That wasn’t too bad in the end.
Not the formality I thought beforehand and certainly not the bloodbath I feared after the first 15 minutes.
We couldn’t have started worse and the worry with our defending is that even with every man behind the ball there seem to be spaces. Fulham played through us on Monday so it was no surprise the league leaders had a lot of joy.
The commentators were purring over Arsenal’s incision but I felt Wolves could have done better. For the first goal particularly, it’s too easy for Saka to ride those challenges and Dawson should either have cleared it out or sent him down the line.
After the second went in and Sa went off, I was contemplating how many I’d be prepared to concede with no serious thoughts about staging a comeback.
Credit to the lads for digging in and changing that negative perspective. They kept going, riding their luck ridiculously at times, but ultimately making a good fist of things.
There were a few times when Arsenal threatened to give something up at the back so that loose pass from Zinchenko that Cunha punished superbly wasn’t completely out of the blue.
Our attempts to force an equaliser were somewhat lacking in conviction save for one brilliant pass from Sarabia that set Nelson free inside the box. But after that was scrambled away, there wasn’t much to get us off our seats.
It was pleasant to inflict some panic though and see Arteta clock up the steps in his technical area after the early signs pointed to a winter stroll for his team.
And although we didn’t take any points we can extract some positives, especially when you factor in that we had at least four first team players missing.
Doyle and Traore made a decent go of it in midfield with the former offering a few teasing balls into the area and the latter improving considerably as the game went on, pouncing on stray passes and winning vital second balls.
And although Toti demonstrated some wasteful possession at times, I think he did well overall and is maturing into a very good Premier League defender.
With a couple of extra bodies back and an easier fixture (on paper) in the week we can realistically hope for better but there’s a bit of pressure on that Burnley game having lost the last two.
Hard to predict how it will go. The only thing I’m truly confident about is that this flawed but enthusiastic team will continue to keep us guessing.