04 February 2022, 21:30
Arsenal face another stern test in their quest for a long awaited return to Europe this season as they come up against a tricky Wolves side hoping to do the same. This trip could potentially be made more problematic by the departure of top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona - making things a little more difficult for Mikel Arteta if things don't go so right over the rest of the season.
Can Arsenal thrive without their former talisman?
With disciplinary reasons cited for why Aubameyang had been conspicuously absent from the Arsenal squad in the lead-up to the African Cup of Nations, his eventual departure as the January transfer window came to a close was perhaps no real surprise. What has surprised some fans more is Arsenal's ability to cope without him in recent weeks.
Whether this has resulted in a greater sense of togetherness among the squad as they felt more like a team without one man leading the line, or showed their support for the manager over their teammate in the conflict, it has worked out in Arteta's favour so far. But things can change very fast in football, not least in the Premier League.
Wolves looking to gate-crash European places again
Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. was a name the rest of Europe's elite heard again in 2019-20 for the first time since 1981, as they qualified for the Europa League having only been promoted back to the top division in 2018. They'll be hoping for the gap until their next European campaign to be a lot shorter as the club has now established themselves fully in the league.
Being only a couple of points behind the Gunners, a win over the north London club here could see Wolves firmly in contention for even a coveted Champions League position. Make no mistake, especially after their last 0-0 draw against bottom club Burnley, this is one fixture that Arsenal won't be looking forward to, and should look to escape it with a single point if nothing better.