Now we will really see how far we have come.
Arsenal take on Wolves, both teams with hopes of European football next season and both teams needing a victory to keep those hopes intact.
Rewind five years, and Arsenal would be firm favourites for this tie. But in the present day, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are considered the stronger outfit. That is how far he has taken Wolves.
It is not false to say that outside Liverpool, City, United and Chelsea, that Wolves are probably the better team of all the rest – at least this season. Leicester may well be above them, but in terms of consistency and style of play, the Wolves are adaptable and dangerous.
We really do have to be at our best to be in with a hope of claiming anything from this game. It seems bleak to say this, but Wolves have pushed every side they have faced this season. Dangerous from out wide and with real skills up top in Jota and Jiminez, our defence will be under the toughest of scrutinies.
Do we have what it takes to push Nuno’s men into a style that they are uncomfortable with? Can we take the possession from them and stretch them?
So much depends on our own big players. Arteta, who will you go for?
Lucas Torreira is fit and raring to go to gain his first minutes since the restart – but can he break up the dynamic between Ceballos and Xhaka?
Arteta must also decide if Matteo Guendouzi and Mesut Ozil can come in from the cold. A playmaker could come in handy agains the well-drilled defence of Wolves, while Guendouzi has fallen down the pecking order. Joe Willock will be ahead of him in the pecking order as well as those above.
In defence, it will be much like what we have seen in our last few games. Bellerin and Tierney will most likely pick up the wing-back spots, with Holding and Mustafi probably in the centre, although Luiz could force his way in.
Player to watch
The winger is one of the hottest talents in the league, although he wasn’t starting in their last game. Completely unpredictable and with a touch that can bewitch any defender, Traore has been the ruination of many. He also has a great partnership with Jiminez. His deliveries have improved so much since his numerous loan spells. We need to shut him out.
How this could go
If Wolves get a sniff of goal, then chances are that Jiminez will finish it. Or Jota. They have plenty of firepower and will be ably supplied by Neves or Traore.
We need to cut off the supply line. If we name a three man midfield like Arteta has been recently, we have the manpower to strangle them before they can feed their frontmen. If Traore gets a chance to turn and run at us, he will. So our men will have to stay pretty tight to him.
I see a penalty in this to be honest. Mustafi has a bit of rashness in him and god forbid if Luiz plays. Traore could have them both on toast.
The other side of things is our attack. Aubameyang is the joint top scorer for good reason and we have the likes of Pepe and Nketiah who can keep anyone busy.
So it seems as if it will be a battle of the attacking sides. If that is the case, then watch out for a high scoring encounter. I think this has score draw written all over it – which benefits neither side.
Predicted Lineup – Martinez, Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Tierney, Xhaka, Ceballos, Saka, Aubameyang, Pepe, Nketiah
Predicted Scoreline – 2-2
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