Good day one and all.
Arsenal is at Bramall Lane tonight to take on Sheffield United, looking to extent on their positive eight-match unbeaten run across all competitions.
Make no mistake, the Gunners have been far from perfect thus far with just two wins in our last five Premier League games (D3) and without an away win in the league since opening day at St James’ Park, but there are encouraging signs with young’uns improving each game, even having put an end to the OCD-esque passing at the back appear to have improved our defense in recent matches with four clean sheets in our last six games (all competitions). So all things considered, including both Spurs and Manchester United stuck in first gear, there is little to scoff at, yet hoping we stay on this trajectory.
The Blades have made a decent start in their return to the top-flight, picking up points regularly with two wins and three draws from their eight games. Their three defeats have all been by one-goal margins, however, those defeats all came in their last three home fixtures, which shouldn’t really leave them short of motivation.
Chris Wilder has got them playing a very functional brand of football, they’re well organised at the back and shipped a mere seven goals – same as Liverpool’s VVD-inspired defense, albeit The Reds played an extra game. Very respectable considering they have played Chelsea, Leicester and Liverpool already. If they can improve at the other end of the pitch, having scored just seven – only Newcastle and Watford scored less – it should boost their chances of staying up this season.
We are in for an insanely busy period ’til the next international break rolls around, having to play seven games in just under three weeks. So Unai Emery may opt to stick with the ‘league and cup team’ theme to ensure the players are being kept fresh. To be fair he managed the squad well prior to this past inter-break and just doesn’t need to be too experimental with over-tinkering, unless, of course, it is to “Free Özil”. It does look like they’re ready to smoke the peace pipe eh?
Reiss Nelson is unavailable due to a knee injury, but Alexandre Lacazette is back and should make the bench. Kieran Tierney could also make his league debut. Calum Chambers has been one of the best players whenever on the field so it’s going to be a tough call between him and fit-again Hector Bellerín. Fingers crossed Emery doesn’t think Sheffield away is too much of a burden for Mesut Özil’s unique and missed talents.
The Blades have the ability to make this a very uncomfortable evening for the Gunners as their defense doesn’t give much away, however, their lack of goals will be of concern to the Bramall Lane faithful. So if we take the game to them from the onset and chip away at their stubborn defense, we should get the win following a weekend of 13 sides dropping points.
We can be certain it will be a cracking atmosphere at Bramall Lane under the floodlights and if you throw our ol’ friend Mike Dean in the mix… almost guaranteed theatre. Perfect setting for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to go 50 up for the Arsenal; his current goal tally is 49 from 75 games in all competitions. COY-PEA!