Whilst newly-promoted Wolves have been extremely impressive in the Premier League so far this season, their upcoming clash with in-form Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium represents a very tough test for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.
If they’re to stand any chance of coming away from north London with a positive result, the Wolves boss must get his team selection and tactical set up absolutely right.
Wolves boast the personnel to hurt the Gunners in key areas. On several occasions this season the Arsenal full-backs have been caught out of position and Unai Emery’s side have looked generally creaky when being attacked on the flanks.
In Jonny Castro and especially Matt Doherty, Wolves have two extremely attacking full-backs who will not hesitate to apply pressure in wide areas. The visitors’ most potent weapon, though, may well prove to be club-record summer signing Adama Traore.
The 22-year-old Spaniard’s raw pace and power could cause any defence problems and if the Gunners do lose their defensive shape – as they are capable of doing – then Traore is the prime candidate to exploit it ruthlessly before the home side have chance to recover.
Taking such an aggressive stance at Arsenal comes at a cost, though, and Wolves must be aware of what they must do to ensure they aren’t punished for being so attack-minded on the wings.
Arsenal are a remarkably incisive counter-attacking side when they’re in full flow. Wolves’ midfield pairing – almost certain to be made up of Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves – must therefore be constantly diligent and mobile so as to provide a safety net for their marauding full-backs.
It is a hard balance to strike, but if Wolves can manage it, and hold firm at the back, then they have the quality to secure a result on Sunday.