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Wolves 2 – 1 Arsenal

Wolves 2 – 1 Arsenal.

Arsenal had two players sent off as they threw away a lead and lost to Wolves – who won for the first time in nine Premier League games.

The Gunners, who had earlier hit the woodwork twice and had a goal disallowed, went ahead when Nicolas Pepe held off two Wolves challenges and curled a fine finish into the net.

But Arsenal were reduced to 10 men when defender David Luiz brought down Willian Jose, with Ruben Neves equalising with the resulting penalty in first-half injury time.

Joao Moutinho scored with a brilliant strike from 30 yards out to put the hosts ahead soon after the restart.

However, the Gunners were then reduced to nine men as goalkeeper Bernd Leno handled the ball outside of his penalty area after racing out trying to deny Adama Traore.

This was Wolves’ first league victory since a 2-1 victory at Molineux against Chelsea on 15 December, although they had also won two FA Cup ties – against Crystal Palace and National League North side Chorley – since then.

Wolves climb a place to 13th, but will drop back to 14th if Crystal Palace avoid defeat at Newcastle United in a late game on Tuesday.

Arsenal, who would have gone sixth with victory, stay 10th, eight points behind fourth-placed Leicester City in the final Champions League qualification spot.
The tuning point came in first-half injury time when Arsenal were leading 1-0 and were dominant.

Daniel Podence played the ball through to Jose and the Brazilian, on his home debut, had his heel clipped from behind by compatriot Luiz.

Referee Craig Pawson decided that Luiz had made no attempt to play the ball and sent the centre-back off. It was Luiz’s third red card for Arsenal after also being dismissed in the 2-2 draw at Chelsea in January 2020 and then again in the 3-0 loss to Manchester City in June.

Wolves, whose main threat had been restricted to set-pieces and long-range efforts, equalised with Neves’ penalty, which he fired into the top corner.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta made a defensive substitution at the break as centre-back Gabriel came on for forward Alexandre Lacazette, but it only took the hosts four minutes of the second half to go ahead, through Moutinho’s superb strike.

The visitors brought on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for goalscorer Pepe in the 61st minute in an attempt to rescue something from the game.

But Leno made a shocking decision in the 72nd minute as he sprinted out of his box, trying to reach the ball before the pacey Traore, but the goalkeeper misjudged the bounce, handled the ball and was dismissed.

With Mat Ryan, who signed from Brighton last month, injured, third-choice goalkeeper Runar Runarsson was given a Premier League debut.

The 25-year-old Iceland international, signed for £1.8m from Dijon in September, did well to deny Pedro Neto and substitute Vitinha as Wolves looked to finish the game off.

That left Arsenal largely playing with two banks of four, in defence and midfield, with long spells of no-one playing up front before they could regain possession.

Aubameyang and Hector Bellerin had shots from the edge of the penalty area blocked, but the Gunners could not force an unlikely equaliser.

-BBC

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Crystal Palace recorded back-to-back wins in the Premier League for the first time since September as they kept an attack-minded Newcastle at bay at St James’ Park. The Magpies had a handful of chances to add to the second-minute strike from Jonjo Shelvey, while Roy Hodgson’s side made the most of their opportunities, turning the match around in a four-minute spell courtesy of goals from Jairo Riedewald and Gary Cahill. Riedewald’s effort trumped Shelvey’s half-volley, when his 20-yard rocket took a slight deflection off Ciaran Clark in beating keeper Karl Darlow. And then in the 25th minute 35-year-old Cahill leapt highest to flick Eberechi Eze’s corner delivery past the reach of the Magpies keeper. In doing so, the former Chelsea defender became the club’s oldest scorer in the competition. Andros Townsend should have made it 3-1 in stoppage time, but almost inexplicably struck his effort high and wide from four yards. The visiting backline was busier of the two defences with Vicente Guaita producing a great instinctive block to deny Ryan Fraser and making another save to deny the Scot. Victory sees Palace move level on 29 points with 12th place Southampton, while Newcastle remain in 16th and eight points above the drop-zone. Whether Hodgson’s side can make it a hat-trick of successes at Leeds next Monday might depend on how serious Wilfried Zaha’s injury is. The Ivory Coast winger came off in the 58th minute with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. This fourth away win of the season in the league was the product of disciplined defending, efficiency in attack and some luck. The Eagles had more than enough time to regroup after the early jolt from Shelvey and were thankful Newcastle’s defending was not at the level it was during last weekend’s win at Everton. Hodgson’s own defence was exceptional on Tuesday. Guaita once again underlined his importance in the backline when he rushed out to get enough of a hand on Fraser’s strike to push it wide. Full-back Nathaniel Clyne made a crucial challenge to deny Callum Wilson a shot on goal and Scott Dann produced a brave block to prevent substitute Allan Saint-Maximin from testing Guaita. -BBC

Newcastle 1 – 2 Crystal Palace

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