Mikel Arteta bemoans defeat to Wolves: 'It's a really bad result'

Wolves had not won here since the tail end of the Liam Brady era
Mikel Arteta bemoans defeat to Wolves: 'It's a really bad result'

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta appears dejected after the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium

Premier League: Arsenal 1 Wolves 2

MIKEL ARTÉTA has gained great credit in 11 months as Arsenal manager, but that will not stop his methods being questioned after a fifth defeat of the season came on the first anniversary of his predecessor Unai Emery's sacking.

The rookie manager's initial impact resulted in a spectacular FA Cup success in August and summer reinforcements were made to speed up the evident progress.

The result confirms their worst ten-game start to any Premier League season - including successive home defeats by Leicester, Aston Villa and this impressive Wolves side - they go to early pace setters Tottenham this Sunday bereft of confidence.

Arteta said afterwards: "It's a really bad result. We had our moments. We had a great reaction in the second half. The team showed desire but the goal didn't arrive.” 

Wolves, who also lost star striker Raul Jimenez to a nasty head injury early, had not won here since the tail end of the Liam Brady era in 1979, but looked like the only winners from the outset. They led through Pedro Neto after 27 minutes and won the night before half-time from a Castelo Podence strike after Gabriel's equaliser.

Manager Nuno Espirito Santo said: “Raul is in good hands and is conscious and responding to treatment in hospital. We could have scored more, but it was a tough game and required us to be at our best.” 

The nasty injury came after only five minutes. David Luiz attacked the ball from a Willian corner and the clash of heads with Jimenez cracked around the empty stadium as referee Michael Oliver instantly waved on seemingly every member of the available medical staff.

The Mexican forward was wheeled off on a stretcher and driven to a hospital as play resumed with substitute Fabio Silva on in his place. Luiz, after checking on his opponent and receiving assurances from the Wolves manager, played on with one of those head bandages which made him look like a giant Guinness.

Why Luiz was allowed to play on, with blood seeping through his bandage and such a long time laid out, was explained by Arsenal's medical team insisting they followed protocol.

Arteta explained: “David [Luiz] is OK. He has a nasty cut and he was conscious. He had a test and was completely fine. We were really worried for Raul Jimenez because it was really nasty.

"When you see the reaction of the players you know something really bad is happening. We followed the protocol to check he [Luiz] had not lost any consciousness which he hadn't and then some tests. They will continue to do some more checks on him. He was really uncomfortable and couldn't really head the ball and couldn't continue."

But he was not to blame when Adama Traore nipped past left back Kieran Tierney, dinked over cross which Leander Dendoncker headed against the bar and was followed into the net by Neto in the 27th minute.

Arsenal once again looked lost as Wolves persisted with their tactics of taking to the game to Arteta's mentally fragile side.

But their lead lasted only three minutes as central defender Gabriel headed in a curled Willian cross from the right to mark Arsenal's first goal from open play since 4 October. Just the seven and a half hours!

Not that Wolves were bothered as they were back in front through Daniel Podence's second goal of the season. Bernd Leno parried away a Neto shot and Podence beat Luiz to the rebound to score with ease.

Wolves could and should have scored a third through Traore, while Arsenal seemed to be playing for the sanctuary of half-time.

Holding replaced Luiz for the restart after Arteta had sent his side out for some half-time sprints in a bid to start the second half with more urgency.

It sort of worked, for a bit, and Bukayo Saka fluffed a great chance to equalise from a Hector Bellerin cross Their attacking intent, which also made Wolves look ever dangerous on the break, lacked the necessary wit and invention to really worry Wolves. Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang went missing entirely. Something needs to change there.

And if Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos remain their midfield pairing this Sunday at Tottenham, Jose Mourinho will not be concerned. But Arteta left them soldiering on when he sent on Reiss Nelson for Willian with just over 25 minutes to go.

Nelson lifted his one good chance over the bar as not long after Aubameyang briefly sparked into life by dispossessing keeper Rui Patricio only to fail to get a shot off.

Arsenal could have done with some supporters to drive them back into the match in the closing stages. But there is also every chance they would have been booed off.

Arsenal: Leno 5, Bellerin 6, Luiz 5, Gabriel 7, Tierney 6, Ceballos 5, Xhaka 4 (Lacazette 81), Willock 5, Willian 6 (Nelson 65), Saka 5, Aubameyang 5. Subs: Runarsson, Cedric, Elneny, Nketiah.

Wolves: Rui Patricio 6, Marcal 6, Neto 7, Jimenez 6 (Silva 15, Kilman 78) Podence 7 (Neves 69), Boly 6, Coady 6, Semedo 6, Moutinho 7, Dendoncker 7, Traore7. Subs: Ruddy, Hoever, Ait-Nouri, Vitinha.

Referee: Michael Oliver 6.

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