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Premier League: Brave Blades Duel with Arteta’s Gunners

Arsenal vs Sheffield United

Mikel Arteta’s challenging start to life as Arsenal manager continues. The Gunners have won just one of his first four Premier League matches in charge and remain stranded in mid-table mediocrity.

Meanwhile, Sheffield United are still riding high in sixth after a much-needed win against West Ham. The Blades have been a handful away from home this season and will be eager to pick up some points at the Emirates.

The Premier League 2020 odds still fancy an Arsenal home win, but that will be much tougher to achieve with the captain and top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s absence.

 

Talking Points

Arsenal must cope without Captain Auba

Arsenal appeared to be on course for a rare away win — they had won just two in their first 10 away from home — against Crystal Palace after Aubameyang put them in front.

However, Palace equalised in the second half through Jordan Ayew. Then, the Gunners skipper had himself sent off, which squashed any hope of a win.

Aubameyang’s straight red means he will now miss the Sheffield United clash, as well as the succeeding two games. Needless to say, he will be a huge miss. Auba is having another strong season and has scored a team-high 14 goals, including three in his last four games.

Premier League: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang received a straight red card
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang walks off the pitch after being sent off during their match versus Crystal Palace

The next-highest goalscorer is Alexandre Lacazette, who has a mere five goals this season. The French forward hasn’t scored in his last six appearances, with his last Premier League goal coming all the way back on Dec. 5 in a 2-1 home loss against Brighton.

But with Aubameyang out for the next few games, Arsenal will have to lean on Lacazette to lead the line against Sheffield United, with the likes of Mesut Ozil and Nicolas Pepe offering support.

One of Reiss Nelson, Bukayo Saka, and Gabriel Martinelli will likely fill the other attacking spot behind Lacazatte in Aubameyang’s absence.

Arsenal’s Premier League 2020 results at home this season have not been all that impressive, though. They’ve won just four out of 11 (four draws, three defeats) and had gone six games without a win prior to their 2-0 victory over Manchester United.

Blades’ formidable away form

Sheffield United suffered back-to-back defeats in the Premier League for the first time this season, although no one would begrudge them for it. After all, they did go up against the top two teams in the league — Manchester City and runaway leaders Liverpool — away from home in the space of just a few days.

They did bounce back with a 1-0 win over West Ham United, with Oliver McBurnie scoring the only goal of the game. The 23-year-old Scot has now scored four goals, tied for second on the team behind Lys Mousset.

The French striker has been on quite a goal drought, failing to score in each of his last eight premier league appearances. Although, he has not been a regular starter during that time.

Goals have been hard to come by — for either team — during Sheffield United’s away games. There have been two goals or fewer in nine of their 11 away matches this season.

The Blades’ ability to keep things tight at the back is a big reason why they’ve been so difficult to beat away from home (three wins, six draws in 11). They’ve conceded just 11 away goals, which is the third-fewest in the league behind Liverpool and Leicester.

 

History

Arsenal and Sheffield United have gone up against one another a total of 10 times since 1993, the majority of which have come in cup competitions. Unsurprisingly, Arsenal have the edge in wins, 6-2, while the two teams have played out two draws.

Although, one of Sheffield United’s two wins came earlier this year. They won 1-0 at Bramall Lane thanks to a Lys Mousset strike.

 

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