Report | Wolves 0-2 Arsenal

Wolves 0 Arsenal 2 (Odegaard 55, 75)

New head coach Julen Lopetegui watched on from the stands, as Wolves were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal thanks to Martin Odegaard’s second half brace for the league leaders.

The old gold competed for large spells, and had chances of their own, but once Odegaard tapped the visitors ahead, they gained a level of control on the fixture. With 15 minutes remaining the Gunners midfielder slammed home the second, meaning Wolves enter the World Cup period on the back of a defeat.

Molineux under the lights is a special place and the introduction of Lopetegui added that extra spice to the atmosphere, as the new head coach was welcomed to Molineux for the first time, before taking up a watching brief for Steve Davis’ final first-team assignment, which started promisingly against the leaders.

The Gunners will be top at Christmas, but knew they were in a game in the West Midlands. Although Gabriel headed the first chance of the game wide, Goncalo Guedes came closest to an opener in the first 25 minutes when Nelson Semedo led a rapid Wolves counter attack and played in his compatriot, who fired just wide of the near top post, having struck first time on the run.

Arsenal have been free-scoring this season, but were finding life more difficult at Molineux. They did, however, come close the opener just after the half-hour mark when Bukayo Saka carried the ball down the middle and played in Gabriel Jesus, who continued into the box and cut in on his right, before striking off the top of the crossbar.

Guedes got off the mark against Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend and was Wolves’ main threat in the opening half. When he sniffed out a defensive mistake from William Saliba, he jumped on his poor back pass and was in, however, as he shaped to curl into the far corner, Gabriel came across to deflect the shot wide.

Half-time | Wolves 0-0 Arsenal

The start to the second half followed a similar theme to the first, with Wolves competing well, but when Arsenal cranked up the quality, they broke the old gold resolve. Jesus slipped in Fabio Vieira down the left side of the box, and the substitute clipped a low cross past Sa, and into the path of Odegaard to tap into an open net.

The Norwegian could have had a second soon after, if his header hadn’t been blocked near the line by Toti, while Guedes’ low, powerful free-kick was well held by Aaron Ramsdale. However, the game was put beyond Wolves when Oleksandr Zinchenko got in down the left, and although Sa denied Gabriel Martinelli, Odegaard controlled and slammed into the corner.

To their credit, Wolves kept going, and when Adama and Guedes linked up, Boubacar was lurking on the edge, but unlike against Leeds United in midweek, his strike flew wide of the target. By the latter stages of events, Daniel Podence had been introduced and his ambitious overhead kick flew wide of Ramsdale’s goal.

In the closing stages, Podence stung the palms of Ramsdale at this near post, while Ruben Neves struck wide from a cleared corner. But Wolves were searching for a consolation which would never arrive, as a 2-0 defeat was the final result going into the World Cup break.

Full-time | Wolves 0-2 Arsenal

Wolves | Sa, Semedo (Lembikisa 68), Collins, Kilman, Toti (Nunes 80), Bueno, Boubacar, Neves, Moutinho (Podence 68), Adama, Guedes.

Unused subs | Sarkic, Ait-Nouri, Mosquera, Ronan, Hodge, Campbell.

Arsenal | Ramsdale, White, Gabriel, Saliba, Zinchenko (Soares 90), Partey, Xhaka (Vieira 16)(Elneny 90), Odegaard, Saka (Nelson 90), Martinelli, Jesus.

Unused subs | Turner, Tierney, Nketiah, Holding, Marquinhos.