football

Arsenal show they're miles away from good days on anniversary of Emery sacking


On the first anniversary of the sacking of Unai Emery, ruthless Wolves showed Arsenal are still light years away from the good old days.

And the harsh reality for the North London club is that Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, who are up to sixth in the Premier League, are simply a better side with better players.

The Gunners are now as close to the drop zone as the summit with a visit to table-topping Tottenham to come on Sunday.

This match will be remembered for an early clash of heads which saw Raul Jimenez stretchered off and rushed to hospital and David Luiz soldier on until half-time with a blood-stained head bandage.

But the heart-stopping incident should not take credit away from the Molineux side, who were superb even without their star striker.



Podence stepped up in the absence of Jimenez

Or deflect criticism from an Arsenal side who still languish in 14th place after losing three home league games in a row and have become just a cup side.

And after scoring only 10 goals in their first 10 games, their tally of 13 points is the worst ever in the Premier League era.

Arteta, who moved from Manchester City just before Christmas last year, insisted he needed more time to rebuild before this latest home humiliation.

But last night there was little sign of progress despite finally scoring a Gabriel goal from open play after a short corner.

They have won the Community Shield and all four Europa League matches this season.

But the club of the Invincibles has been the Unwatchables in the Premier League against Leicester, Aston Villa and now Wolves.

They had two shots on target last night.

Why are Arsenal struggling in front of goal this season? Have your say here.



Aubameynag is without a goal from open play since the opening day of the season

By contrast, Espirito Santo’s club are vibrant proof of the strength of the Premier League – and the effectiveness of spending money well.

The return of captain Conor Cody after his enforced absence against Southampton did not end the experiment with a flat-back four.

And on this solid base, Adama Traore ran riot and Pedro Neto justified his starting place with a goal and an assist for Daniel Podence’s impudent finish.

They know exactly what they are doing. Arsenal do not.

Arteta said: “It was a frustrating night again. It’s a really bad result. Losing at home is painful. This is the reality of the moment. This is our level. We can beat anyone but lose to anyone on our day. It is a big mountain to climb. We have to improve clearly.

“It is nowhere near good enough for this football club. We have to improve dramatically.”

Asked if he feared for his position, Arteta said: “I am not worried. It is something that I decided when I became coach. I knew I would leave or be sacked. I am not thinking about that. My only concern is to get the best out of the players.”

Midfielder Joe Willock added: “We’re not good enough at the moment. We need to sort it out in the group.”



The game was marred by a sickening clash of heads in the opening stages


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The ten-minute delay after the collision also appeared to stun the remaining players before the opening goal re-energised the encounter after 28 minutes.

Leander Dendoncker headed Traore’s cross against the bar before Neto’s shot deflected in off Hector Bellerin and Gabriel.

The lead lasted only three minutes before Gabriel headed home a Willian cross following a short corner.

Traore was the catalyst on another counterattack before the break as the Spanish winger sprung the press with a powerful run before feeding Neto.

His shot deflected off Bellerin and was saved by Leno’s legs but Podence was first to react and skipped over Gabriel’s challenge before slotting home.

Arsenal were better after the break but Wolves looked more likely to score on rapid counter-attacks led by the irrepressible Neto.

The lacklustre Aubameyang could not find the net even when Wolves keeper Rui Patricio passed straight to him after the break.

Wolves players and staff joyously celebrated the club’s first league win at Arsenal since 1979 at full time. Espirito Santo said: “Amazing. I’m very proud. This team showed heart today.”

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