Mikel Arteta and Bruno Lage are preparing to go up against each other for the second time in the space of 14 days tonight.
Arteta’s Arsenal won the meeting at Molineux earlier this month 1-0, inflicting Wolves’ only league loss of 2022 so far.
The Spaniard talked up Wolves and their manager before the resumption of the battle between the two sides, which could be crucial in the race for European football.
At his pre-match press conference, Arteta said of Wolves: “They are really consistent. The work that the manager and the coaching staff are doing is exceptional. They have been on a really good run in recent years, they have a really clear way of playing and they are a really competitive team. It’s really hard to beat them and it will be tough.
“The recruitment policy and the players they’ve brought in have the qualities, the characters and the specificity to play the way they play. Obviously their defensive performance has been superb, the amount of goals they have conceded, the creativity they have and the goals they have, that combination is always going to be a positive outcome.”
On Lage, he said: “He’s done a really good job. I think he’s set different standards at that club and the work that he’s done is phenomenal in every sense.
“He’s established the club in the Premier League on a different level and Bruno has come here with his own ideas and he’s put the team again on another level and the way they are competing and playing it’s remarkable.
“They look like (top four rivals), the way they are playing and the results they are getting, the consistency they are showing. For sure. You look at the last two games as well and how they played against those teams, they are going to be up there.”
It is likely to be another close game tonight given Wolves played well enough to get a result out of the last meeting between the sides.
Wolves and Arsenal both had 2-1 home wins last time out, against Leicester and Brentford respectively, which means they should take confidence into the match.
This game could go a long way to deciding who gets into Europe, or even the top four, with Arsenal a place and two points ahead having played a game fewer than Wolves.
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