Full time: Arsenal 1-2 Wolves
Peep peep! Wolves move up to sixth after their first win at Arsenal since 1979. They played some exhilarating attacking football in their new 4-2-3-1 formation and fully deserved their victory. Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence scored the goals in the first half; Podence’s was a skilful, quick-witted beauty.
The match was overshadowed by an awful head injury to Raul Jimenez, who was stretchered off after being treated on the field for almost 10 minutes. Thankfully he has regained consciousness and is responding to treatment in hospital.
90+1 min Tierney is booked for a deliberate trip on the breaking Pedro Neto.
90 min Four added minutes.
89 min Coady is booked for a lunge at Lacazette.
88 min Nelson wins a corner for Arsenal, though Wolves are convinced the last touch was off an Arsenal player. The assistant referee gave a goalkick but was overruled by Michael Oliver. No matter: the corner is crap and Wolves clear.
87 min In case you missed it earlier, Raul Jimenez is conscious in hospital and responding to treatment. That’s all we know at this stage.
87 min Holding is booked for a tactical foul on Traore.
85 min Traore leads a promising Wolves break, running 60 yards before finding Neto on the right. His inswinging cross is a bit too far in front of Dendoncker, who can’t control it on the stretch.
83 min Since you asked, Thomas Partey will make a huge difference to this Arsenal team. He’s that good.
82 min Bellerin’s deflected cross is headed just wide by Aubameyang at the far post. That was another very good chance; he was barely six yards out and had the jump on Nelson Semedo.
81 min “Hi Rob,” says Ruth Purdue. “My opinion about all of this is for football to look to rugby. Respect for the referee, calling he/she ‘Sir/Ms’ is an example but also the attitude for concussion and other injuries. I know it is not perfect and the sport is completely different, but the attitude towards the doctor and their opinion on players should be replicated. Players and managers have too much influence on health-threatening injuries. The pressure of results is simply the reason for this.
“These past couple of weeks about heading should have woken football up a bit more but I fear progress will be slowly than I would like. I hope the journalist question both the managers (who I respect and admire) and the powers that be about this. It is important.”
I agree with you in a broader sense, but I don’t think David Luiz or Mikel Arteta overruled the medical staff tonight.
81 min The corner comes to nothing.
80 min Lots of Arsenal pressure now, more than at any stage in the match. Willock’s shot deflects behind for a corner. Before it is taken, Alexandre Lacazette replaces Granit Xhaka.
79 min “Arsenal will be 14th if this stays the same,” says Stephen Carr. “One can only speculate as to the reaction to that if Wenger or Emery were in charge.”
Or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. They did win the FA Cup, though, and Arteta has definitely improved the defence.
78 min Wolves make their third and final change: Max Kilman replaces the substitute Fabio Silva, which means a switch to a back three. Wolves have declared at 2-1.
74 min This is a good spell for Arsenal. After a bit of a scramble in the Wolves area. Nelson’s lashes a chest/volley over the bar from 10 yards.
73 min Aubameyang’s low drive is blocked by Coady inside the six-yard box.
70 min Neto teases Bellerin again and smashes a cross that just clears Fabio Silva at the far post.
70 min Wolves make their second change: Ruben Neves replaces Daniel Podence, whose delicious goal put Wolves 2-1 in front.
69 min Bellerin is booked for pulling back Neto, who has trouble him all night.
68 min Arsenal are struggling to get behind the Wolves defence. They look, understandably, pretty short on confidence.
65 min A change for Arsenal: Reiss Nelson replaces Willian.
64 min Saka’s scooped cross is headed over at the far post by Holding. He couldn’t get over the ball.
64 min Arsenal have been poor since half-time. Aubameyang, in particular, looks nowhere near his best.
61 min Sky Sports report that Raul Jimenez is conscious in hospital and responding to treatment.
60 min Podence twists Holding inside out and rifles a shot that is brilliantly blocked by the covering Bellerin. Wolves have played some exhilarating stuff tonight.
57 min Willian clips the free-kick over the bar.
56 min Fabio Silva is booked for an ill-judged hack at Saka. Arsenal have a free-kick 22 yards from goal, to the left of centre…
55 min “Speaking of ‘one-man midfields’, so very sad to hear about Papa Bouba Diop’s untimely passing,” says Matt Dony. “He was one of those players I always liked, but for no specific reason. He didn’t play for any teams I cared greatly about, he wasn’t likely to bother any World XI lists, but I had a tremendous soft spot for him, especially during his time at Fulham. And, ‘The Wardrobe’ is one of the great player nicknames. It’s always 2002 somewhere.”
31 May 2002, to be precise. That was really shocking news.
54 min Traore is booked for diving in the area. He ran at Gabriel, who dangled a leg and seemed to catch Traore very slightly. It would have been a soft penalty, but I’m not sure it was a dive.
52 min Moutinho’s fierce shot from the edge of the area hits Gabriel in the face and knocks him off his feet. There’s a break in play while he receives treatment.
51 min Neto roars away from Holding and crosses low towards Fabio Silva at the near post. Gabriel does superbly to get across Fabio Silva and poke the ball behind for a corner.
50 min Saka misses a good chance, failing to make proper contact with Bellerin’s inviting cross. He stretched to volley the ball towards goal, but it sliced off his shin. Although it came at a slightly awkward height, he should have done better.
48 min “The NFL is the most greedy, corporate driven indifference to their players’ health, sports league in the world,” says Mary Waltz. “I despise them. But even their concussion protocol requires the player to go into a darkened tent for a proper concussion test in a tent that blocks out the light. it takes 10 to 29 minutes to do it right. The NFL only did it because they got caught trying to hide the truth and to avoid lawsuits. You can’t let players have a say. They will always say ‘I’m fine’.”
The players should have no say at all. I suppose the biggest question is whether you should have independent medical staff at each game, so that there is no potential conflict of interest.
47 min Boly is booked for a cynical foul on Willock.
David Luiz is going to be replaced by Rob Holding, on the advice of the Arsenal doctors. They haven’t specified what changed between the original concussion test and the half-time assessment.
“Arteta,” muses Andrew Hurley. “How much longer? It would be one thing if it appeared Arsenal were building a style or developing youngsters. They are over-coached, the players afraid to step outside the plan, and Arsenal are now a great ‘little’ team – so, they can be well-organised defensively and beat top teams by being hyper-defensive, yet can’t do that actual thing called playing football. Arsenal have actually spent quite a bit, and are really going nowhere. If anything, 13th is generous – 13th!”
“It’s an absolute scandal that David Luiz is still on the pitch,” says David Flynn. “There’s a real problem regarding how seriously football treats concussions. You can’t keep idolising that picture of Terry Butcher as a yardstick of manliness and accept it as normal that the entire 1966 squad is dying of dementia. There needs to be a sea change but everyone’s more interested in the definition of an armpit.”
I think the Terry Butcher picture is irrelevant, to be honest. I don’t think people have idolised that for years. The Arsenal doctors did a concussion test and were satisfied. I agree that Luiz playing on doesn’t sit right, and that the existing protocols need to be reviewed, but to suggest that experienced medical professionals aren’t taking concussion seriously would be out of order.
There has been no additional update on Raul Jimenez. All we know is that he was taken straight to hospital around 45 minutes ago.
“Arsenal’s midfield at the moment is neither beast nor fowl,” says Charles Antaki. “Arsenal fans would take a bit of beast, and then some fowl on top, were it available. Probably the best description at the moment is vaporous, or maybe insubstantial – anyway, something not there.”
That something is called Thomas Partey. He’s a one-man midfield.
Half time: Arsenal 1-2 Wolves
Wolves lead through goals from Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence, but an entertaining first half was overshadowed by a sickening clash of heads between Raul Jimenez and David Luiz. Jimenez was rushed to hospital after being treated on the field for almost 10 minutes; Luiz is still playing.
45+9 min “I saw Steven Smith hit by a Jofra Archer bouncer at Lord’s in 2019 – he returned to the crease after about 30 minutes in the dressing room, having passed the tests,” says Gary Naylor. “He was subbed out the next day, having failed the morning protocols. I’m no expert on concussion either, but I suspect David Luiz should be resting not running.”
Yes, he was the first person I thought of when Luiz continued, precisely because of that delayed reaction.
45+7 min Ceballos goes down holding his face after an aerial challenge with Podence, whose left arm caught him on the nose. After a bit of treatment, Ceballos is back on his feet.
45+4 min: Traore misses an excellent chance! That was another dynamic attack from Wolves. Marcal swished a lovely pass down the left to Neto, who moved the ball infield to Fabio Silva. He eschewed the shot and instead played in Traore, who smashed the ball into the side netting.
45+3 min Wolves have played some lovely football tonight. It helps having an extra attacker in this new 4-2-3-1 formation.
45+1 min There will be ten added minutes because of that horrible injury to Raul Jimenez. Fabio Silva’s mistimed lob is comfortably saved by Leno. Seconds later, at the other end, Aubameyang’s shot from a tight angle is held by Rui Patricio.
45 min David Luiz belts a free-kick over the bar from 25 yards.
Traore beat a couple of players on the halfway line with a double dragback and then found Neto. He ran to the edge of the area and hit a deflected shot that was spilled by Leno. It rebounded to Podence, who lifted the ball brilliantly over Gabriel and rattled it into the net. That was such a skilful, quick-witted finish.
GOAL! Arsenal 1-2 Wolves (Podence 42)
Daniel Podence restores Wolves’ lead with a masterful goal.
40 min “The blood is pouring through David Luiz’s bandage,” says Mary Waltz. “His on-field examination looked complete but honestly, sub him out. No football match is worth the risk. That clash of heads was too violent to take a chance on his long-term health.”
There is definitely a problem with delayed concussion as well.
39 min Neto runs at David Luiz on the left and hits a terrific cross that bounces right across the face of goal. Fabio Silva and Podence couldn’t quite get on the end of it.
36 min “How is it possible that Luiz is still playing after that?” says Jeff. “I happen to have had brain surgery a few weeks ago (relatively minor, apparently ‘the mole removal of brain surgery’), and am not allowed to even jog until January. Can’t see how Arsenal’s doctors could have determined the severity of Luiz’s injury so quickly. I can’t imagine any metric in which his continued presence on the pitch could be deemed worth it (tactical, existential, medical, etc.). While I realise I’m writing this from the other side of an ocean, that he’s still playing feels quite shameful.”
While I agree it doesn’t feel right, I’m loath to be too critical simply because I don’t know enough about the procedure or the tests they do. There’s a common assumption that doctors who allow somebody to play on after a clash of heads are fly-by-night chancers, but that surely isn’t the case.
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