Arsenal will be ruing what is likely to be an incredibly rare opportunity with many of the top teams dropping points through draws. The likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea only attained a point this game-week and if Arsenal want any hope of securing a top-four finish then it is opportunities like this that must be capitalised on, especially against a team struggling on 17th place on the ladder.
While it is a huge missed chance, credit must given where credit is due and the performance of Wayne Hennessey was incredible today. The Welshman made a string of fine saves throughout the match, including a great save off the line from Mertesacker’s header and an acrobatic save to divert Van Persie’s great free-kick over the bar. You would have felt on any other day the ball would have bulged the back of the net on both occasions.
Again I find myself asking questions over why Oxlade-Chamberlain wasn’t given a chance to have an impact on the match. The boy is a genuine attacking threat and has the ability to penetrate any defence and yet he is still left on the bench when we are in dire search of a winning goal. Yes, I get that Wenger doesn’t wish to rush such a young player, but you feel he is more potent than the likes of Arshavin and particularly Chamakh so hopefully he gets some match-time soon as Wenger has stated he will.
Anyway, we look forward now to the upcoming game against QPR who lie one place ahead of Wolves on the Premier League ladder in 16th place. It is imperative that the gunners become more ‘ruthless’ as said by Arteta and secure a vital three points. These are the kind of games that could define our season and we need to capitalise on them.
on the result…
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It is frustrating but I am more frustrated by the result than the performance and the spirit. You cannot fault the attitude or the commitment or the desire to win the game. We missed a great opportunity but we just have to keep going and take the positives out of the game today.
on letting the lead slip…
At the moment what we have to learn is that when we are 1-0 up in some departments we cannot be too comfortable. We were caught in a position where we can only blame ourselves. Apart from that their keeper had the game of his life, Wolves fought like mad and well done to them. I don’t know how many shots we had on goal and how many they had, but it was the kind of game that if you play it 20 times you win 19 and you draw one – and it was today. On the day we couldn’t afford it, it was today.
on missing chances…
Their keeper had a good performance, they saved a few on the line, they did fight like mad. It was more important for us to go in 1-0 up at half-time because I know with the way they defend they would not survive like that for 90 minutes and we would have much more space in which to play. At some stage they would have had to come out. But I felt we lost our way a bit between 30 and 40 minutes and on that occasion we were caught. The only thing we can learn today is to keep the spirit and when you’re 1-0 up to keep our level up.
on a possible penalty…
I have heard that, yes, but what can I do? It looks like, for us, to get a penalty we will have to fight very hard. I have seen the handball at Man City and it was definitely handball.
on Vermaelen being penalised…
I personally am responsible for the performance of my team, that’s personally a lot. Not for the performance of the referee, I have no influence. I think despite that we could have won the game today and that’s what we have to look at. I can complain about the referee or not. We had enough to win the game without these decisions.
on his side not being given penalties…
I don’t say they [the referees] are reluctant, I just say that there should have been a penalty in the Man City game. Today I have not seen it, that’s all I can say at the moment. The decisions did not go in our favour but we do not blame them today. We blame nobody in fact, it was a game we could have won anyway.
on chances to score a winner…
Gervinho scored today and we had other opportunities, Arshavin was very close, Rosicky was close, Mertersaker was close. It was the kind of day where maybe we were not relaxed enough, maybe we wanted it so much, that we were a bit too much in the ‘wanting zone’ and not enough in just the technical zone.
Djourou Mertesacker Koscielny Vermaelen
Benayoun Van Persie (c) Gervinho
Wojciech Szczesny | 6.0: The keeper literally had three of four touches in the entire match, so the rating isn’t really any fault of his own. A shame the Fletcher header squeezed in the far post
Johan Djourou | 6.5: Did very well to keep Jarvis at bay when needed and made some runs down the flank to help on attack on some occasions although his poor defensive header from the corner did lead to the goal.
Per Mertesacker | 7.0: Totally dominated in the air and was very unlucky not to score the winning header with his effort cleared off the line by Hennessey.
Laurent Koscielny | 7.5: The Frenchman has come a long way since he signed for Arsenal and produced another fine defensive display. Wasn’t afraid to surge forward at times and almost won it after he late surge into the box.
Thomas Vermaelen | 7.0: The Verminator made a number of runs down the flank in the first half and whipped in a number of dangerous crosses. As usual he looked comfortable on defence, but was unlucky his block directed the ball into the path of Fletcher who subsequently scored.
Alexandre Song | 6.0: The Cameroon midfielder had an off-day today which is surprising given he was rested through suspension. Was hauled off by Arsene after picking up a silly booking and walking on a tight-rope thereafter.
Mikel Arteta | 5.5: Yes, the Spanish midfielder was tidy, but he needed to offer much more on attack considering we were pushing hard for a winning goal.
Tomas Rosicky | 7.0: The Czech midfielder was involved in a majority of Arsenal’s attacks and played a number of excellent balls over the top that Van Persie was unfortunately unable to latch onto.
Yossi Benayoun | 6.5: Excellent ball for Gervinho for the opening goal, but often cut inside and left the right-wing unoccupied and was subsequently subbed shortly after the hour mark.
Robin van Persie | 5.0: I only give the Dutchman a low mark as I expect so highly from him in front of goal. Should have fired the rebound from Mertesacker’s header at least on target and failed capitalise on some glorious balls that were played over the top. Was unlucky with his free-kick, but considering his other chances should have done better.
Gervinho| 7.5: The Ivorian was one of the gunners best attacking players on the day and coolly slotted home the opening goal. Gets into dangerous positions with ease and one feels once he gets his final ball going he looks likely to be a very threatening player.
- Notable Substitutions
Andrey Arshavin | 6.5: While the little Russian did not see much of the ball, he produced a great toe-shot that just drifted wide of the post.
Aaron Ramsey | 7.0: Linked up well with his team-mates and was very accurate when distributing the ball. Unlucky with a pull-back that just missed a team-mate.