Arsenal 1 Wolves 1
Mkhitaryan 86, Cavaleiro 13

Henrikh Mkhitaryan came off the bench to score a late leveller against Wolves at the Emirates stadium, the 1-1 draw ensured that Arsenal’s unbeaten run continued to now 16 matches in all competitions. The Gunners had gone a goal behind when Ivan Cavaleiro exchanged passes with Raul Jimenez to punish Granit Xhaka’s decision not to control the ball. Cavaleiro outpaced the back peddling Xhaka to strike first time past Bernd Leno after 13 minutes. The visitors were full of imagination and enthusiasm, and but for a string of fine saves from Leno, one from substitute Diogo Jota in particular kept the fighting Wolves at bay. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck the post after a neat move, while late on, the pace of Wolves substitute Adama Traore almost gave the visitors the winner.

Leno who had saved brilliantly from Jimenez and Helder Costa, now saved from Traore. Moments later, the Spain born striker set up substitute Morgan Gibbs-White. The 18 year old took aim, but saw his effort come back off the goal frame. Arsenal’s attacking philosophy was causing Wolves to form a wall of golden shirts to thwart the Gunners. They threw themselves to deny Alexandre Lacazette after a quick feint with his boot, and the Alex Iwobi from the follow up. However, a quick corner from substitute Aaron Ramsey caught out Rui Patricio who could only watch as Mkhitaryan’s cross found it’s way into the net from 20 yards.

Unai Emery has spoken of the consequences of his side’s propensity to start games slowly, but it seems to be an ongoing issue as does the Gunners’ defence. Sead Kolasinac was trusted at left back, with Shkrodran Mustafi and Rob Holding at centre back. Hector Bellerin at right back was once again effective going forward, and saw his effort off target when he should have done better. Lucas Torreira was his combative self, and should have opned his Arsenal account but his dipping shot from 20 yards was dealt with by Patricio. Mesut Ozil had the sort of game which has frustrated his fans, and was replaced by Ramsey after 75 minutes who’s quick initiative led to Arsenal’s leveller.

Emery’s decision to take off Iwobi for Matteo Guendouzi to play out on the left proved telling, and he justified his half time move.

“It was a tactical change. We wanted to play our right and left backs deeper and win back more possession inside with Sead and Hector. Sometimes we did this situation well and we created chances to score. Their work was good defensively because their block was very high,” said the Arsenal Head Coach who also revealed what his discussed with this players at half time.

“We spoke about these things. It was very difficult to find a goal or break through their lines defensively. Their transition was a very good transition. We didn’t want to concede another goal because it makes it more difficult, but our idea changed a little bit because we spoke at half-time. We needed to take more risks in the match.

“The risks were thinking that we could win but we also needed good balance in the transition against a good team with good transitions. I think the team played with character and we had chances to draw before our goal. We also continued to look for ways to create and to win the game but then we drew. In the last five or 10 minutes, we had the same idea with the risk but also thinking to win.

At the end of the game we could say, ‘OK, the two teams both deserved it’.

Emery also revealed that Danny Welbeck had suffered a broken ankle in the Europa League 0-0 against Sporting Lisbon, and was operated on last Friday. He and the players had been in touch with their best wishes for a speedy recovery.

The Gunners are next up to face Bournemouth in the Premier League at the Vitality stadium on Sunday November 25th.