After last weekend’s slip-up, Mikel Arteta needs a response in the Premier League title race on Saturday night. We look ahead to Wolves vs Arsenal with our prediction and preview.

Wolves vs Arsenal Stats: The Quick Hits

  • Pre-match simulations by the Opta supercomputer suggest Arsenal are the favourites, defeating Wolves in 51.1% of predictions.
  • Arsenal have scored in their last 32 meetings with Wolves in all competitions, their joint-longest scoring streak against an opponent in the club’s history.
  • Bukayo Saka has been involved in eight goals in his last seven Premier League away games, scoring seven and assisting one.

Match Preview

As far as weeks to forget go, Arsenal had one that is right up there, after their UEFA Champions League exit on Wednesday followed Manchester City seizing the advantage in the Premier League title race the previous weekend.

Joshua Kimmich’s second-half header was enough to send Bayern Munich into the UCL semi-finals. The Bavarians’ 1-0 second-leg victory secured a 3-2 aggregate triumph.

That European misery compounded domestic failings and Arsenal are now playing catch-up in the league, starting against Wolves at Molineux in Saturday’s late kick-off.

It could not have gone much better for reigning English champions City last weekend as Liverpool fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to Crystal Palace before Arsenal collapsed late on in a 2-0 loss to Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium.

That favourable swing for City leaves them two points clear at the top of the table, with second-placed Arsenal only ahead of Jürgen Klopp’s Reds on goal difference.

After Matchweek 33, City’s title chances shot from 40.6% to 70.1% in Opta’s end-of-season predictions, while Arsenal’s dropped 12% down to 18.3% – just ahead of Liverpool (11.7%).

Mikel Arteta will hope – unlike last season – that Arsenal do not rue another missed top-flight title opportunity after Sunday’s disappointment. The Gunners controlled first-half proceedings but were undone late on as Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins snatched an away victory for Unai Emery’s Villa.

That defeat marked Arsenal’s first league loss of 2024. The good news is that they have only lost back-to-back Premier League outings twice since the start of 2022-23. The bad news is one of those instances came in May 2023 as last season’s title charge unfurled at the hands of Brighton and Nottingham Forest. The other came in December this term against Fulham and West Ham.

Arteta will look to Bukayo Saka to help Arsenal get back on course, with the winger involved in eight goals in his last seven Premier League away games, scoring seven and assisting one.

Saka’s 13 away goal involvements this term (eight goals, five assists) are the most by an Arsenal player in a single Premier League campaign since Alexis Sánchez’s 20 in 2016-17.

Gabriel Martinelli will likely get the nod on the other wing, though Arteta has options from the bench. Leandro Trossard has scored four goals in 16 substitute appearances in the Premier League this season, as many as he has in his 12 starts. He averages a goal every 218 minutes as a starter this term, compared to one every 86 minutes when coming off the bench.

As for Saturday’s hosts, Wolves have not won in the league since a 2-1 victory over Fulham on 9 March. Their winless run stretched to four games after a 2-2 draw at Nottingham Forest last time out. Matheus Cunha scored twice but goals for Morgan Gibbs-White and Danilo ensured the shares were spoiled at the City Ground.

Nottingham Forest 2-2 Wolves Stats

Wolves manager Gary O’Neil will have at least been relieved to see the return of Cunha, who impressed on his first start after a nine-week absence due to a hamstring injury. In a run that stretches back to before that muscle issue, Cunha has been involved in nine goals in his last nine Premier League games, scoring six and assisting three.

The Brazilian’s 11-goal tally overall for this season is the fourth most by a Wolves player in a single Premier League campaign after Raúl Jiménez (17 in 2019-20, 13 in 2018-19) and Steven Fletcher (12 in 2011-12).

If Cunha can continue that run in front of goal, O’Neil may still be dreaming of an unlikely European push. Wolves sit 11th in the league table heading into the weekend’s fixtures but are just five points behind eighth-placed West Ham, who have played a game more.

Despite faltering in recent weeks, Wolves have also won their last two at Molineux against sides starting the day in the top two of the table, beating Man City 2-1 in September and Tottenham by the same score in November.

Another testing challenge against a top-two side could be eased by the return of wing-backs Rayan Aït-Nouri and Nélson Semedo. Jean-Ricner Bellegarde may also return from a troublesome knee issue that has kept him out for four league games, though Craig Dawson and Pedro Neto remain long-term absentees for Wolves.

As for Arsenal’s team news, Jurriën Timber continues his return from a long-term knee injury and could soon feature for the Under-21s. There are no other injury concerns for Arteta’s lineup, with rotation now not needed after their Champions League elimination.

Wolves vs Arsenal Head-to-Head

After completing the league double against Arsenal in 2020-21, Wolves have now lost each of their last five against the Gunners, failing to score in both home defeats in that run.

That streak includes the early December defeat this season at the Emirates, where Saka and Ødegaard were on target before Cunha pulled a late goal back in a 2-1 loss.

Arsenal 2-1 Wolves Stats

Arsenal have also scored in their last 32 meetings with Wolves in all competitions, their joint-longest scoring streak against an opponent in the club’s history. Only against Wolves’ rivals West Bromwich Albion can that current run be matched.

Recent Form

Wolves have lost three of their last five Premier League home games (W2) – against West Ham, Brentford and Manchester United – more than they had in their previous 15 at Molineux (W9 D4 L2).

O’Neil may be concerned about that run extending here, too, given Arsenal have kept a clean sheet in each of their last five away league games – their joint-longest such run in the club’s history (also five between February and April 1997).

The last team to record a clean sheet in six consecutive Premier League away games was Liverpool, between December and March in 2014-15, and continuing that streak may depend on whether Wolves can make early inroads.

Arsenal have conceded just two goals in the first half of their 12 Premier League games so far in 2024. Both of these strikes came in the 45th minute and made the game 1-1 (vs Liverpool and Brentford), though the Gunners eventually went on to win both times.

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of kick-off this weekend, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

Wolves vs Arsenal Predicted Lineups

Wolves predicted lineup vs Arsenal
Arsenal predicted lineup vs Wolves

Wolves vs Arsenal Prediction

The Opta supercomputer labelled Arsenal as the favourites for this one, with the visitors winning 51.3% of 10,000 pre-match simulations.

Wolves vs Arsenal prediction Opta

Wolves only triumphed in 21.8% of the same data-led sims, with the draw more likely at 26.9% – though that would do Arsenal’s title hopes no favours.

Arsenal finish second in the league table most often in 42.7% of Opta’s end-of-season predictions, while Wolves remain 11th in 27.3%.

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