Wolves were denied a historic victory at Arsenal late in the day as Henrikh Mkitaryan cancelled out Ivan Cavaleiro’s strike with three minutes remaining to subject the visitors to just a point.
Wolves looked set to return to winning ways in style at the Emirates Stadium thanks Cavaleiro’s early well-taken finish, but had to settle for a third point against top six opposition this term. The Portuguese exchanged passes with Raul Jimenez and clinically tucked past Bernd Leno to put pay to his side’s three-match losing run against Europa League opposition.
Nuno’s side held firm from that point and had chances to extend their lead, before the Gunners levelled with a stroke of fortune as Mkhitaryan’s cross from a short corner evaded everyone in the middle and nestled into the far corner.
However, the best openings to win an entertaining contest fell the way of the visitors. In the dying seconds, after Adama Traore had already been denied by Leno, the winger set up Morgan Gibbs-White, who curled a fine strike onto the underside of the crossbar agonisingly for Nuno’s side, after what had been a tremendous performance going into the international break.
As expected at the Emirates, Arsenal enjoyed plenty of the ball in the opening stages, but it was Wolves who took the initiative with a fine move which had Cavaleiro at the heart of it. After the visitors gained possession in midfield, Cavaleiro fed Raul Jimenez on the right, then continued his run and was well-placed to tuck away the striker’s low cross for 1-0.
Clinical at one end, but Wolves showed the grit and determination which would be needed in abundance soon after, as both Conor Coady and Ryan Bennett threw their bodies in the way of Alexandre Lacazette and Alex Iwobi efforts, before Wolves broke through Helder Costa and the winger was denied by a brave piece of goalkeeping from Leno, who also thwarted Jimenez.
The stopper was having an impressive afternoon between the sticks and had to be at his best to keep out Costa’s curling effort soon after. The next chance to extend the lead came through an Arsenal mistake, as Sead Kolasinac missed his clearance, allowing Matt Doherty to set up Jimenez, but the Mexican’s rushed effort didn’t trouble Leno this time.
Half-time: Arsenal 0 Wolves 1
After the break Wolves continued to show facets of their game which will have pleased Nuno, remaining solid and organised at one end, while posing a threat at the other end. The first real threat on goal of the half came from the hosts, but Rui Patricio stretched to tip over Lucas Torreira’s goal-bound strike.
The second half was progressing nicely for the visitors, who brought Diogo Jota on in place Cavaleiro, and watched Hector Bellerin fire Granit Xhaka’s cross over. The intensity was growing however, and the hosts missed their best chance yet when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck the post from six-yards out, following a low Bellerin cross.
Next came Traore, who took the place of Costa, as Wolves continued the keep their hosts at bay. The winger was inevitably a threat on the break and led a breakaway which saw Jimenez cross for Jota, but the Portuguese was denied by a firm Leno save at the back post. Gibbs-White was then introduced to the action, with Jimenez making way.
At the other end Aaron Ramsey was denied by Patricio making himself large to save, but from the resulting corner Mkhiraryan’s cross evaded everyone and drew the hosts level late in the day.
However, all the late chances for either side to win it came at Arsenal’s end of the pitch. First, Bennett and Willy Boly combined for a Gibbs-White corner, but couldn’t force the ball over the line. Then Traore on the break was denied by Leno, before, with the final chance, the winger laid off to Gibbs-White, whose brilliant strike cannoned off the underside of the bar agonisingly.
Full-time: Arsenal 1 Wolves 1
Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Mustafi, Kolasinac (Mkhitaryan 76), Xhaka, Torreira, Iwobi (Guendouzi 46), Ozil (Ramsey 76), Aubameyang, Lacazette.
Unused subs: Cech, Sokratis, Maitland-Niles, Nketiah.
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Jonny, Moutinho, Neves, Costa (Traore 76), Cavaleiro (Jota 61), Jimenez (Gibbs-White 84).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Dendoncker, Vinagre, Saiss.
Referee: Stuart Atwell