Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard fire Arsenal four points clear at top of Premier League | OneFootball

Icon: The Independent

The Independent

·2 December 2023

Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard fire Arsenal four points clear at top of Premier League

Article image:Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard fire Arsenal four points clear at top of Premier League

Arsenal opened up a four-point lead at the top of the Premier League as two early goals proved just enough to see off Wolves at the Emirates Stadium.

With closest challengers and reigning champions Manchester City not in action until Sunday, Mikel Arteta’s side took full advantage as Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard struck in the opening 16 minutes before a nervy ending brought about by Matheus Cunha’s strike.


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Having thrashed Lens here 6-0 on Wednesday to ensure safe passage into the last 16 of the Champions League, Wolves proved they were made of sterner stuff and stayed in the contest until the last.

Saka needed less than six minutes to put the home side ahead as Arsenal scored their earliest Premier League goal of the campaign so far.

It is something manager Mikel Arteta has been keen to improve on, stopping sides being able to sit deep and defend in numbers.

Gabriel Jesus fed Takehiro Tomiyasu, who slipped in for Saka to coolly convert and continue what is fast becoming a fine season for the England forward.

Saka’s speedy opener gave Arsenal a platform to build on and they doubled their lead just seven minutes later.

Jesus was again involved, this time playing in Oleksandr Zinchenko down the left with the full-back then squaring for Odegaard to sweep home and finish off another eye-catching move.

Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa appeared to pick up an injury attempting to keep out Odegaard’s effort but was on had to bravely block a Leandro Trossard shot as Arsenal continued to turn the screw.

That turned out to be Sa’s final contribution, however, as he limped off to be replaced by Dan Bentley.

The visitors enjoyed more of the ball but created very little before being caught on a counter-attack that ended with Gabriel Martinelli hitting the base of Bentley’s post with a curling strike.

Jesus then failed to finish a difficult chance at the back post as Saka’s ball in was deflected into the Brazilian’s path.

Wolves finally had a telling chance in the dying embers of first-half stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan could not take full advantage of Zinchenko’s weak backpass as David Raya rushed off his line to block.

Cunha stung the palms of the Arsenal goalkeeper early in the second half just after Jesus had a penalty claim turned down at the other end.

Declan Rice drilled wide and Saka bent a long-range strike inches over the crossbar as the game seemed to be petering out to a conclusion.

Tomiyasu was forced off with what appeared to be a calf injury as Ben White replaced the Japan international for the final 12 minutes.

Trossard should have added a third moments later but could not finish when played in on goal as Bentley made a smart stop to deny both the Belgian and Saka, who followed up the initial effort.

Instead though, it was Wolves who would reduced the arrears and set up a nervy ending for the hosts as Nelson Semedo nipped the ball off the toes of Zinchenko and Cunha slammed home.

Arsenal should have immediately re-established their two-goal cushion but substitute Eddie Nketiah hit a post when presented with a fine opportunity.

The Gunners, though, hung on to seal the win and put a gap between themselves and the chasing pack ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Luton.

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