If last week was a “do your job” game, this one yesterday away to Wolves was a “do your job…or else” match at Molineux. Arsenal had just seen a tired-looking City scrape through against Chelsea to reach another cup final, but our eyes had to be on trying to put some kind of pressure on Liverpool and City in the league, or realistically any small chance of silverware for us would have been almost done and dusted.

So much of yesterday’s game felt like there were some psychological demons that needed to be slain and as the team was confirmed an hour beforehand, it was clear that Arteta knew that he needed to change things up a bit.

In came Kiwior, Trossard and Jesus, Havertz dropped in to the left eight position and Jesus started up top again, with hope that we would be a little more effective than this team was against Villa last week. And we started brightly. We moved the ball well, with purpose, we started to create some chances and it felt like the team were getting over any potential nerves minute by minute. Wolves had played a couple of debutants and you could tell that there was an eagerness about them that we would need to be mindful of, but the hope would also be that we’d have a referee who would also manage properly in case things went over the line.

Sadly in Paul Tierney we got no such luck and I thought he was appalling yesterday. There were two really nasty, late, reckless challenges by Wolves players on Arsenal players’ ankles which probably should have seen red, but there was also a reckless high boot on Gabriel Jesus which was so obviously at least a card, but Tierney did nothing to punish other than a free kick. Honestly I feared that one of our players was going to go down with something and I just hope he doesn’t referee another game this season for us, because it was terrible.

But Arsenal kept plugging away. I thought Kiwior was a little shaky in the first half but he grew in to the game in the second, but it was on his side that we got our biggest scare of the game as Gomes wrestled clear of him and forced Raya in to an excellent save that he tipped on to the post. It was a brilliant stop from the Spaniard and I for one was pleased for him; I’ve said on here and the Same Old Arsenal pod (Amanda is recording this morning with a couple of guests here if you fancy tuning in) a couple of times that he hasn’t had many of those moments where you say “great save” with him but that one yesterday definitely goes down as one of those moments.

And that was pretty much all Wolves were restricted to yesterday, as our defence proved that they have overcome their little blip and were once again superb in completely shutting down Wolves with another clean sheet. By the end of the game we’d limited them to just three shots on target, an xG of 0.17 (so the quality of their chances were really low), with a second half of just one on target. It was impressive stuff.

And when you have a defence who can deliver that kind of solidity, you always give yourself a chance of winning football matches, which is why when the deadlock was broken right on halftime it felt like a very big goal. Trossard’s finish was a little more ‘hit and hope’ than anything else, but it still counts and although the shot was skewed, they somehow feel better and more satisfying when they go in off the post. Hey, I don’t care, they all count however they come and you just feel like after two games in which we haven’t looked like scoring, we needed something to fall our way.

Arteta’s halftime team talk was therefore a little easier but the message would have been clear: stay in shape, structure, see if you can get a second but above all don’t give Wolves any chances at the back.

And we didn’t.

It’s easier to say when you know the score and have hindsight on your side, but we were brilliant in that second half. We controlled the game, limited Wolves to scraps and created a few chances of our own. You could tell that the team was a little tense and in real time that second half felt very nervy, but we kept chipping away and Ødegaard’s second deep in to injury time felt deserved. It was good move by Rice to delay and delay the pass to Havertz after a turnover in the middle of the park, then it was a perfectly timed slide pass from Havertz to put Ødegaard in on the right. His cut back may have been blocked and the fact it fell to him again may have had a touch of fortune about it, but I thought that his composure to slot in was brilliant.

Declan Rice was also brilliant yesterday. How and where he gets his energy levels from I have no idea, but that kid is an absolute machine and we are so very lucky to have him. He’s a big part of why we are sitting top of the league today and a big part of the many shut outs we’ve had this season with our defensive numbers.

Three points secured, more nerves shredded, more to come. But this win ensures we’re still in it. There will be little time for rest and recovery and Arteta will already be thinking about how he manages his side from a rotation point of view given that we play Chelsea on Tuesday, but this win feels like a good platform to have The Emirates rocking for a night game, for sure.

I’ll be there on Tuesday, chewing my fingernails down to their stubby core, but with Chelsea suffering the ignominy of late defeat to City having played their best possible side, the hope is that we can deal another blow to them and keep our title chances alive once more. I hope that being knocked out at Wembley has them as down as possible And there’ll be more thoughts on that tomorrow and Tuesday.

Until then have a good one and I’ll catch you later.