Arsenal temporarily increased their lead at the top of the Premier League to four points with a 2-1 win over Wolves at Emirates Stadium.
Bukayo Saka got the Gunners off the mark in the sixth minute before a tidy give-and-go between Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus led to Martin Odegaard doubling the advantage seven minutes later.
Wolves offered very little in the match but a late strike by Matheus Cunha reduced the deficit in the closing stages to jangle the nerves on a freezing afternoon in N5.
Here’s what the managers, players, statisticians and pundits had to say after the match…
Arteta on the margin of victory…
It should have been a much bigger scoreline. We made a mistake and they take the chance, and it’s game on in the Premier League. We had chances and we didn’t put them away, but we kept trying. We had some big, big chances to put the game to bed.
Source: BBC Sport
Gary O’Neill on running Arsenal close after a poor start…
I knew that we’d suffer some moments against Arsenal because everybody does, and I felt we’d find a foothold and find a way back in and it was a long way back to get anything from the game, but we didn’t fear it would get away from us. The lads stuck together and gave everything they could to get us back in the game and gave Arsenal a little scare at the end. The lads should take a lot from that performance because we were short in numbers today, three young lads on the bench for their first time, we had to change the goalie, so to keep going, stick together and give Arsenal a scare, it was a good effort.
100 – Bukayo Saka's opener was Arsenal's 100th goal of 2023, becoming just the fifth big five European league side to reach this total across all competitions this calendar year after Man City (137), Real Madrid (119), Bayern Munich (111) and Bayer Leverkusen (110). Ton. pic.twitter.com/ZmRBGxjpWV
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 2, 2023
Arteta on Tomiyasu being substituted…
We have to check him, he was a bit fatigued, and we decided to take him off. So, he’ll get assessed but hopefully, he’ll be fine.
Martin Odegaard on a nervy end to the game…
To be honest, in the end when they scored the first one, it’s always a bit – what can I say – you’re always a bit nervous for the second. But I think we did well after the goal, I think we controlled everything most of the game. Of course, we let them into the game with the goal, so that’s a bit frustrating. But in the end it’s a win and a well-deserved one, so we have to take that and move on.
Source: Sky Sports
Martin Ødegaard, Performance Detailed – Arsenal vs Wolves
This is the Ødegaard Arsenal had been missing, 13 progressive passes! 6 key passes! 1.9 xA!
Oh and he added a goal too pic.twitter.com/svWnnh5Lxx
— Scott Willis (@scottjwillis) December 2, 2023
Gabriel Martinelli on the importance of closing out the win…
Every game is important. We know we are top of the Premier League now. We want to be there; we want to be top of the Premier League for the rest of the season. We’ll try our best.
Arteta on dealing with the December schedule…
We train really little, we have one day to prepare for football matches, making sure everyone is physically and mentally in the best condition and maintain momentum, that’s it.
Source: Sky Sports
Arsenal (3.16) 2-1 (0.87) Wolves
— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) December 2, 2023
Paul Merson on Arsenal’s title chances…
Five games coming up before Boxing Day. Big five games. If Arsenal get through these, I think Arsenal will win the league. The next five games, they go Wolves, Luton, Villa away, Brighton and Liverpool, they win those five games, they’ll win the league.
Source: Sky Sports
Arteta on what he said to Declan Rice at full time…
I was just praising him for the way he played again, and so happy so there was nothing to worry about that!
Bukayo Saka has created more chances than any other player in the Premier League this season (36).#ARSWOL
— Orbinho (@Orbinho) December 2, 2023
Declan Rice with a message for the supporters…
A great three points today, it’s been a hectic schedule but stick with us, we have a big one on Tuesday [against Luton] and hopefully we can get three points there. A great result, thanks for all the support.
Source: Arsenal Twitter
Arteta on not keeping a clean sheet…
You see how they celebrated the defensive action after seeing zero with Gabi at the end (on Wednesday), you can imagine that they are not happy that. Today was a game to have a clean sheet and we haven’t and that’s the good thing about the team that wants more.
Source: Post-game press conference
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Paul Scholes on Arsenal’s title chances…
I think Declan Rice will help them. He was brilliant, Declan Rice. I think he’ll bring a calmness to that midfield. He’ll bring a calmness to the team. I was a little bit worried about the chances and goals scored at some point but I think with Odegaard, I think they keep him fit, he’s so creative and Nketiah can make runs, Jesus can score goals, Martinelli gets back to form, he’s capable of scoring. There’s a lot of goals in that team. But I think it’s key that Odegaard stays fit.
Source: Premier League Productions