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Arsenal vs Sheffield United match preview

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Arsenal host Sheffield United at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon, looking to etch their way closer to the top-six sides on the Premier League table.

Despite improved performances and a progressively playing style under Mikel Arteta, the Gunners still find themselves mired in mid-table; whilst the Blades have maintained their steady start on their return to the top-flight, sitting four points ahead of us.

The Spaniard will be aware that it will take a process to get Arsenal to where he wants them to be, a process that will take more than just “improved performances”, as we now need to convert that into points. And with our ongoing struggles on the road, wins at home, especially against newly-promoted sides, are “non-negotiable”.

A win will give the Gunners a major boost, especially given that we have a chance to leapfrog a few teams on the log – which, of course, hinge upon results elsewhere going in our favour. We can also move within three points of 5th-placed Man United who are away at the juggernaut Liverpool tomorrow.

This is not about having top-four or top-six aspirations. Arteta has been fairly consistent in what he wants from the players as they get used to a new way of life; committed performances, leaving their hearts out there by not only doing what is expected of them, but also do it well. Because he has his beliefs that once we get that right, a positive upturn in results will follow.

He will have to do it without the talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the next three matches, who has scored 14 of our 29 league goals. However, this is also a shot for Nicolas Pépé and Alexandre Lacazette, who showed signs of finding form in recent matches, to step up and give good accounts for themselves.

Sheffield United are very hard to beat though, as they continue to punch above their weight. Chris Wilder’s side are 6th on the table and in their 22 league games have conceded just 21 goals; only Liverpool conceded less. It also doesn’t seem to matter whether they play home or away. In 11 home fixtures they earned 17 pts, with 15 pts coming from their 11 on the road, where they only lost twice (W3, D6).

In the reverse fixture at Bramall Lane back in October the Blades ran out 1-0 winners. When they scored after 30 minutes they were happy to let us have possession and shut up shop, and we hardly had a look in. However, that was during our “respect-era” and under Arteta we look more comfortable with the ball, playing higher up the pitch with a four-men attack. So if Wilder play the same tactics, it will certainly be a fascinating match.

Team news

Gabriel Martinelli is likely to step in for the suspended Aubameyang, with Bukayo Saka expected to fill in at left-back for Sead Kolasinac, who picked up a knock at Selhurst Park.

Lucas Torreira trained normally after initial fears that he may miss this game, however, he will still be assessed ahead of the match, with Matteo Guendouzi waiting in the wings. Hector Bellerìn is also expected to make the bench.

Prediction

It goes without saying that the Gunners are not having a great season, but with Arteta at the helm you always feel we have a shot as we do create goal scoring chances. There are still too many nearly moments in front of goal though, and that is where we need to do better if we are to string together a winning run.

That said, the Blades are a very settled side and just so well-organised. Wilder may target Saka at left-back as our weak link as he will have hopes of not leaving London empty-handed.

Be that is it may, this could be a very edge-of-your-seat, running-out-of-nails-to-bite encounter, with the visitors likely to cause us issues. I do fancy our chances though. COYG!

@LaboGoon

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61 comments on “Arsenal vs Sheffield United match preview

  1. Arteta barely put foot wrong since taking job in my eyes but not sure about Ainsley comment today. If he isn’t a fullback then…what is he going to be for us, given I think about 95% of his 100 or so games for us, under 4 managers, have been full/wing back?

    Admittedly, not seen game today, but I think he’s really come back strong, playing full back, from what looked a pretty low place earlier this year. Maybe I’ve missed a bit of context or something but can’t see benefit in saying that.

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  2. Someone posted Dean and Atkinson’s pen stats for us on twitter and I honestly don’t know how any of our fans can maintain they are anything like normal with us.

    Mike Dean penalties awarded (2000-2020):

    Man City: 15 in 72 – 1 every 4.8 matches
    Man U: 16 in 71 – 1 every 4.4 matches
    Chelsea: 12 in 70 – 1 every 5.8 matches
    Spurs: 11 in 69 – 1 every 6.3 matches
    Arsenal: 5 in 73 – 1 every 14.6 matches

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Martin Atkinson, the VAR official today, is another one of these referees with an unusual record against Arsenal. In 56 matches he’s only awarded Arsenal 7 penalties, 1 in 8 matches, but he has awarded the opponents 15 penalties, 1 in 3.7 matches.

    Oliver probably working his way towards same sort of thing. Think he gave 5 in 6 or 6 in 7 against us in one stretch last year.

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  4. just seen John-Jules goal for Lincoln today, it was a fine cool finish from just inside the area. He also did a double clearance off his own goal line late on to preserve the lead.

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  5. rich both dean and atkinson know how to please their boss Mike Riley, if they want to get the big games they know to keep him happy and no better way to do that than to fuck over Arsenal. Mike Riley has made the PGMOL game changers in his own image

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  6. rich re arteta comments on AMN and Saka, I think he was being asked about why he had a sideline discussion with AMN during the game, and Arteta was merely saying the lad is not a fullback by trade, and despite prematch analysis on sheffield utd, AMN still has much to learn about being a fullback, especially when sheffield utd changed tactics. Whereas someone who is a natural fullback would know how to cope when something unexpected is thrown at them. Saka as a winger had the same problem.

    As for AMN long term position, I would suggest its very unlikely to be in Arsenal’s midfield. If he has a long term future at Arsenal, I think he has to embrace the right back role, it gives him the best chance here, but I expect him to leave within 18 months.

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  7. Ed. Thought it’d be something like that. Not sure when, but after wanting to see Ainsley further forward for long time after debut, I’ve changed mind at some point and think right back it is.
    Our managers have all seen ton of him in training, in addition to games, and we’ve not had nailed down midfield for most part, but none have fancied giving him much of a go further forward.
    Think he’s generally done well of late though. I’ve had sense part of it came from- that word you used- embracing it as full-time position. Feels about 50:50 to me Bellerin will regain proper fitness and form this season so chances are will know plenty more about Ains as fullback by season’s end.

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  8. Even motd saying that was a pen. I know city have had their issues compared with Liverpool at least, but Arteta must still feel a long way from city with the decisions we are getting, and the injuries. Waiting for the doc on Nelson, sounds like another cruciate to me at the risk of a total guess, if so, perhaps time to look at our playing and training surfaces? We shall see what it is.
    I am quite willing to believe Riley does not like Arsenal, other influential clubs may not like Arsenal, we were perhaps punished for appealing Aubas red.
    But my view of human nature, the PGMOL are corrupt, and most , tho not all corruption comes from a desire for personal gain rather than just disliking something. Sometimes, both personal gain and some sort of vengeance can be achieved. My guess, there is corruption, someone is profiting hugely on illegal markets for decisions going against us. Why chose Arsenal to fix markets, basically we are a soft touch. No support in the media, perhaps a passive board on this front, even the fans unwilling to believe there is an issue. I suspect both the media and Fenway would have perhaps more to say than maybe Stan if Liverpool were on the end of such decisions, week in week out.
    I firmly believe Wenger was silenced on such issues, but also had the clout to bring in players that could to some extent overcome them, albeit at a cost, Ivan was powerful on many committees but ultimately a politician who didn’t rock boats, Stan perhaps unaware and uninterested, but for this to stop, someone at the club needs the clout , knowledge and will to take this on.
    These PGMOL decisions are now affecting the bottom line Stan and Josh. We have a bright shiny new manager, he will hopefully do great things, maybe with us, but I hope he is backed on all fronts, for the day will come when someone else covets him, perhaps a club not held back by a bunch of crooks

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  9. We didn’t win because wewe didn’t create enough.
    Dean and Atkinsom did there job well denying us a legitimate penalty .

    As I have said time and again we need aanother playmaker to supplement Ozil as teams find it easy to block Ozil.

    Remember Wenger mostly used two pkaymakers

    Cesc/Helb
    Cesc/Rosicky
    Cazorla /Rosicky
    Cazorla/Ozil
    Ozil/Iwobi

    Now we need someone in addition to Ozil .
    We must bring back Mikkhi or go for Rues from Dortmund .

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  10. We didn’t win because wewe didn’t create enough.
    Dean and Atkinsom did there job well denying us a legitimate penalty .

    As I have said time and again we need aanother playmaker to supplement Ozil as teams find it easy to block Ozil.

    Remember Wenger mostly used two pkaymakers

    Cesc/Helb
    Cesc/Rosicky
    Cazorla /Rosicky
    Cazorla/Ozil
    Ozil/Iwobi

    Now we need someone in addition to Ozil .
    We must bring back Mikkhi or go for Rues from Dortmund .

    Like

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