Wolves 2 (Neves 45 (p), Moutinho 49) Arsenal 1 (Pepe 32)
Wolves got back to winning ways in the Premier League after coming from behind to earn victory against nine-man Arsenal in a rainy night at Molineux.
Nicolas Pepe had put the Gunners ahead on the evening with a well-taken shot across goal, but as half-time approached, Wolves found a route back into the tie when David Luiz upended Willian Jose in the penalty area and Ruben Neves hammered home the resulting spotkick.
After Luiz was shown a red for his foul on Jose, Arsenal went down to nine when goalkeeper Bernd Leno was sent for an early bath for a deliberate handball outside the area, but that came after Joao Moutinho had scored an unbelievable effort from 25 yards out which flew in off the post.
Just 30 seconds were on the clock when Arsenal had the first opportunity to take the lead. A long-ball over the top of the Wolves defence saw Bukayo Saka in a foot race with Maximilian Kilman, and having latched onto the pass, the young Gunners striker closed in on goal before drilling an effort across goal, which fortunately for Wolves slammed against Rui Patricio’s upright before bouncing clear of danger.
Moments later, Saka once again had a chance to put his side in front, but this time, having been played in behind the Wolves defence by Cedric Soares, his low driven effort was on target, however Patricio got down well to smoother the shot.
It was almost third time lucky for the Arsenal man, who thought he had put his side ahead on eight minutes as he turned the ball into the far corner of the net. But having gone to VAR, Alexandre Lacazette was adjudged to have been offside when he cut the ball back for Saka to strike.
After being let off the hook, Wolves could have opened the scoring through Kilman, as the defender leapt highest from a Joao Moutinho corner into the centre of the Arsenal penalty area, but his header flew narrowly over Bernd Leno’s crossbar. Willy Boly was next to have a chance, but he also headed wide from a Pedro Neto set-piece.
As the rain came down heavily over Molineux, both teams were testing their opposite goalkeepers, and it was Patricio who pulled out the stops to deny Arsenal a certain goal, as the Portuguese number one palmed a powerful Pepe effort onto his crossbar.
However, the deadlock was finally broken just after the half hour mark. After giving the ball away cheaply on the right, Wolves were unable to stop Pepe’s run into the area and the Arsenal man curled an effort into the far corner of the net.
Wolves found a way back into the match on the stroke of half-time. Following a quick Wolves counter-attack, Willian Jose was played through on goal by Daniel Podence and as the Brazilian, making his home debut, went to let fly, he was brought down inside the Arsenal penalty area by David Luiz and referee Craig Pawson pointed to the spot.
Pawson reached into his pocket and got out the red card for Luiz, and after a VAR check on whether Jose was offside in the build-up, the penalty was given and Neves made no mistake from the spot, firing high past Leno into the top right corner.
Half-time: Wolves 1 Arsenal 1
With an extra man advantage in the second-half, Wolves made it a goal advantage within the first five minutes through a stunning effort from Moutinho, as the Portuguese legend scored his first ever goal at Molineux.
Having gone on the attack early, Wolves piled numbers into the Arsenal penalty area, but Moutinho was lurking 25 yards out from goal, and with bodies in front of him, decided to let fly and hit the sweetest of strikes off the inside of the left post to beat Leno.
Continuing to put the Gunners under increased pressure, Neto felt he should have had a penalty after a devastating run through the heart of the red shirts of Arsenal which put him baring down on goal, but just as he was about to shoot, substitute Gabriel slid in to clear the danger, but the Wolves striker argued that he had been fouled.
After going ahead, Wolves were playing with a confidence which hadn’t been seen at Molineux for a long time, with players interlinking expertly with clever one-touch passing and movement, but a third goal was going to be needed to put the game beyond Arsenal’s reach.
But Wolves were given a huge boost with less than 20 minutes of the second period remaining when Arsenal went down to nine men as Leno was dismissed after pushing the ball out of play with his hand outside the area as Adama Traore had been played through and was one-on-one with the keeper.
New Arsenal keeper Runar Runarsson was immediately forced into action by a pair of Neto efforts after the winger had cut in from the left and used his dancing feet to skip through the opposition, and fired a pair of low drives which Runarsson was able to clear with his feet.
As the game moved into five minutes of added time, Wolves were happy to wind down the clock and force a deep lying Arsenal into trying to catch them out, but with the added men advantage, it was comfortable for the hosts, who did the double over the Gunners for the first time since 1978/79 and achieved their first Premier League win in ten attempts.
Full-time: Wolves 2 Arsenal 1
Wolves: Patricio, Semedo, Boly, Coady, Kilman, Neves (Dendoncker 74), Moutinho, Podence (Vitinha 62), Traore, Neto, Jose (Silva 90).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Hoever, Richards, Otasowie, Gibbs-White.
Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Luiz, Holding, Soares, Xhaka, Partey (Runarsson 74), Pepe (Aubameyang 61), Smith-Rowe, Saka, Lacazette (Gabriel 46).
Unused subs: Chambers, Elneny, Ceballos, Odegaard, Willian, Martinelli.
Referee: Craig Pawson