Monday 16 September 2019

Doherty on target as Wolves ravage Gunners

Wolves 3 Arsenal 1

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Matt Doherty scores his side's second goal. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Wolverhampton Wanderers' Matt Doherty scores his side's second goal. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Independent.ie sportsdesk

On an evening of painful blows on the field, a jibe from the stands might have been the hardest thing for Arsenal fans to take.

"Champions League, you're having a laugh," sang jubilant Wolves supporters as their team lauded it over Unai Emery's shambolic side.

One defeat should not derail the Gunners' pursuit of a top-four finish but the manner of their loss to Wolves at Molineux might yet prove to be a damaging blow to their psyche ahead of a crucial run-in after Ruben Neves, Matt Doherty and the outstanding Diogo Jota put them to the sword.

Having dominated possession and appeared in control, Emery's men crumbled in the space of 17 first-half minutes and left the Midlands licking horrid, largely self-inflicted wounds.

Wolves had been overrun in the early stages but the middle period of the first half saw them build up a head of steam that eventually resulted in the opening goal.

When Jota ran at the heart of the Gunners defence and fed Jonny Castro Otto, there was panic in the visitors' ranks that prompted a coming together in which Jonny was tripped by Nacho Monreal.

Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles (left) and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Diogo Jota battle for the ball. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles (left) and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Diogo Jota battle for the ball. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Neves accepted the invitation in style as he curled the resulting free-kick over the wall and in, past the despairing dive of Bernd Leno.

And they were 2-0 down seven minutes before half-time after Leno unconvincingly pushed a Jota shot behind.

Jota exchanged passes twice with Joao Moutinho from the corner before curling a shot on to the head of Doherty, who out-jumped Leno to nod home.

Things got worse for Emery and Co in stoppage time as Granit Xhaka's awful pass was intercepted by Jota, who stepped past Sokratis and ran away from Henrikh Mkhitaryan before his low shot was spilled by Leno.

Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo celebrates after the match. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo celebrates after the match. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

The second half was tighter, and there was even a late consolation as Sokratis headed home a Granit Xhaka corner, but it could not cover up the failings of them or their team.

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