Wolves 0-2 Arsenal: Odegaard brace sends Gunners five points clear

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Martin Odegaard scored twice as Arsenal beat Wolves 2-0 at Molineux to move five points clear at the top of the Premier League.

The Gunners headed into the game looking to take advantage after Brentford's surprise victory against Manchester City earlier on Saturday but did not have it all their own way in the Midlands.

Gabriel Jesus saw an early effort chalked off for offside and struck the frame of the goal in the first half, while Wolves presented a threat on the counter.

Arsenal's patience paid off in the second half though, with captain Odegaard striking twice to seal all three points and leave the hosts rooted to the bottom of the table.

Jesus smashed home after six minutes only to be denied by the offside flag, while Granit Xhaka was replaced by Fabio Vieira due to illness.

Wolves went close to breaking the deadlock on the counter-attack but Goncalo Guedes fired his attempt over, while Jesus struck the crossbar at the other end.

The visitors finally found a breakthrough nine minutes after the restart, Jesus poking a pass through to Vieira who cut back across the face of goal for Odegaard to tap home from close range.

Gabriel Martinelli forced a fine save from Jose Sa soon after as the Gunners looked to double their advantage, with Toti then 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.

What does it mean? Gunners top for Christmas

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.

Odegaard top billing

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.

Lopetegui's challenge

Defeat to Arsenal leaves Wolves with just one win in their previous nine Premier League matches, drawing one and losing seven.

Nottingham Forest's win against Crystal Palace earlier in the day saw Wolves drop to bottom of the standings, with new boss Julen Lopetegui facing a tough ask when his role begins on Monday.

Key Opta Facts

- Arsenal have scored in each of their last 30 meetings with Wolves in all competitions, since a 1-0 loss in February 1979. Only against West Bromwich Albion (32) are the Gunners currently on a longer scoring streak in all competitions.

- Arsenal will end the day five points clear of second place Manchester City, the biggest lead the Gunners have had at the top of the Premier League table since 13th December 2013.

- Wolves will be bottom of the Premier League table on Christmas Day for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign, a season in which they finished bottom and were relegated.

- Arsenal are the only side to have scored in every Premier League game this season, while they've also got the joint-fewest goals conceded (11) and joint-most clean sheets so far this term (7). Indeed, the Gunners have kept as many clean sheets away from home this season (6) as they did in the entirety of 2021-22.

- Martin Odegaard is Arsenal’s top Premier League goalscorer this season (6 goals), while only Kevin De Bruyne, James Maddison and Leandro Trossard (6 each) have been involved in more away goals in the competition this season than Ødegaard (5 – 4 goals, 1 assist).

What's next?

Arsenal host West Ham in a London derby on Boxing Day, while Lopetegui's first game in charge is on the same day against fellow strugglers Everton.