Arsenal maintained their impressive form with a comfortable 3-0 win at Wolves on Wednesday night. This was the Gunners ninth win in ten games and took them five points clear of fourth-place Tottenham.
Early goals from Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott earned Arsenal victory over 10-man Wolves in a match that was largely won in the first 11 minutes.
Sebastien Bassong saw red for bringing down Walcott, after he was set free by van Persie on eight minutes.
The Dutchman who had not scored in 444 minutes in the league, showed no sign of nerves as he impudently struck the penalty with a delicious chip straight down the middle of the goal – as Wayne Hennessey dived to his right.
This was his 34th goal of the season and his 45th in 50 Premier League games.
The two Arsenal forwards then combined quickly – with Walcott playing a neat one-two before shooting low into the net with the Wolves defence static.
Terry Connor’s side improved after the break. Indeed Kevin Doyle and substitute Nenad Milijas were both denied by brilliant Wojciech Szczesny saves.
However, Yossi Benayoun added a lovely third on 69 minutes after Alex Song’s pull back, and the 3 points were confirmed.
As you can see from the statistics above (via our Stats Centre powered by Opta) Arsenal typically, dominated the majority of possession (72%). The Gunners completed 745 passes against Wolves, their highest tally in the league this season.
Amazingly the midfield trio of Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey & Alex Song completed 261 passes together – more than the entire Wolves team combined, who completed just 235.
This was Arsenal’s fourth clean sheet in their last five games. The Gunners resurgence has coincided with the return of key players in defence, most notably Bacary Sagna. Once again, the right-back was outstanding. The French international completed 92% of his passes (95/105). In the attacking half this was even better with 96% of his passes (22/23) finding a red shirt. Sagna also made two interceptions and two clearances.
The much-maligned Johan Djourou also performed impressively. The Swiss defender had 95% passing accuracy (71/75), made three defensive blocks and one interception. Most importantly, Djourou was comfortable in possession and lost the ball on only five occasions. Although, this may seem high – the next best is Thomas Vermaelen who lost possession 10 times.
Following the disastrous defeat at QPR, Yossi Benayoun has been chosen in both subsequent games. Once again, like against Manchester City, the attacking midfielder showed his industry and quality. Both in defence and attack, the midfielder on loan from Chelsea played a vital role for the Gunners . Benayoun made two tackles, two interceptions and two clearances defensively – and better still managed to find the stamina to get the all important third goal for Arsenal.
My Man of the Match goes to Theo Walcott who was brilliant in the first-quarter of the match. The English forward’s pace was the key factor behind this result. Not only winning the penalty but also the impact of drawing the foul that effectively saw Wolves reduced to ten-men.
Walcott has now scored or assisted in 16 league goals for Arsenal this season. Again, since the return of Sagna, the young forward has been revitalised. After the heartbreak of missing out on World Cup 2010 in South Africa, Walcott’s form in recent week’s makes him a certainty to be in England’s squad for Euro 2012.
All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.com – Subscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) See Demo’s and videos about the Stats Centre & read about new additions to the stats centre.