Under-fire Arsenal manager Unai Emery admitted results must improve quickly after a 1-1 draw at home to Wolves on Saturday extended the Gunners’ winless run in the Premier League to three games.
Raul Jimenez’s header 14 minutes from time earned Wolves a well-deserved point after Arsenal’s captain for the day Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang opened the scoring against the run of play.
Emery’s men have now won just two of their last nine league games and could end the weekend six points adrift of the top four.
“I am very demanding of myself,” said Emery when asked if the fans’ boos at full-time put his position under greater pressure. “I feel the responsibility to work and come back with better results.”
A week on from a foul-mouthed reaction from Granit Xhaka towards the Arsenal fans as he was substituted against Crystal Palace, Emery left the Swiss international out of his squad and handed the captain’s armband to Aubameyang in an attempt to ease the tension between players and supporters.
However, there was no great upturn in the Arsenal performance with doubts growing with every passing week that Emery is the man to lead Arsenal back into the Champions League next season.
Emery also responded to the Xhaka controversy by listening to the fans’ calls for Mesut Ozil’s return as the German made just his second Premier League start of the season.
AFP / Ian KINGTON
50 and counting: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (centre) scored his 50th Arsenal goal against Wolves
However, Ozil made little impact with Arsenal again reliant on Aubameyang for inspiration.
“(He) could be,” added Emery on whether Aubameyang will permanently replace Xhaka as captain. “I think he can take that responsibility and today he did that.”
– Wolves ‘chasing perfection’ –
Wolves had 25 shots on goal and enjoyed the better of the chances, leaving boss Nuno Espirito Santo urging his side to be more clinical in the final third.
“We should be more clinical when you have so many chances,” said the Portuguese coach. “It is a lot of shots we must improve.
“Perfection doesn’t exist but we keep chasing it.”
Wolves started by far the better of the two sides, but it was Arsenal who took the lead when a low cross found Alexandre Lacazette inside the area and he teed up Aubameyang to slot home his 50th goal for Arsenal.
The goal appeared to settle the Gunners’ nerves and Rui Patricio twice had to be alert to deny Lucas Torreira and Lacazette from doubling the hosts’ advantage.
However, Wolves ended the first period as they had started by posing the greater threat and only a wonderful one-handed save from Bernd Leno prevented Matt Doherty levelling from Diogo Jota’s cut-back.
Leno was the busier of the goalkeepers after the break too as he turned a long-range Ruben Neves effort to safety.
And Wolves were finally rewarded with an equaliser when Joao Moutinho’s looping cross into the box was headed down past Leno by Jimenez.
The visitors also had the best chance to snatch all three points once level when Jota eased through a flurry of weak Arsenal challenges in the final minute only to be denied by Leno.