Another Premier League home clash and another poor performance as we were again outplayed at home and slumped to our third consecutive defeat on home soil.
Goals from Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence on either side of a Gabriel header were enough as Wolves ran out 2-1 winners at the Emirates.
Somewhat surprisingly David Luiz was given the start in defence ahead of Rob Holding, Joe Willock was given another chance to try and impress while Bukayo Saka and Willian were up top with Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.
A horrible head clash between David Luiz and Wolves striker Raul Jimenez stopped play for around 10 minutes as it looked like Jimenez was knocked out cold, while Luiz managed to shake it off somewhat.
After seeing how Luiz played in the minutes following the collision, that he should not have continued as he looked very shaky, and rightly so.
Wolves took the lead in the 27th minute when a driving run from Adama Traore clipped a nice ball into the box and found Leander Dendoncker who powered his header onto the crossbar and Neto smashed home the rebound.
Wolves lead lasted five minutes after a nicely worked corner from Hector Bellerin and Willian resulted in the Brazilian finding Gabriel whose header sailed past Rui Patricio and into the net to bring us level.
It did not last long, however. A driving run from Neto ended with him rifling a shot at Bernd Leno who spilled the save and Potence pounced on the loose ball and fired Wolves into a much-deserved lead.
David Luiz was taken off at the half, replaced by Holding and we looked a different side after the re-start. Needing to get back into the game we pushed for an equaliser that never came as Wolves dealt with everything with relative ease.
Bukayo Saka and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang both had glorious chances to pull us level however both saw their efforts go wide.
A truly disastrous night at the Emirates as we now sit 14th in the league on just 13 points.
Takeaways from the game Something is not right with Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
I have been his biggest supporter for a while now however tonight it just did not look good. For whatever reason, that might be he looked like a shell of the world-class striker we had last season. His body language was poor and honestly, he did not even look like he wanted to be out there tonight.
Numerous times his efforts were flaky to put it nicely and that is something you do not want from your captain. Now he does have enough credits in the bank for me, so I am not going to completely obliterate him however that is something that is concerning me now.
Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka do not work as the midfield pivot
It was our only choice tonight, aside from Elneny, but they simply got passed around too easily and did not offer much in terms of protection for our defence. Not to mention going forward as there was little to be happy with tonight.
Things will change when Thomas Partey returns.
Creativity again an issue
In parts of the game, we did have our moments creatively however it is clear to see that this is our main weakness. For me, January can not come quick enough as reinforcements are desperately needed. Thomas Partey returning could potentially alter our fortunes however I am not sold on that just yet.
Rob Holding should be starting over David Luiz
Honestly, I was a little surprised when the team sheets came out and Holding was on the bench. Both himself and Gabriel have formed a good partnership over the last few games, particularly against Leeds. Going forward Holding must be at the centre of our defence with Gabriel as that is when we look at our best defensively.
Reiss Nelson must start over Willian
Again I was surprised to see Nelson on the bench tonight and even though Willian had a decent game creatively for us, Nelson has more than deserved a chance to start for us.
Arteta sees something we do not so he will have his reasons for starting him over Nelson. Nelson brings much-needed energy and guile to our final third and needs to be given the chance in the Premier League.
It does not get any easier for us, as we travel to high-flying Tottenham next in the Premier League and we will need a big improvement if we are to get anything from that game.
It is the most sobering of realities that just 39,595 people made their way through the gates to attend the six Round 3 A-League Men’s fixtures over the course of the weekend. Anyone believing that that figure is acceptable is simply deluded and the numbers read very similar to those achieved in Round 2. There […]