Martin Odegaard scored twice as Arsenal defeated Wolves 2-0 at Molineux to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to five points.
The Gunners went into the game hoping to capitalize on Brentford’s surprise victory over Manchester City earlier in the day, but they did not have it all their own way in the Midlands.
In the first half, Gabriel Jesus had an early shot disallowed for offside and struck the frame of the goal, while Wolves posed a threat on the break.
Arsenal’s patience paid off in the second half, with skipper Odegaard scoring twice to secure all three points and drop the hosts to the bottom of the league.
Øn the spot 🎯 pic.twitter.com/Nm60pPT0LF— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 12, 2022
After six minutes, Jesus scored only to be rejected by an offside flag, while Granit Xhaka was substituted by Fabio Vieira due to sickness.
Wolves came close to breaking the stalemate on the counter-attack, but Goncalo Guedes blasted wide, while Jesus hit the crossbar.
The visitors ultimately broke through nine minutes into the second half, with Jesus pushing a ball through to Vieira, who cut back across the face of goal for Odegaard to tap home from close range.
Soon after, Gabriel Martinelli forced a superb save from Jose Sa as the Gunners attempted to extend their lead, with Toti making a fine tackle to prevent Odegaard from tucking home again.
Odegaard was on hand again 15 minutes before the final whistle, though, picking up the ball in the middle of the box after Sa denied Martinelli to coolly slot home his second of the game.
With the season halting for the World Cup in Qatar and no Premier League football to be played until Boxing Day, Mikel Arteta’s side will sit top of the table at Christmas for the first time since the 2007-08 season but Arsenal must exorcise some demons to stay at the summit.
The last five times the Gunners have been in that position (1951-52, 1986-87, 1989-90, 2002-03 and 2007-08), they have not managed to go on to lift the title at the end of the campaign and Arteta will know there is plenty of work to be done.
A brace against Wolves took Odegaard’s tally for the season in the Premier League to six goals in 13 appearances, only two shy of his career total in England’s top flight prior to the start of the campaign (eight).
With Jesus, Martinelli (both five) and Bukayo Saka (four) leading the line, Arsenal continue to share scoring responsibility.
Wolves have only won one of their past nine Premier League matches, drawing one and losing seven.
Wolves dropped to the bottom of the table when Nottingham Forest beat Crystal Palace earlier in the day, with new manager Julen Lopetegui facing a difficult task when he takes over on Monday.
The next game for Arsenal
On Boxing Day, Arsenal play West Ham in a London derby, while Lopetegui’s debut game in charge comes against fellow strugglers Everton.