There was always a chance that this could be a potential slip-up for Arsenal against a team as determined and well-oiled as Sheffield United. The Blades were never going to be an easy team to overcome especially at Bramall Lane, and in the end, they managed to live up to the hype as they defeated Arsenal to register a fairly embarrassing defeat on the visitors.
Dropping the ball
Unai Emery’s team selection was questioned from the word go, as has been the case for large periods of this season so far. By the time his tenure at the club comes to an end, there’s a very good chance this will be looked back on as a turning point. They were lively at times with Nicolas Pepe going close, but they couldn’t quite break down the stubborn defensive structure of the hosts.
It took until the half hour mark but we finally got the first goal of the game, with Lys Mousset turning the ball home after a really nice knockdown from Jack O’Connell. From that point on Sheffield United actually continued to play some really nice football, and it wasn’t just a case of them putting every single man behind the ball – as many would’ve anticipated this game would become.
A poor showing
Arsenal were actually pretty poor throughout and will be rightly ridiculed for this performance, especially as this was a big missed opportunity with the chance to move back into the top four being missed. Sheffield United, though, will now view a finish in the top half as something that could be achievable, especially if they can go out and bring in a few new faces during the January transfer window.
Wilder’s side will now turn their attention towards a trip to the capital, as they prepare to take on West Ham United in the latest chapter in their rivalry. Arsenal will go head to head with Vitoria SC in the Europa League during the week which will serve as a great opportunity for them to get back to winning ways, with another winnable home game taking place at the Emirates against Crystal Palace at the weekend.
Sheffield United: Henderson (7), O’Connell (7.5), Egan (7.5), Basham (8), Stevens (7), Fleck (7), Norwood (7.5), Lundstram (6.5), Baldock (7), McGoldrick (6.5), Mousset (7), McBurnie (6.5), Sharp (6.5), Freeman (6)
Arsenal: Leno (6), Chambers (6.5), Sokratis (6), Luiz (6.5), Kolasinac (7), Guendouzi (7), Xhaka (7), Pepe (8), Willock (6), Saka (6.5), Aubameyang (6), Ceballos (6.5), Lacazette (6), Martinelli (6)
Referee: Mike Dean
Yellow Cards: Henderson, O’Connell, Fleck, McGoldrick, Chambers, Papastathopoulos, Kolasinac, Saka
Red Cards: N/A
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