Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gunner news: Arsenal 1-1 Wolves

Steven Fletcher strike cancels out early Gervinho opener as 10-man visitors earn their point

Gunners frustrated as Hennessey produces a fine performance to nullify the hosts' attack after a header from Fletcher restored parity following Gervinho's opener

EPL,Robin Van Persie,Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers

A goal from Gervinho gave the hosts the perfect start after 10 minutes, but the Gunners were pegged back by a Steven Fletcher header in the first half, and some fine saves from Wayne Hennessey throughout the game helped earn the Midland side a point, even after Nenad Milijas' sending off in the second half.

For the hosts, Johan Djourou was back in the team after a short spell on the sidelines following an injury picked up against Manchester City, while Theo Walcott was absent through illness.

Tomas Rosicky filled in for the pacy winger, and Aaron Ramsey was dropped to the bench in favour of Yossi Benayoun.

And it was the Israeli who played a pivotal role for the home team, sending Gervinho through on goal in the opening 10 minutes. The Ivorian then rounded Hennessey before coolly dispatching the ball into the bottom corner.

Robin van Persie almost extended his account for the season, but slipped as he pulled the trigger with his right foot, and dragged his shot wide after being put through by Gervinho.

The Dutchman was later denied by a good block from Roger Johnson, and then a fine stop by Hennessey as he dived low to his right to turn the ball around the post.

Arsenal seemed very comfortable in possession, but Wolves earned themselves a way back into the match with a little over five minutes to half time.

A corner was whipped in by Nenad Milijas, but only partially cleared by the Arsenal defence. Stephen Hunt juggled the ball past Rosicky on the edge of the area, but his volleyed shot was deflected by Vermaelen into the path of Steven Fletcher.

His header across the face of goal just evaded Wojciech Szczesny and crept into the Arsenal goal for a shock equaliser.

The first half played out without any more events, but the second half began with a blow for Wolves as Zubar was forced off through injury.

Arsenal were dominant in possession as they went in search of a second goal, and had claims for a penalty turned down as Laurent Koscielny's cross struck Christophe Berra on the arm.

The hosts created more and more chances as the game progressed towards the final moments, with Van Persie forcing a good save from Hennessey with a free-kick before Mertesacker's header was brilliantly stopped by the Welshman.

The game threatened to turn nasty as Alex Song was put into the book for kicking Fletcher before catching Hunt high on the shin, and Thomas Vermaelen tangled with Roger Johnson. Arsene Wenger then withdrew Song for Aaron Ramsey with time running out.

Minutes later, referee Stuart Attwell produced a red card for Milijas. The midfielder lost control of the ball and slid in one-footed with his leg on the floor, connecting with the ball and Mikel Arteta.

Arshavin almost found the top corner with a toe-poked effort with 10 minutes to go, but saw his effort slide just past the post.

Hennessey proved to be a fine last line of defence as he blocked everything coming his way, including a good chance from Vermaelen as time ticked away, and earned the draw for his team.



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