Arsenal teenager Bukayo Sako celebrated a new long-term contract by scoring his first Premier League goal and the first player to net against Wolves since lockdown.
Mikel Arteta expects great things from 18-year-old Saka who last week committed himself to four years at The Emirates.
And the winger didn’t disappoint by acrobatically twisting his body to fire Arsenal ahead shortly before half-time before substitute Alexandre Lacazette sealed the points late on.
It was Saka’s fourth goal of the campaign with all the others coming in cup competitions and helped pushed Arsenal up to seventh with Sheffield United not playing until Sunday.
For Wolves, defeat meant losing ground to Champions League rivals Manchester United and Leicester who had won earlier in the day.
Both sides arrived at Molineux in confident mood. Wolves hadn’t conceded a goal or dropped a point since football resumed while Arsenal had won their last three since being upset at Brighton.
Instead of flying down the wing, Adama Traore started as Raul Jimenez’s partner in the Wolves attack though it quickly became clear he had license to roam and cause havoc.
Arsenal stuck with a back-five to match up Wolves but there was no place again in Mikel Arteta’s squad for Matteo Guendouzi or Mesut Ozil.
The banner in the Steve Bull Stand read “The strength of the Wolf is in the pack”. True, but in Traore they also have the ultimate lone wolf, quicker and more powerful than anyone in the Premier League.
He started by surging past Dani Ceballos as if the Spaniard wasn’t there. His run past David Luiz forced the Brazilian to foul and collect a booking. Sead Kolasinac’s foul on Traore led to a dangerous free-kick uncharacteristically wasted by Ruben Neves.
Arteta’s Arsenal are a work in progress but they are in the FA Cup semi-finals and making a run for the Europa League places via the league as well.
Skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tested Rui Patricio with a prod from a corner after 25 minutes. But youngster Eddie Nketiah went a lot closer when his cracking half-volley from Granit Xhaka’s deflected pass was well palmed onto the post by the Wolves ‘keeper.
Arsenal didn’t have long to wait though. After 43 minutes, Cedric Soares dashed down the right and Aubameyang cleverly switched play to the other flank where the other wing-back Kieran Tierney was raiding.
Tierney’s cross struck Matt Doherty and while the Arsenal players appealed for handball, Saka cleverly adjusted his body shape before thumping in a half-volley from eight yards.
Traore began the second half like he had the first. skinning Tierney before producing a cross from the byline that was only fractionally high for Jimenez to nod in.
When he repeated the trick a couple of minutes later, this time darting past Kolasinac, Wolves loudly appealed for a penalty, claiming Jimenez had been blocked off by Soares going for a header.
Replays showed there was contact but VAR deemed it insufficient for a spot-kick.
Nuno Espirito Santo made his first change after 55 minutes throwing on Diogo Jota to link with Jimenez as Traore went to the flanks. As a consequence, Arteta sent out Ainsley Maitland-Niles at left-back, presumably to try and counter the Spaniard’s electric pace.
Wolves cranked up the pressure trying to preserve their eight-game unbeaten run in the Premier League. Jota and Jimenez combined after 64 minutes to send Traore through.
The No37 saw Martinez coming and dinked his finish over the goalkeeper but also slightly too high for the net.
With tensions rising in the Arsenal camp, Luiz and Aubameyang exchanged views after the defender failed to find his team-mate with a pass and suggested the movement should be better ahead of him. They were also unhappy with referee Michael Oliver when Xhaka was penalised for a trip and Saka didn’t get anything when he was sent tumbling on an Arsenal break.
Arteta used the second drinks break to prepare for Hector Bellerin and Joe Willock coming on with fresh legs.
It actually took him four minutes to make the change as Wolves won a succession of corners and free-kicks with the Arsenal manager unwilling to reorganise whilst defending set pieces.
Willock played a major part in setting up an even later substitute Lacazette. He dashed down the right before slipping the ball into the area. Lacazette did the rest taking a touch to round Conor Coady before placing his finish into the bottom corner.
It was the Frenchman’s 10th goal of the season and completed a good evening’s work for Arteta and Arsenal.