Wolves sealed stunning turnaround to end their eight-game winless league run against nine-man Arsenal.
Joao Moutinho’s stunning first Molineux goal swung the tempo in Wolves’ favour two minutes after the restart, and the game was put beyond the Gunners 18 minutes from time when goalkeeper Leno was given his marching orders after inexcusably handling the ball outside his area.
David Luiz and Bernd Leno see red as nine-man Arsenal imploded to hand Wolves a 2-1 victory at Molineux on Tuesday.
Wolves host Leicester City next, while Arsenal travel to face Aston Villa.
Arsenal was seconds away from going in ahead at the break thanks to Nicolas Pepe’s solo strike, but things turned bad in first-half stoppage time when Luiz was sent off for fouling Willian Jose in the box and Ruben Neves levelled from the penalty spot.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a late opportunity to snatch a point for Arsenal but their seven games unbeaten run came to an end as Wolves held on for an important first victory since December 15, which sealed a first league double over the Gunners since the 1978/79 season.
Having nearly been blown away early on, Wolves created a stronghold in the game, albeit without creating clear-cut chances but Arsenal still posed a threat whenever they went forward.
A stunning fingertip save from Patricio deflected Pepe’s near-post drive onto the bar on 25 minutes, but the Gunners were not to be withheld much longer as their next meaningful attack delivered the breakthrough.
Pepe took advantage of poor defending from Nelson Semedo and Neves, shirking past two shaky challenges before curling a relentless effort into the top corner.
That looked to have secured Arsenal a suitable half-time lead until Luiz’s costly trip on Willian Jose as he raced through on goal. The Brazilian was shown a straight red card and the Gunners’ double peril was sealed by Neves’ ruthless finish into the top corner.
With the whole dynamic and hue of the game turned on its head, Wolves needed little time to grab the advantage as Moutinho – at the 61st attempt – scored his first home goal for Wolves with a stunning 30-yard drive than cannoned in off the post.
Arsenal still stood a threat to Wolves’ one-goal lead but their task turned impossible on 72 minutes when Leno raced out of his area to prevent Adama Traore collecting a long ball and, in a moment of madness, punched the ball out of play.
Referee Craig Pawson was forced to use the red card for a second time after the deliberate handball, and despite Aubameyang’s late blocked chance, there was nothing Arsenal could do to deny Wolves the first win of 2021.