Arsenal v Wolverhampton: the tackling, the team predictions, the result

By Bulldog Drummond


When the two clubs met recently they had each played 21 games which made life easier in comparing statistics,  and prior to the game we found these stats…

Club Tackles Fouls Yellows
Arsenal 301 189 30
Wolverhampton 379 207 36
Arsenal per game 14.33 9 1.43
Wolverhampton per game 18.04 9.86 1.71

So we could see that with both clubs having played the same number of games, Wolverhampton tackle more, foul more and get more yellow cards than Arsenal.

Since then the teams have played each other at Wolverhampton, and Wolverhampton then had two matches against Arsenal’s one.   The Wolverhampton games were an away win at Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 and a home win against Leicester city 2-1.

So we now see Arsenal having played 23 games and Wolverhampton 24.

Club Tackles Fouls Yellows
Arsenal 332 212 34
Wolverhampton 428 244 43
Arsenal per game 14.43 9.21 1.48
Wolverhampton per game 17.83 10.17 1.79

What we can see is that while Arsenal’s numbers have crept up slightly in all three areas (which is not surprising given the nature of the refereeing we saw in the match against Wolverhampton where the referee ignored standard procedures to be able to send Martinelli off), Wolverhampton are clearly attempting to get their tackling rate down.  Yet despite this their fouling rate is going up, as is the speed at which they get yellow cards.

We can in short expect what the media commentators will call some “robust tackling” from Wolverhampton tonight, for a team that is reducing the tackling, but increasing its fouling and yellow card rate over just a couple of games, is clearly adopting a classic “none shall pass” strategy.

If the referee sees this, then we’ll be ok, but if not, there could be some significant injuries to Arsenal players tonight.

In terms of line ups I’m going to start with the one variant that is available on the media, from the notorious Daily Mirror.  They say,

“Mikel Arteta has revealed he may field all four of Arsenal’s most exciting young attacking talent at once in Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli.

“All four are highly rated by the Spaniard and adored by the Arsenal faithful, but it has proved a struggle to try and accommodate all four in the same starting line-up.

“Martinelli was suspended for the last league outing at home to Brentford but having served his one-game ban, Arteta now has a decision to make ahead of the visit of Wolves on Thursday night.

Now wouldn’t that be fun!

Sports Mole predicts at 2-1 Arsenal win with this team…


Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney;

Xhaka, Partey;

Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe;


The Standard predicts a 1-0 win, but refrain from offering thoughts on a team lineup.

Talk Sport find themselves too busy talking about their own commentary on the match tonight to give either a lineup or a prediction.

Pain in the Arsenal offer a lineup of


Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney;

Partey, Xhaka,

Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe;


and indeed if you are pretty smart on the observation front you’ll see that is exactly the same as Sports Mole.  And indeed it is the most obvious selection we could have.  Everyone is fit, and the only possible question could be about including Martinelli, but having him fresh on the bench for the latter part of the game is a very good tactic.

They predict a 1-0 win to the Arsenal.

The Express spreads its team selection out over a couple of pages, but still ends up with the same lineup.

And really there is not much point going on because the team is being predicted as the same all the time, and the scores invariably are a low scoring win to Arsenal.

Mind you when it comes to the accuracy of predictions you might want to have a read of

If you are going – enjoy the game.  We certainly hope to.

47 Replies to “Arsenal v Wolverhampton: the tackling, the team predictions, the result”

  1. Coincidentally you mention yellow cards but what of the reds?
    Arsenal have had 3 reds whereas Wolves have had just the 1. Do these not count when it comes to fouls etc?
    Xhaka is a likely starter, so will he add to that number of reds, for it is highly unlikely Wolves will be adding that solitary 1?
    So Bulldog, will you publish this comment or are you like other non-Wolves sites who remove anti team comments so that your own fans can’t read them?
    I await the outcome.

  2. I just hope these papers won’t jinx the team with their predictions. The team should just go out there,play their game but always have it in mind that 3 points is the utmost,we can’t afford to drop points. COYG


    I seem to recall in the recent reverse fixture a 10 man Arsenal won the match and kept a clean sheet.

  4. So now when there is at least a foot offside, VAR needs 2 minutes…. which does make sens they are xraying the area to check if some Arsenal player’s hair may invalidate the the offside.

  5. so the Atkinson show is on again. And Arsenal even gave him an easy solution by not concentrating.
    This looks like it is not going to end well….

  6. I note Saka’s yellow card for a blatant, dangerous, life-threatening assault. Typical for such a well-known dirty player.

    On a less ironic note, he is now a potential contender for Atkinson’s obligatory red card for an Arsenal player

  7. jimenez has fouled more than 3 times and worse than saka but no cards. Atkinson is a PGMOL cheat.

  8. After there goal we had a dodgy 5 minutes and since then they have not troubled us , just protecting what they’ve got . I think we can get back into game by keeping tight in midfield closing them down quicker when they play out from the back and moving the ball faster so not allowing them to get set up defensively ,fingers crossed .

  9. They need to keep their cool. Not let emotions get the best and do stupid mistakes.
    There is no defence against a stroke of genius and Arsenal have enough players capable of such

  10. IAM

    Incompetent Arrogant Morons

    The big Atkinson-Friend-PGMOL horror show. 2 teams, 2 sets of rules was rarely so obviously on display. We ought to give it the 2×2 moniker : how are we refereeing tonight’s game mr Riley ? Oh just give me a 2×2 Martin/Kevin/whoever

    What a shameful and utterly ridiculous performance



    And now….keep your cool and keep the ball !!!

  12. A Team: Definition – Illustration
    Very happy for the skipper – even though I think the winner will go down as an og – sky’s the limit for this young, wild bunch

  13. What a great come back against a very negative team. Feel sorry for Gabriel who had a bit of a nightmare early on.
    Great goal by Pepe made by Nketiah.
    And then the attempt to waste time from Wolves came back to haund them. LOL After that ridiculous substitution the ref could only give a lot of extra time…. just enough for us to score the winner! Love it!

  14. The team fought hard , and what I said earlier Wolves were trying to protect what they had and it’s difficult to change their game plan as soon as we equalised .
    Once we equalised we had the belief we could win and guess what !!!
    A great team performance , 14 to go .

  15. Interesting comment by Martinez on TV.
    Praising Arteta for good coaching and the quality of the players he brought in – Pepe and Nketiah
    Explaining how these two players adding extra bodies of quality in the box broke Wolves back.

    But then, does this guy no know Arsenal have not enough players, are lacking strikers, can barely field a team ?!?!?

    Ah yeah, I forgot. Martinez is a manager. He knows the business. He is legitimate to talk about it.

    This team keeps astounding us. They have become tougher, meaner, they start to show a wolf pack mentality.
    And they overcome obstacles. Not giving up. Lacazette as a leader is really doing his job.

  16. So basically if a goalie touches the ball before it goes in, it’s an own goal ?
    I mean the ball was going into the net, that is at least how I could see it in every replay angle.
    WTF is that new rule labelling OG a ball the goalie touches on the way into the goal ?
    Is that a new rule we don’t know about ? Is it about goalies appearing on the scoring statistics ?

  17. You have to love Artetas post match comment:

    “After three defeats in the first three games we had to avoid relegation. That was the first aim….”

    If that isn’t taking the p!$$ out of the media morons I don’t know what is.

    Nice one !

  18. Well done to the boys. Shame on Atkinson and the pigmob morons manning the VAR tonight. Imagine Arsenal penalty shout wasn’t even checked by VAR whereas they wasted 2 minutes trying to fabricate an onside ruling for a blatant offside goal.

    High boot to the head of Arsenal player was a non event where Saka got yellow for breathing.

    I don’t swear or curse, but I did both for Atkinson tonight.


  19. It’s interesting that in the post match interview the Wolves manager was asked what he thought of Arsenal not putting the ball out of play when Simedo went down injured. Fair play to him for saying he had no opinion but why didn’t the presenter or commentator point out that Simedo could have actually limped off the pitch for treatment rather than time waste. Arsenal played to the rules yet still the media present things as though we’ve done something wrong.

  20. I hope none of you are celebrating🍾🍹🥂 Pepe’s Bergkamp-esque turn was a game-changer, unlike Atkinson. The media are talking about Arsenal being top-4 contenders. We shouldn’t set our sights so low. Top 3 looks like a distinct possibility.

  21. @seismic,

    looking at the table I had the same thought as you. 1 game in hand and just 5 points off Chelsea who do have their own issues to deal with. But 4th will be ok to me and any true Arsenal fan.

    But I’ll bet you whatever that if we make four, we’ll see comments to the fact that 4th is not a trophy and that Arsenal are far from winning and theey have no reason to celebrate….

    The other thing in the table I do enjoy is seing us 6 points and 12 goals ahead of the galactival team with the galactical striker worth gazillions.

    And finally, one thing is sure : Wolves will eat up points of our competitors. We’re got 6 points off then and it’s good riddance until next year.

  22. We should be very pleased with our return against Wolves. This is their last 9 matches:


    That includes games against Man Utd, Chelsea and Spurs.

    We are the only 2 L’s

    Lets be clear about this, Wolves are a tough tough nut to crack. We may not like how they play, but it would be a little hypocritical of us to be too high and mighty given one of our favorite and most successful managers made us famous for 1 nil to The Arsenal.

    Personally I think they are not a dirty side. Certainly not in the mold of an Allerdyce or Pulis team. And okay they time wasted. But surely that’s up to the referee to deal with ? It’s hardly their fault Atkinson is incapable of dealing with them as he should ? Apart from their petulant whinging about our celebrations up at their place, I don’t have a problem with Wolves.

    Personally I hope they continue to be as dogged, committed, and yes annoying, as they have been against us, right up to the end of the season.

  23. @Nitram,

    I was impressed by Wolves. And considering the game ended with 8 fouls and one yellow on both sides, and I did not see many acts of aggression, I think it went rather well. They know how to park the bus, they know how to search for the key before starting the engine…and when an Arsenal player waits a few seconds for a player to receive bis touch ball Atkinson plays his role of showing the watch. All stuff we are used to and I believe the team is getting used to. And as I commented as well : they will cost our competitors points and we’ve got 6 off their back.

    8 fouls on both sides… that says a lot.
    26 shots inside a single game against a team like Wolves says something as well.

  24. Just to re iterate what I said above about how tough Wolves are to crack this is what Arteta said after the game:

    “Winning at the end against a really good team, who – once they are ahead – are extremely difficult to beat them. I think they haven’t lost a game after going ahead since 2018”

    Now I don’t know if that is true but if it is that is a remarkable record, truly remarkable.

  25. Chris

    “26 shots inside a single game against a team like Wolves says something as well”.

    It does indeed.

    I was swearing at the telly because of our wastefulness, and it was frustrating, but never the less it takes a good team to create that many shots against a team such as wolves.

    Spurs managed (home) 17.

    Man Utd (home) managed 9.

    Chesea (away) managed 8.

    We are becoming a very impressive team. Not up to Man City or Liverpools standards, yet, I don’t think, but hopefully in time.

  26. Apparently, that was the first PL game that Arsenal have won under Arteta after going behind.

    Trevor Sinclair on Jan 22 2022 – “Put the FA Cup aside, I don’t think Arsenal have improved under Arteta”

    Translation:- If you ignore the trophies they have won, Arsenal haven’t improved under Arteta.

    What a plonker.

  27. seismic

    “Apparently, that was the first PL game that Arsenal have won under Arteta after going behind”.

    I heard that.

    A good monkey to get off the back !

  28. Another interesting comment from Arteta

    “…and then that’s the energy and (synergy) with our fans to create a special atmosphere. Where people don’t want to come and play against Arsenal”.

    I think we can all see that Arteta, and the players in general, are all trying very hard to get the fans back on side, which is very understandable and laudable, but the true test of whether it has worked or not will be the next time we hit a bad patch, or even have just a bad result.

    What we need is for our ‘supporters’ to be just that, supporters, come what may.

    The way so many of our ‘supporters’ turn on the manager, the team, and the players, at the drop of a hat, or a point to be more precise, is shameful.

    Lets hope this young manager and team can build a bond with the fans that is so strong even the endless media ridicule cant break it.

    Even tonight as we battled to break Wolves resolve the commentators kept on about the mounting discontent in the crowd. I doubt it was even there to be honest, but this is how they keep stirring up the discontent.

  29. No mention of the Arsenal penalty in the first minute during the half-time Wolves love-in on Amazon Prime.

    I did enjoy the chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing” during the time-wasting opportunity that was the Wolves substitution when Jiminez was eventually booked. Rosenthal kept calling for the yellow card to be rescinded, and then must have been informed via his earpiece that yellow cards can’t be appealed.

    The only dampener upon proceedings (apart from Atkinson) was the fact that Tyldesley was commentating. I still haven’t forgiven him for the biased hatchet-job he tried to do on us during the Celtic CL match.

  30. Roberto Martinez said that Wolves were the better team for 70% of the match. Not the match I was watching. Arsenal had 26 shots to Wolves’ 6. Our shots were NOT all concentrated into a 30 minute period.

  31. Now that this session is over, let us see how many teams are charged with ‘not controlling their players’…………..or is it a special for Arsenal only?

    Incidentally, Riley, your boy Atkinson was a shambles all on his own. Couldn’t get a player off the field when obviously unable to continue and booking a player for not leaving the field when he wasn’t required to. He should have red carded the injured player and yellow carded the teams officials for time wasting. 4 minutes wasted and not added to the various ‘thoughtful processes’ that used up 30 – 40 seconds for throwing the ball into play.

  32. WOO HOO , HOO ! A great win and a great fight back. Never easy to get points off the Wolves , but 6 ? Well done guys !
    Was a bit disappointed on having conceding at the death against Brentford last week , but this win more than makes up for it.
    Nice to see us move up the tables as the others around us shoot themselves in the foot!
    Up the Gunners !

  33. @Menace,

    the thing with the time wasting that was the most ridiculous wasAtkinson getting visibly pissed at Arsenal and by gesture menacing because they were suppposedly time-wasing when a throw-in in the first half took more then a few seconds due to the Wolves players’ compact placement at that moment.

    I mean…Arsenal were behind, had the ball…. at no point in time did he have any of these gestures when Wolves were taking their time. Maybe he did not want to interrupt their thinking, praying, counting ? IAM – Incompetent Arrogant Moron

  34. Atkinson and his band of merry men got several decisions wrong last night and I personally felt that all a Wolves player needed to do was fall over to get a free-kick whilst we were subject to a much harsher regime. Having said that he got decisions wrong for both sides which shows he is not just biased but incompetent too.

    I have to say, however, that one the failures that stuck in my mind was when Coady was running towards our goal and adjudged to have committed a foul (when, in fairness it looked like there had been little or no contact). What followed was Coady running half the length of the pitch giving Atkinson an absolute tirade of quite aggressive abuse which Atkinson completely ignored. It was one of the worst cases of dissent I have seen for a long time which went completely unpunished.

    I wonder how an Arsenal player would have fared in such circumstances???

  35. Mikey,

    it was visibly a 2×2 game seen from PGMOL perspective. 2 teams. 2 sets of rules.
    Arsenal players would have been carded, you can be sure of that.

    I was amazed at how totally incapable Atkinson was in reining in the Wolves players. Talk about no authority. And he is one of the senior referees of the PL. Considering every goalie has a cheat sheet for penalties, I would bet the teams have cheat sheets about referees and under Atkinson it must say : just don’t worry about voicing discontent or surrounding him. Has no authority except against Arsenal players.

    Just funny that all the time wasting was for naught when they screwed up the replacement and there was no way not to award a big chunck of Fergie time. Talk about irony and/or justice….

    This season reminds me of the season Leicester won the PL. Only one team beat them twice. Mr Wenger’s Arsenal, with a last minute winner from Wellbeck.

  36. Mikey

    I said exactly the same to Mrs N. How under any circumstances could that not be seen as ‘Verbal or Visible dissent’ I do not know.


    Regarding the added on time. Even though it was 6 minutes I still felt it was short. Don’t forget as well as the debacle over the substitution there was a long delay for the Wolves players hamstring.

    A normal 2nd half, standard substitutions and a goal, would require 3 minutes added time. Lets be honest, when do you ever see less?

    The protracted substitution and the hamstring injury where both at least 3 minutes.

    I thought 9 minutes would of reflected the lost time. I didn’t expect it of course. I said to Mrs N (she does get it in the ear bless her) I bet he gives 5, so even though it was short I was actually quite pleased to get 6 and in the end of course, given we got the winner in the 6th, I was quite pleased that that was basically that !

    In the end it bit Atkinson on the arse. GET IN !!!

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