arteta’s side scored just two goals from 2.89 xG, highlighting how they underperformed in terms of finishing, and on another day they could have won the game with a much heavier scoreline.

Arsenal have now won five games in a row in all competitions, and they will hope to continue this momentum against Luton on Tuesday.

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