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Arsenal vs Wolverhampton preview: One last ride

The 2023 season comes to a close as the Gunners look to end on a high note

Arsenal FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

On Sunday afternoon, Arsenal will take the field at the Emirates one last time when they face Wolverhampton, wrapping up a Premier League season where they dared to dream, rubbing elbows with glory before it all tragically came apart in April and May.

The last match of the season always feels a little weird. Unless there is something meaningful on the line, the matches are little more than glorified friendlies. Neither the Gunners nor Wolves have anything to play for besides pride. Arsenal have already achieved their initial goal of securing Champions League, while Wolves are just happy to avoid relegation, which looked like a very real possibility until January. No matter the result, Arsenal will finish second in the league, their best finish since the 2015/16 season, while Wolves will be content to stay up and look ahead to next season.

That isn’t to say that Sunday has to be a sleepwalk affair for either side. The Emirates has been one of the league’s most electric atmospheres. The fans have been livelier than ever, with the newly-formed Ashburton Army adding a little extra bite to the Emirates fan presence. The least Arsenal could do is give the fans one more chance to sing their hearts out and relive a bit of the magic that made believers of all of us.

The Gunners spent the better part of the season winning and looking damn good doing it. But since things went sideways in the beginning of April, they have managed a single win from four home ties across all competitions. Injuries, fatigue, the hangover from bottling the league - whatever it may be, the Gunners have looked far from the dominant side that dazzled all season long. Regardless of how the season has ended, the fans deserve the players’ best one last time.

The summer looks to be another busy one for the Gunners. While the incoming transfer rumors are already ablaze, the tenure of long-serving Arsenal player Granit Xhaka appears to be coming to a close, if reports are to be believed. Sunday could very well prove to be the swan song for the divisive midfielder and one-time captain. If Sunday is indeed his last time playing for the Gunners, he saved his best season for last. I, and I’m sure many others, wouldn’t mind seeing him take the Captain’s armband one last time after seven seasons in London.

Much like last season, Arsenal will debut next season’s home kit on the last match of the season. Whether or not you like it, it’s at least a unique wrinkle as the Premier League season wraps up. It’s certainly better than the reported away kit, at least.

After such a brutal capitulation, seeing out the season is all but a performative formality, but we can save the eulogies and wound-licking for June. Sunday is about celebrating the club and the bright future ahead. Sunday is for the fans. Sunday is for the players. Sunday is for us all.

Always forward.

WHAT: Arsenal vs Wolverhampton
WHEN: Sunday, May 28th 11:30am EST/8:30am PST/4:30pm BST
WHERE: The Emirates Stadium, London
HOW TO WATCH: Streaming on Peacock

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