Wolverhampton Wanderers v Arsenal match report

A remarkable evening in the Midlands saw David Luiz and Bernd Leno sent off for the gunners, who fell to a 2-1 defeat to an out of form Wolves side.

The visitors were the dominant team in the first half, with Bukayo Saka having three chances inside the opening ten minutes, but Nicolas Pepe continued his recent run of good form with an excellent goal.

The game changed on a controversial decision once again, as Craig Pawson decided that Luiz was guilty of an offence worthy of a red card right on the stroke of half time, and Ruben Neves equalised for the hosts.

A wonderful strike from Joao Moutinho was enough to win the game for Wolves, but Arsenal were reduced to 9 after Leno’s misjudged run saw him handle outside the area.

For the second away game in a row, Arsenal could have taken the lead inside the opening 60 seconds, Bukayo Saka raced clear of Kilman but saw his effort come back off the post – the youngster also saw a smart effort on the turn saved low by Patricio within the first four minutes, and his sweet strike nine minutes in was ruled out for Lacazette being offside in the assist.

It took until midway through the half for Wolves to have their best effort, a low skidding effort from Nelson Semedo skipped off the turf awkwardly and Bernd Leno was on hand to knock it away from goal.

Nicolas Pepe then saw an effort of his own tipped onto the crossbar before Saka was upended by Boly, but the Ivorian was soon to be on the scoresheet – nutmegging two defenders before curling a shot into the far post with his weak foot.

The half was to end in controversy though, as beyond the time allocated for additional time, Wolves raced into the penalty area and Willian Jose was tripped by David Luiz. The contact was minimal and the Wolves player continued for a step or two before falling down – no doubt contact and no doubt a penalty, but a red card for an accidental collision between knee and studs is beyond the grasp of this writer. Ruben Neves tucked away the penalty in the 5th minute of added time.

The second half started much as the first ended, as Joao Moutinho cracked in a wonderful strike from all of 35 yards that went in off Leno’s post – an unsaveable and wonderful effort.

The drama continued as with 20 minutes left of the tie, Arsenal were reduced to 9 men, when Leno ran out of the area to clear a ball, and misjudged it, forcing him to handle the ball away from Adama Traore. A clear and obvious red card and the German was down the tunnel before the VAR check was complete.

Man of the Match: Craig Pawson. Wolves’ best player and undoubtedly the man who won Wolves the tie. The second red card was entirely correct. The first, especially given what hadn’t been given to Arsenal beforehand, was a disgrace.

Wolves: Patricio, Boly, Coady, Kilman, Neto, Moutinho, Neves, Semedo, Adama, Podence (Vitinha 62′), Willian (Silva 90+1)

Subs: Ruddy, Hoever, Gibbs-White, Dendoncker, Richards, Otasowie

Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Cedric, Xhaka, Partey (Runarsson 75′), Smith Rowe, Saka, Pepe (Aubameyang 61′), Lacazette (Gabriel HT)

Subs: Chambers, Elneny, Ceballos, Odegaard, Willian, Martinelli

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