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                                                    Arsenal
                                                    Yao Gervinho (8 mins)
                                                    1-1
                                                    Wolverhampton
                                                    Steven Fletcher (38 mins)

                                                    Barclays Premier League , Dec 27, 2011
                                                    Ground: Emirates Stadium , Kickoff: 15:00 , Att 59,686

                                                    Team news

                                                    Wenger hails miracle-worker McCarthy Arsene Wenger has warned Arsenal to expect a footballing test when miracle-worker Mick McCarthy brings his battling Wolves side to Emirates Stadium.

                                                    The Gunners had an extra 24 hours to prepare for the game following the decision to put the fixture back from Boxing Day because of industrial action by some London Underground staff.

                                                    While Arsenal have their sights set firmly on the top four after bouncing back from the 1-0 defeat at Manchester City with an away win at Aston Villa, Wolves are scrapping for every point to stay clear of being dragged into a relegation battle.

                                                    Wenger has the utmost respect for the job McCarthy is overseeing at the Black Country club, under what have been testing circumstances following criticism from some sections of the Molineux faithful this season.

                                                    "Mick McCarthy is doing miracles at Wolves," Wenger said in his programme notes for the match.

                                                    "He is always ready for a fight, never gives up, keeps his steadiness and mental strength, never shows any strain.

                                                    "It is great what he does for his club. I believe they play extremely good football as well." Wenger had been impressed by McCarthy's determination.

                                                    "It demands special strength from the manager to fight until the last day with the uncertainty sometimes whether you will stay up," the Arsenal boss said.

                                                    "A manager needs to be cool-blooded, strong, resilient and Mick McCarthy has all of these qualities." Arsenal have won eight of their last 10 league games to turn the season around and close back to within striking distance of the top four.

                                                    The Gunners produced another impressive display to secure all three points at Villa Park last Wednesday night, with Yossi Benayoun coming off the bench to head a late winner.

                                                    The Israeli midfielder, on loan from Chelsea, has yet to start in the Premier League this season, but Wenger believes a collective team ethic runs deep within the current group.

                                                    "[The Aston Villa result] showed the importance of the squad, but also the quality of the spirit," Wenger told Arsenal Player.

                                                    "That makes a difference if you have players who come on that have a real desire to help the team.

                                                    "You always have a chance because teams have to fight so hard against us that in the last 20 minutes fresh players can have a big impact." Arsenal head towards 2012 with their defence stretched because of injury, which could see Wenger enter the loan market when the transfer window opens again on January 1.

                                                    Swiss international defender Johan Djourou could return from a minor groin problem, while Wenger must also decide whether to rest skipper Robin van Persie, who is close to breaking the Premier League goals record for a calendar year. With 34 goals he is two short of Alan Shearer's record.

                                                    Ronald Zubar believes Wolves must repeat the determination evident in salvaging a point against Norwich in their battle for survival.

                                                    Mick McCarthy's side twice came from behind in mid-week to draw 2-2 with the Canaries at Molineux.

                                                    Right-back Zubar, who has just returned to the side after a lengthy injury lay-off, scored the second goal to cement the comeback just when Wolves were facing a second home setback in succession.

                                                    Now they face a visit to revitalised Arsenal who are back in the hunt for a Champions League spot.

                                                    Zubar said: "There won't be any pressure on us against Arsenal and we just have to see what we can do.

                                                    "There's no reason why we can't play well there and see if we can pick anything up.

                                                    "Arsenal away is always a tough game with a big pitch and a lovely stadium. I'm sure our fans are looking forward to going there.

                                                    "We've had an extra day before the game now, after it was put back, and the players have been able to have Christmas Day at home.

                                                    "But then we will be looking to go to Arsenal with a good mentality and to show something positive on the pitch.

                                                    "The last 10 minutes against Norwich showed the determination of the team and we're going to need all that in the games to come." Zubar is delighted to be back in action after Richard Stearman's broken wrist presented an opening.

                                                    He said: "It's great to be back on the pitch and be part of the team.

                                                    "That's all any player wants. I'm enjoying it.

                                                    "For me it was just great to be back and to get my match fitness to 100% "I've only played five games and need more to feel a lot better.

                                                    Midfielder Dave Edwards is in contention to return after a two game absence with a groin injury.

                                                    Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is favourite to again partner Steven Fletcher upfront after netting against Norwich when preferred to Kevin Doyle.

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                                                    Arsenal vs Wolverhampton

                                                    Last modified 17:12 27/12/11

                                                    Hennessey heroics give Wolves point Arsenal were left frustrated as 10-man Wolves battled to a 1-1 draw at Emirates Stadium.

                                                    The Gunners, looking to go back into the top four, were ahead after just eight minutes through Gervinho.

                                                    However, Wolves, struggling at the other end of the table, rallied and levelled on 38 minutes through Steven Fletcher.

                                                    The visitors survived the second half dismissal of midfielder Nenad Milijas as keeper Wayne Hennessey denied the home side time and again.

                                                    After a bright start by Wolves, Arsenal broke quickly to take the lead on eight minutes.

                                                    Thomas Rosicky fed Yossi Benayoun, whose pass split the Wolves defence as Gervinho beat the offside trap to race clear.

                                                    The Ivory Coast frontman, set to soon be away at the African Nations Cup, waited for keeper Hennessey to commit himself, before cutting back inside and then rolling the ball into the net between the two defenders on the line.

                                                    Wolves looked in danger of being overrun, as following their positive start, the visitors were forced to defend deeper and deeper.

                                                    Gervinho darted clear again and fed Robin van Persie on the right side of the penalty area, but for once the Dutchman - chasing the record for goals in 2011 - was off target as he skewed the ball well wide of the far post.

                                                    Benayoun, on loan from Chelsea, was producing an all-action display and charged down the left - only to stumble over the ball when in the penalty area.

                                                    Van Persie continued to look for the opening, his chip headed over by Wolves defender Stephen Ward.

                                                    To their credit, Wolves had weathered the storm somewhat, only to then almost hit the self-destruct button when skipper Karl Henry lost the ball to van Persie. He fed Rosicky on the edge of the box who in turn laid a pass off to Mikel Arteta and his angled drive was blocked by Ward.

                                                    Van Persie then saw his low strike turned around the post by Hennessey.

                                                    Out of nothing, Wolves were level on 38 minutes.

                                                    Arsenal failed to clear a corner, which Stephen Hunt lobbed back in. His shot was deflected and Fletcher guided a header into the far corner.

                                                    Arsenal immediately went on the offensive, but Wolves were more confident and calmly saw their way through to half-time.

                                                    The Gunners upped the tempo after the restart, but failed to find a telling pass in the final third.

                                                    In the 57th minute, Laurent Koscielny's cross struck Christophe Berra on the arm, but referee Stuart Attwell was not interested - and instead showed a yellow card to Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen for complaining.

                                                    Arsenal had a free-kick when Gervinho was bundled over by Karl Henry 22 yards out, just left of centre.

                                                    Van Persie clipped the ball towards the top corner, with Hennessey touching it over at full stretch.

                                                    Per Mertesacker's close-range header was then scrambled clear by the busy Wolves keeper.

                                                    Rosicky swept the ball wide from 20 yards after a persistent run by Koscielny.

                                                    With tempers at boiling point, Atwell brandished his red card on 75 minutes after a studs-up sliding challenge by Milijas on Arteta.

                                                    Van Persie's shot on the turn was deflected behind as Arsenal laid siege to the Wolves goal, with substitute Andrey Arshavin then clipping the outside of the post.

                                                    Hennessey pushed away another goal-bound free-kick from van Persie, before Marouane Chamakh came on for Johan Djourou to give the Gunners another attacker in the closing five minutes.

                                                    The Morocco striker clashed heads with van Persie at a corner, which left the Arsenal skipper momentarily out of action.

                                                    Team Line-ups

                                                    ArsenalRating
                                                    Player rating out of ten Player name Substitution Did they score? Player's disciplinary record Rating
                                                    13 Wojciech Szczesny
                                                    20 Johan Djourou(sub 84)
                                                    4 Per Mertesacker
                                                    6 Laurent Koscielny
                                                    5 Thomas Vermaelen
                                                    17 Alex Song(sub 70)
                                                    8 Mikel Arteta
                                                    7 Tomas Rosicky
                                                    30 Yossi Benayoun(sub 62)
                                                    27 Yao Gervinho Goal
                                                    10 Robin van Persie
                                                    Substitutes
                                                    1 Manuel Almunia
                                                    15 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
                                                    16 Aaron Ramsey(sub 70)
                                                    23 Andrey Arshavin(sub 62)
                                                    29 Marouane Chamakh(sub 84)
                                                    39 Francis Coquelin
                                                    49 Ignasi Miquel
                                                    WolverhamptonRating
                                                    Player rating out of ten Player name Did they score? Player's disciplinary record Substitution Rating
                                                    1 Wayne Hennessey
                                                    23 Ronald Zubar(sub 49)
                                                    14 Roger Johnson
                                                    16 Christophe Berra
                                                    11 Stephen Ward
                                                    17 Matthew Jarvis
                                                    8 Karl Henry
                                                    37 Anthony Forde(sub 70)
                                                    12 Stephen Hunt(sub 85)
                                                    20 Nenad Milijas
                                                    10 Steven Fletcher Goal
                                                    Substitutes
                                                    31 Dorus De Vries
                                                    3 George Elokobi
                                                    5 Richard Stearman(sub 49)
                                                    9 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake
                                                    19 Adam Hammill
                                                    29 Kevin Doyle(sub 85)
                                                    34 Adlene Guedioura(sub 70)

                                                    Match stats

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