It’s Premier League match time, as Wolverhampton Wanderers host Arsenal at Molineux in game round twelve, on Wednesday.
Wolves are coming off a match at Old Trafford where they unlucky not to bank any points against a Manchester United side without some of their better players. Mick McCarthy’s side gave a good account of themselves and the United defence showed signs of frailty until Scholes was drafted to shore it up, in the second half. Jarvis and Milijas in particular were brilliant for the Wanderers, though a tale of waste opportunities did not serve a side that has scored just eleven goals in as many games this season.
The arsenal game is the fourth in a series of matches against the big four. Despite a good showing against Man City, Chelsea and Man United, Wolves have just three points from those games and will look forward to home advantage against the Gunners, in their bid to bank points from the midweek game and get away from relegation zone; Wolves are in 19th position on the points table with only West Ham below them.
Arsenal’s title ambitions have taken a few knocks recently, with away defeats against Chelsea and Man City, underscoring Gunners’ mediocre record on the road. So there is greater pressure on the squad to do well in home games. In the circumstances, the defeat to Newcastle at the Emirates in match week eleven must have hurt all the more.
Arsenal are strong in attack with a wealth of talent but their vulnerability in defence is neutralizing their strength up front. Their problems start between the posts. Almunia has not been the best of keepers this season, and in recent matches his replacement, Fabianski, has proved less than adequate. Sagna and Clichy iun the back-line have been found wanting, often out of position much to the delight of rival forwards. Likewise, Koscielny and Squillaci have done little to induce comfort in central defence. Vermaelen’s absence is hurting the squad and the sooner he gets back the better. Coming to the forwards, Nasri has been brilliant this season, while Walcott has stamped his presence on every game he has played. Chamakh has been brilliant too, thereby allowing Guenners great becnh strength in van Persie and Bendtner.
Arshavin, who was benched in the Newcastle game and featured as a substitute, could find himself back in the starting eleven against Wolves. Wolves will continue to be without Craddock in Wednesday’s game and Stearman is expected to fill in for him.
Arsenal will not have Koscielny, redcarded late in the game against Newcastle. Vermaelen is sidelined with injury.
Wolves are on the ascendant and will be hard to beat at Molineux. With Arsenal desperate for a win and with sufficient firepower to break the best of defences, this should be a great game in the offing.
Wolves had the following players in their starting eleven against Manchester United, last week: Hahnemann, Foley, Stearman, Berra, Ward, Edwards, Milijas, Jarvis, Doyle and Hunt; Mancienne, Fletcher and Ebanks-Blake featured in the game as substitutes.
The folowing players comprised Arsenal’s starting eleven against Newcastle in matchweek eleven: Fabiansky, Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci, Clichy, Song, Wilshere, Walcott, Chamakh and Nasri; Bendtner, van Persie and Arshavin were used as substitutes.
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An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.