Wolves 2-1 Arsenal
- Goals: Ruben Neves (£5.1m), João Moutinho (£5.2m) | Nicolas Pépé (£7.6m)
- Assists: Willian José (£7.0m), Pedro Neto (£5.8m) | Alexandre Lacazette (£8.4m)
- Red cards: David Luiz (£5.4m), Bernd Leno (£5.0m)
- Bonus points: Moutinho x3, Neto x3, Neves x2
Wolves brought Arsenal’s impressive run of form to an ignominious end on Tuesday night, although they had plenty of help.
The Gunners had two players sent off on the opening night of Gameweek 22 which only worsened a rapidly emerging injury and bans crisis ahead of facing key Fantasy assets on offer at Aston Villa and Leeds.
Of course, those red cards also severely limited the Fantasy Premier League assets who remained on the pitch.
Owners of Bukayo Saka (£5.4m), currently in 9.8% of squads worldwide, will likely be the most disappointed considering his recent exploits, offering seven attacking returns since Gameweek 15.
He returned from his Gameweek 21 absence at Wolves, and even put the ball in the back of the net.
However, an offside against Alexandre Lacazette (£8.4m) in the build-up saw the goal ruled out.
And when referee Craig Pawson sent David Luiz (£5.4m) and Bernd Leno (£5.0m) packing either side of half time, Mikel Arteta’s substitutions left Saka isolated.
Centre-back Gabriel (£5.0m) came on for Lacazette at the interval while Alex Rúnarsson (£4.4m) had to replace Thomas Partey (£4.9m) in the 72nd minute.
Silver linings might be hard to find for Arsenal fans after Tuesday’s defeat but Nicolas Pépé (£7.6m) did his best to provide one.
In winning the ball back and poking home the opening goal in the 32nd minute, the winger added his second goal in the last three matches.
And, of particular interest, it means Pépé has found the net in each of his last three Premier League starts away from home.
However, whether or not the winger will hold his place in the team remains to be seen.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.3m) made an eagerly-awaited return against Wolves and, even though he was unable to have much impact, his presence will be a big boost to his colleagues ahead of matches against Aston Villa and Leeds.
“I was but he’s been off a couple of days because of quarantine rules. He will be okay soon.” – Mikel Arteta
HOLDING THE LINE
Owners of Arsenal defensive assets will be hoping that the calamitous catalogue of errors at Wolves was a something of a blip.
This was the Gunners’ first defeat in eight Premier League games, having won five and drawn two of their previous seven.
It is worth highlighting that their defensive record coming into Gameweek 22 was admirable.
Until Ruben Neves (£5.1m) and João Moutinho‘s (£5.2m) goals on Tuesday night, Stuart Armstrong (£5.5m) was the only opposition player to net against Arsenal since Boxing Day.
And in conceding twice at Molineux, Arsenal let in as many as they had done in their previous seven Premier League matches.
The worrying thing for Arsenal’s defence moving forward, of course, is the shortages they face, a situation which worsened in Gameweek 22.
They were already without Kieran Tierney (£5.3m) and Mat Ryan (£4.2m) before Leno and Luiz added themselves to the list of players who will miss Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa. Alex Rúnarsson (£4.4m) is expected to start that Gameweek 23 match, perhaps boosting the Fantasy credentials of Jack Grealish (£7.7m), Ollie Watkins (£6.3m), Ross Barkley (£5.9m) and the like.
“Mat (Ryan) had a muscular issue and in the last two days he hasn’t been able to train. Hopefully we can get him back in the next few days.” – Mikel Arteta
“(Kieran Tierney) wasn’t close at all (to playing on Tuesday). Hopefully in the next few days he feels much better and he can come in the team and help us in this moment where we have so many games.” – Mikel Arteta
Wolverhampton Wanderers XI (4-2-3-1): Patrício; Kilman, Boly, Coady, Semedo; Moutinho, Neves (Dendoncker 74′); Neto, Podence (Vitinha 62′), A Traoré; Willian José (F Silva 90+1′).
Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Leno; Cédric, D Luiz, Holding, Bellerín; Xhaka, Partey (Rúnarsson 75′); Pépé (Aubameyang 61′), Smith Rowe, Saka; Lacazette (Gabriel 46′).
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