Already qualified for the knockout rounds in the Champions League and on top of the Premier League table, Arsenal are looking to solidify their place in the league when they take on Wolverhampton Wanderers this weekend.
Though Wolves are a mid-table side, they have beaten the likes of Man City and Spurs and have drawn with Newcastle. So Arsenal need to put together a more than average performance to secure the three points to stay atop the league table with a very difficult December ahead.
3 things to look out for when Arsenal host Wolves on Saturday
Here are three things to look out for when Arsenal host Wolves.
1. The two sides of Arsenal
I think most supporters now know Arsenal are going to play a more controlled possession style of football as they attempt to dethrone City in the Premier League. Mikel Arteta wants to control the game and limit the opposition's opportunities.
For the most part, it has worked. While there have been critiques of Arteta's style this season, the Gunners sit on top of the league; primarily because of Arsenal's increased security. The Gunners have also relied upon producing a moment late in matches to rescue points.
However, when you see Arsenal in the Champions League, there is a difference. They are more open, fluid, and clinical with a goal difference of 12 in five matches compared to 17 in 13 Premier League matches. Perhaps that speaks to the quality of the EPL compared to the rest of Europe (or their styles).
Arsenal can play two styles of football, but with December full of tough matches against the likes of Liverpool, West Ham, and BrightonArsenal will need to utilise both styles to stay at the top of the table.
2. Will Kai Havertz continue his scoring form?
The criticism has been plentiful for Havertz since joining the north London side from Chelsea. However, critics have quietened since his match-winner against Brentford.
Coming on for Martinelli at the Gtech, it was clear what the plan was: crowd the back post when Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard terrorised Brentford on the right side and hope for the perfect cross. It worked. Saka’s delivery in the 89th minute was headed in by Havertz to win the game. While Arteta hasn't signed Havertz to merely be a super sub, there's no doubt that his height and aerial prowess provide Arsenal with an alternative route to goal.
The German followed up his match-winner last Saturday with a fine performance in midweek. The display showed that he can be a force to open up space to give Gabriel Martinelli his chances to go one-on-one where the Brazilian thrives.
One thing is for sure: a confident Havertz is only good for Arsenal’s run for trophies this season.
3. Can the skipper pick the lock?
Odegaard has been less of himself this season.
Maybe it's the new players in the midfield, a new style of play, or maybe his hip has hindered him significantly. Odegaard missed a few games and also skipped international duty as the captain of the Norwegian national team.
Since his return, he has looked more comfortable in his role as a creator. Saka and Odegaard were crucial in the second half against Brentford before the skipper scored a goal against Lens. Maybe it's too early to tell but perhaps the time off was good for Odegaard as he finds his footing back into the style of play the manager wants.