Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal welcome already-safe Wolverhampton Wanderers to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday in their final match-up of the Premier League season.
It has been a tough final run-in for the Gunners as they have watched their Premier League title grasp dissipate and fall into the hands of Manchester City. A run of just two wins from their last eight matches is hardly title-winning form and deservedly the crown has been placed atop the heads of the Citizens for their third consecutive top flight trophy.
Arsenal head into their season finale on the back of consecutive defeats - a 3-0 discomfort at home to Brighton and a 1-0 loss away to Nottingham Forest - and so they will be keen on giving their fans a little bit of joy to end what has still been an incredibly successful campaign.
Securing a place in the Premier League for next season was of paramount importance for Wolves who, at one point, looked as though they could be going down. They were rock bottom when Julen Lopetegui took charge in November but the Spaniard has been able to guide them to mid-table and ensure their safety.
The resurgence has to largely be credited to Wolves’ home performances since they have been pretty woeful away from home this term, sitting third-from-bottom in the division based on their away record. Wanderers have picked up just one victory on their travels since the turn of the year and have lost their last three consecutive matches on the road too, including a 6-0 demolition away to Brighton at the Amex.
Having scored the least goals in the league (31), the visitors will be more reliant on defensive stability, largely based around their 4-4-2 system. Craig Dawson has been ever present at the heart of the defence since joining from West Ham in January.
Head-to-head record between the two sides favours the Gunners and they have won their last three consecutive matches against Wolves. Arsenal have failed to win just six times against the Midlands club in their last 23 meetings, stretching back to 1983, and have lost just three times since 1980.
The injury to William Saliba certainly seems to be the catalyst to Arsenal’s downfall and he will remain out here. The Frenchman displayed elite qualities throughout his maiden Premier League season for the North London club but will remain out for the closer. Gabriel Martinelli, Mohamed Elneny, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Oleksandr Zinchenko are all unavailable as well.
Both Bukayo Saka and Leandro Trossard are doubts ahead of Sunday’s affair too due to slight knocks, whilst Reiss Nelson is also questionable after missing the trip to Forest because of illness. That could leave Mikel Arteta’s men extremely thin up top with only Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith Rowe as the only clear attacking options at the moment.
Lopetegui is expected to have a fairly clean bill of health since Sasa Kalajdzic and Chiquinho are the only selection issues for the visitors as they continue in their recoveries from long-term injury.
Expert Insight: Arsenal are expected to finish the season off in style and will be expected to get the victory at home to Wolves, especially due to their torrid away record. The lack of options going forward may hinder the Gunners slightly but they should get the win, nevertheless.