Arsenal will look to snap their absurdly long goal from open play in the Premier League drought against Wolves on Sunday at the Emirates. Yes, that’s a bit of an attenuated stat — the Gunners have scored plenty in the Europa League and scored a penalty kick against Manchester United — but it illustrates how anemic the attack has been for Mikel Arteta’s side.
The entire attack has been so poor that it’s almost not even worth mentioning Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s significant dip in scoring form. What can you expect of your striker when he’s hardly getting any service and your team is barely touching the ball in the final third? Arsenal have several offense-choking problems: the ball progression without Thomas Partey in the lineup is poor, there is little creativity on the pitch, and there is little movement between the lines. There aren’t really runs from deeper positions in the midfield and players aren’t making themselves available as outlets. Watch when an Arsenal player gets on the ball — it’ll go wide to one of the wing backs or wingers and people will mostly stare at him, hoping that he beats his mark.
The Gunners won’t be helped by Nicolas Pépé’s absence as he serves the first of a three match suspension for his red card. Say what you want about him, but he’s one of the few players on the roster right now capable of creating something from the scraps the attackers get, and he’s probably the best shooter on the team. Bukayo Saka and Willian are both available for selection following their injuries last weekend. Thomas Partey faces a late fitness test ahead of Sunday’s match to determine his availability. Mohamed Elneny was back in training on Saturday, so he may be available for the match following his positive COVID test during the international break. There doesn’t appear to be news on whether Sead Kolasinac, who also tested positive during the break, is eligible to return as well.
Wolves are almost fully fit. Nuno Espírito Santo will be without only outside back Jonny (knee) and defender / midfielder Romain Saïss (COVID).
Arsenal drew Wolves last fall and beat them during the restart last summer. The two clubs have the exact same scoring record this year — 9 goals for, 10 goals against — which places them both near the bottom of the league in putting the ball into the net and near the top of the league in keeping it out. So naturally, it will be some sort of absurd 4-3 affair at the Emirates.
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