Wolves head to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, looking to go one better than last season's draw with Arsenal, and here are five things to know before the fixture.
1. THE BOLY CONUNDRUM
Willy Boly will be absent for the foreseeable future, so Nuno will be keen to settle on a consistent back three, having used two different systems at Newcastle last weekend. Matt Doherty filled the Boly void in the first-half and, despite coping admirably, the Irishman moved further forward after the break and set up the equalising goal. By that point, Leander Dendoncker was proving his capabilities at the back, while Ryan Bennett made his return from injury at Aston Villa on Wednesday night, but Nuno confirmed the defender will miss the trip to the Emirates Stadium. Maximillian Kilman and Jesus Vallejo remain options too for Nuno, who will now decide on his three to quell the threat of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
2. CAPITAL COMFORTS
Saturday will be Wolves’ eighth Premier League trip to the capital under Nuno Espirito Santo and their record is so far, so good. In 2018/19 Wolves picked up 12 points in London, three victories and three draws, including a 1-1 draw with Arsenal. On their solitary trip to the capital so far this season, Wolves left it late to secure a vital draw at Crystal Palace, which started a five-match unbeaten run in the Premier League. Now, Nuno will be eyeing a ninth positive result in London on Saturday.
3. ARSENAL’S GOAL THREAT
While Wolves were in action at Villa Park, Arsenal were sharing ten goals with Liverpool at Anfield. Gabriel Martinelli scored two, meaning he’s scored seven goals in his previous six matches, so could he come in to start on Saturday? Should he start, he’s likely to join Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the attacking positions, with striker already on eight goals for the season. Mesut Ozil also returned to action on Merseyside and will hope to force his way into Unai Emery’s plans. Regardless of who the manager selections, Wolves know they’ll be in for a tough test, given Arsenal’s options in the final third.
4. FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Despite defeat to Aston Villa, Nuno will have taken heart from his side’s performance at Villa Park. His young players performed admirably, but Nuno will have been pleased to see his striker Patrick Cutrone register goal number two in Wolves colours. The Italian showed predatory instinct to turn home Taylor Perry’s shot and gave the travelling supporters a moment to savour. With another busy week ahead, Nuno will be pleased to see his striker back in the goals and that will be fresh in the head coach’s mind ahead of the trip to the Gunners.
5. GOING ONE BETTER
Almost a year to the day Wolves were mighty unlucky to not depart the Emirates Stadium with all three points. Ivan Cavaleiro’s strike, following a Raul Jimenez pass, was cancelled out by Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s late cross, which drifted in at the far post. The misfortune continued after, as Morgan Gibbs-White rattled the bar with a fine effort from range. Now, captain Conor Coady wants Wolves to go one better in London this time.