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Analysis: 3 Things Arsenal Will Need To Look Out For Against Wolves

With Arsenal’s away record this season, a trip to Molineux to face Wolves tomorrow is likely to be a major challenge for the Gunners.

On their travels, Unai Emery’s side have looked shaky at best, and while their 1-0 win against Napoli in Italy last week will give them encouragement, Wolves will provide a very different test.

So what do Arsenal need to look out for when they face Nuno Espirito Santo’s team?

1) Be On Guard Against The Quick Counter

With the likes of Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves pulling the strings in central midfield, quick transitions have been the key for Wolves this season. At home, they average just 46.23% possession, according to Wyscout.

They are not a possession based team and are more likely to go for killer passes than opt for the safer ball. They are fifth (ahead of Tottenham and Manchester United) for the number of key passes they make per 90 mins (2.59) this season.

You can expect Arsenal to have the majority of possession but when the Gunners lose it, it will be when their opponents come alive.

2) Expect the defence to have to deal with long balls

Wolves have been rightly praised for their fast, progressive attacking style, but they are not afraid to mix things up. They are ranked third in the Premier League, only behind Burnley and Newcastle, for the number of long passes attempted each match.

They average 50.64 compared to Arsenal’s 37.31 per 90 minutes. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are a long ball team, as Liverpool regularly play long balls too, but it shows their intention to get the ball forward quickly, behind the opponent’s backline.

Knockdowns from Raul Jimenez for Diogo Jota to run onto have become an increasing feature of their game in recent months. The likes of Sokratis, Koscielny and Monreal will need to be vigilant to this tactic tomorrow night.

3) Overlapping runs and crosses

Wolves 3-5-2 formation means their wing-backs do get a lot of the ball, and they are among the most prolific crossers in the Premier League.

Matt Doherty has made 87 crosses from the right flank this season, the eighth highest of any player in the league. On the opposite flank, they have been less effective, although when Ruben Vinagre plays (a natural left footer), he averages 5.95 crosses per 90 minutes, that is second only behind Leicester’s Marc Albrighton.

If Jonny Castro plays instead (a right-footed player), the Gunners can expect most of the width to come from the right-hand side, meaning Sead Kolasinac will need as much help he can get from his teammates.

 

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