Arsenal squandered a rare chance to climb up on the Premier League table as they gifted Wolves a point on Tuesday.
The Gunners’ need for goals from someone other than Robin van Persie will remain as the January transfer window approaches, but those worries seemed to be eased early on as Gervinho scored to put the home side in front.
A through ball found the Ivorian free on goal and he nearly made a mess of the opportunity, dribbling his way through Wolves’ desperate defense before scrapping a shot home.
That goal had only come after eight minutes of play so Arsenal had been handed that shot in the arm to go on and deliver a festive show. But Wolves were not having any of it.
The Gunners toyed with McCarthy’s men and on some occasions, found lethal chances to seal the match, but their notorious reputation of being wasteful when they have the ascendancy would haunt Arsenal again.
And seven minutes before half-time, a usual defensive madness would change the scenes at the Emirates Stadium.
From a Wolves corner, the hosts failed to make a convincing clearance and the ball was floated back to the in-form Steven Fletcher who headed it past Szczesny to equalize.
The visitors had made a big statement with that goal. That was Wolverhampton’s first goal at an Arsenal ground for 27 years. So “over to you Arsenal” it was.
Wenger’s men would give a response, but it would be a tame one.
Into the second-half, Benayoun – who had been given a rare start along with Rosicky in place of an ill Walcott and a rested Ramsey – was replaced with Andrey Arshavin.
The Russian would slightly improve his substitute’s impact today, nearly scoring a stunner with a ferocious left-footed shot which went inches over the top corner of the net.
Van Persie who exchanged passes with Arshavin in that move, made two dangerous attempts from free-kicks which tested Wolves’ goalkeeper Hennessey.
Growing urgency and frustration saw Alex Song booked and lucky to not be sent off for the offense of furiously tackling two players in an instance while Vermaelen, who had harshly seen a yellow card, could have seen another had he not cooled his temper as the match lasted.
On the knife-edge with the referee, Song was replaced by Aaron Ramsey with 20 minutes left. The Welshman could not force much so Chamakh was then introduced at the expense of Djourou as Wenger sacrificed defense for attack with injury time approaching.
Wolves had gone down to ten men in the 75th minute as Milijas failed to escape with a tackle on Arteta. And the best Arsenal attempted to capitalize on that was seeing Gervinho’s pace and maneuver on the left wing create a couple of anxious moments in the penalty area while Rosicky and Arshavin echoed that on the opposite flank. But that was that.
Arsenal could only manage a point.