Express & Star

Nathan Judah's Wolves notebook vs Arsenal

Nathan Judah gives his notebook thoughts following Wolves' 2-1 defeat vs Arsenal.

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Jose Sa with a bad back (Getty)


Pretty much what we expected from Gary O'Neil, the only slight surprise being the return of Hugo Bueno.

I say 'slight' as it was Matt Doherty who got the nod in midweek following the injury to Rayan Ait Nouri.

But I totally get the decision and going more defensive vs a very attacking Arsenal line-up makes sense.

However, Wolves will also need to score today, and they'll most likely need two to get anything from this one.

Delivery will be key and I'd like to see more from the big boys at the back - Toti, Dawson and Kilman at the other end of the pitch.

So much height and strength, they should collectively be scoring more.

Matheus Cunha (Getty)


Ugh, that was the worst start possible! The whole reason setting up in this way was to keep it tight.

Saka got a lucky deflection off Dawson that fell right back in his path to slot home.

Odegaard's strike was a well-worked goal that Wolves had no answer to.

Adding insult to literal injury was the back issue for Jose Sa.

I genuinely started to fear a cricket score with this depleted side.

But Wolves just about stayed in the game, but showed very little going forward.

Arsenal were excellent at times, but Wolves made the game far too easy.

I can't remember seeing a high press on a player, nor a strong tackle during the whole game.

You try and play tippy-tappy football in their own back yard, you're coming out on the losing side.

Cunha scored a lovely solo strike, he's looking more confident in front of goal every week.

But all in all, I thought the visitors made it very easy on an afternoon where Wolves had nothing to lose.

No risks, no pressing, no urgency, no points.

Hugo Bueno (Getty)


It's the first time I've disagreed strongly with a Gary O'Neil reflection.

Actually a lot of the media didn't see the same game the manager did.

I'm not sure the players did 'leave everything out there on the pitch' nor was it 'as good as they could give.'

Let's be totally honest, Wolves could have played their very best side possible and the likelihood is they'd still probably lose this game.

But if I was paying to watch that game, I'd want a bit more from the XI on the field.

At 2-0 it was damage limitation for a long time, but I'm not sure we saw the extra gears required in order to realistically get something from the match.

But this was a free-hit and with Burnley and Forest to come at Molineux, Wolves should still be looking for a minimum of four points and probably six.