Arsenal v Wolverhampton: the basic background facts



Arsenal v Wolverhampton: background

By  Bulldog Drummond

First off, sorry to Wolverhampton fans whose comments have not appeared.  Two reasons: one is we don’t publish abuse, and the other is that we don’t publish comments where the email address given turns out not to be real.  Sorry about that.  We do normally publish comments from supporters of the team Arsenal are playing, but the same rules apply to everyone.  Once we start publishing abuse rather than points made with logic or facts, the whole site descends into the exchange of abuse, and it gets boring and occasionally takes us into potential legal cases, which are extremely dull.  And expensive.

Anyway according to the chit-chat doing the rounds Reiss Nelson has been ill and may not make it, and there is talk of Bukayo Saka and Leandro Trossard both having caught a bug as well.   That of course is in addition to Gabriel Martinelli, William Saliba, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Mohamed Elneny all being out.   Looks like Arsenal do need a larger squad, but I suspect there are a few 16 year olds who fancy a run out.

However, on the other side of things, Julen Lopetegui has a one-game touchline ban having been given four yellow cards.  Meanwhile according to the Daily Mirror, “The head coach is in talks with chairman Jeff Shi and Chinese owners Fosun over the budget after stunning fans by saying he was unaware of the club’s FFP issues. Fosun are seeking outside investors for all their businesses but Wolves need to sell to buy this summer after two expensive transfer windows.”  Sounds  trifle careless for the manager not to know the finances, but I think Tottenham’s various appointments have suffered in the same manner.

The BBC’s view is that “It is slightly worrying for Wolves that there are doubts about Julen Lopetegui’s future because he has done such a good job – they were bottom when he took charge in November. Their season turned out OK, but there could be an uncertain summer ahead at Molineux,” and most certainly this is a manager who has transformed a club during his time there.

In the past, the two clubs have met competitively 121 times with Arsenal winning 50% of the games and 23% being drawn leaving Wolverhampton with obviously 27% going their way.  The last three games, all played last calendar year, were victories to Arsenal by 0-1, 2-1 and most recently, last November 0-2.

But here is the big statistic: Arsenal have won the final league game of the season in each of the past 11 seasons and have not been beaten on the last day since 2005.  Last season you might recall it was Everton 5-1: a rather jolly affair as I remember it even though we lost fourth place.  The year before it was Brighton 2-0. And in 2020 it was Chelsea 2-1.   

The last defeat in the last game was a 2-1 away defeat to Birmingham City in 2005 having won all 13 of the previous games.  And the reason, apart from the league season being all done and dusted, was that Arsenal had one more game to go after that: the FA Cup.   We beat Manchester United 5-4 on penalties.

The perspective from the other side of the park is different.  Wolverhampton have “lost their final game in seven of their eight Premier League seasons, including each of the past five” according to the BBC review, with their last (and indeed only) win in the final match of a PL season being a 2-1 defeat of Sunderland at home.

But of course, this is the time of the season when it is traditional for journalists to have something negative to say about Arsenal, and the BBC indeed have found it.  “They have kept three Premier League clean sheets at home this season – only Southampton, with one shut-out on their own patch, have a worse record.”  I knew there had to be a negative in their somewhere.

On the other hand they do admit that “A 26th Premier League win of the season would equal the club record in a single campaign, set in 2001-02 and matched in 2003-04,” as well as noting the fact that if Arsenal could just get two more goals that would be 100 in all competitions this season.

And there is one point of note about this game: only three players, excluding goalkeepers have started all Arsenal Premier League games in a season until now.  Dixon, Merson and Winterburn.  Gabriel, if he starts will be the fourth.

So that seems to sum up most of the stats.   We’ll take a look at the team next.


One Reply to “Arsenal v Wolverhampton: the basic background facts”

  1. Arsenal need 3 players to be able to beat Man City and they are: Caicedo, Rice and Kim Min-iae. Also a tactical change with Saka ( who is always double marked) tactically made to frequently swap flanks during the game with Martinelli. Also Tossard should start every game as a false number 9 and not a winger. Jesus should be used a a super sub to cover any of our attacking front three players when they are tired.

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