Arsenal 1 (Gabriel 30) Wolves 2 (Neto 27, Podence 42)
Wolves took three points away from Arsenal for the first time in more than 40 years as Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence’s first-half strikes were enough to secure victory at Emirates Stadium.
In a match that was overshadowed by a gut-wrenching early head injury to Raul Jimenez, which saw the striker stretchered from the pitch, Neto put his team ahead with a low drive inside the area, before Gabriel equalised for the Gunners with a header three minutes later.
Podence put Wolves back ahead before the break, and despite having to put their bodies on the line in the final 15 minutes with Arsenal posing attack after attack, Wolves were able to hold on to the win.
After a quick start to the match for Wolves, who were once again playing with a four-men defence, the visitors suffered a major blow just five minutes into the contest when Jimenez clashed heads with David Luiz as the striker attempted to defend a corner.
The Mexican took a heavy blow to the head from the Arsenal defender, and following a lengthy stoppage in play of about ten minutes, Jimenez was carried from the pitch on a stretcher, with Fabio Silva coming on in place of the number nine.
With their talismanic striker heading to hospital, Wolves were not shaken by Jimenez’s injury and took the lead with 27 minutes on the clock. Adama Traore used his pace and trickery to get down the wing before planting a cross onto the head of Leander Dendoncker.
The Belgian cannoned his header off the crossbar, but the ball fell kindly to Neto, who was lurking in the centre of the penalty area before smashing an effort into the back of the net.
However, less than three minutes later, the hosts equalised. After Conor Coady cleverly denied Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang by flicking the ball away from the striker for a corner, from the resulting set-piece, Willian floated the ball in from the right, which found Gabriel who had rose highest in the Wolves box to plant his header past Rui Patricio.
Dendoncker had another chance to put Wolves in front with his head moments later when he planted an effort goalbound, but the midfielder struggled to get power on his header and Bernd Leno was able to get down low and gather the ball into his grasps.
Wolves continued to catch Arsenal on the counter and regained the lead following outstanding skill by Podence. Traore powered into the hosts’ half before teeing up Neto for a shot from the edge of the area. Having taken a deflection, the ball could only be parried by Leno into the path of the diminutive Portuguese forward, who flicked the ball over Gabriel’s challenge with his first touch before powering a finish beyond the Gunners’ keeper with his second.
Traore had an opportunity to double Wolves’ advantage inside the ten added on minutes at the end of the half. Marcal set Neto away down the left with a stunning volleyed pass with the forward playing in Silva who unselfishly set up the Spaniard in space on the left hand-side of the penalty area, but Traore could only hammer his shot into the side netting.
Half-time: Arsenal 1 Wolves 2
The attacking intent of both sides continued following the half-time whistle, with Neto getting the better of Rob Holding before racing up the pitch and crossing low to Silva, but Gabriel was able to track the run of the Wolves forward and clear the danger for the hosts.
Moment later, Joao Moutinho took aim from long-range, and Gabriel was once again in the way to stop the midfielder, taking the full brunt of the Portuguese’s shot on his head. The visitors were testing the reflexes of Leno and the Arsenal defence when Dendoncker fed Podence and his rasping goalbound shot was deflected away from the target by Hector Bellerin.
A mix-up in the Wolves defence almost saw Arsenal capitalise but Coady was able to get back and help Patricio after Aubameyang had dispossessed the Wolves keeper.
Into the final 15 minutes of the contest, Arsenal were pressing Wolves deep and in response, Nuno made the switch to bring Ruben Neves and Maximilian Kilman off the bench and revert to the tried-and-trusted back five.
With the hosts pushing for a late equaliser, Aubameyang had an opportunity to get his side back into the match but he could only glance his dangerous looking header wide of Patricio’s upright.
As Wolves sat deep, the visitors attempted to break via counter-attacks, and it almost paid off with five minutes of the 90 remaining when Traore raced through the Arsenal midfield and picked out Neto on the right who cut inside and looked for Dendoncker at the back post, but the cross was too far ahead of the Belgian.
Arsenal pressed Wolves until the final minute, but Nuno’s men were able to hold on to pick up their first away win at the Gunners since 1979.
Full-time: Arsenal 1 Wolves 2
Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Luiz (Holding 46), Gabriel, Tierney, Ceballos, Xhaka (Lacazette 81), Willock, Willian (Nelson 65), Aubameyang, Saka.
Unused subs: Runarsson, Cedric, Elneny, Nketiah.
Wolves: Patricio, Semedo, Boly, Coady, Marcal, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Podence (Neves 70), Traore, Neto, Jimenez (Silva 15) (Kilman 78).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Hoever, Ait-Nouri, Vitinha.
Referee: Michael Oliver