Arsenal put in a limp performance against Sheffield United on Monday as they suffered a 1-0 defeat away from home.
With all the pre-match talk about Sheffield United’s excellent defensive record – they’ve conceded the joint-fewest goals in the league this season – Arsenal knew exactly what to expect from this game.
Instead of staying patient and keeping things tight at the back, Arsenal allowed themselves to fall behind in the first half, doubling the difficulty of their task.
Admittedly, Mike Dean helped somewhat, denying a clear penalty for a shirt pull on Sokratis Papastathopoulos and then booking Bukayo Saka because he was tripped up. Arsenal should have scored anyway though, with Nicolas Pepe missing a good chance.
In the second half, it really never looked like Arsenal might equalise. Bar one Calum Chambers shot across the box, there wasn’t one moment when a goal even seemed to be on the cards.
Let’s have a look at our player ratings for the match.
1Goalkeeper and Defence
- Bernd Leno 5 – Made one save from a long-range effort that he would always expect to gather up. Had no chance with the goal. Should have been more patient playing out from the back.
- Calum Chambers 5 – Chambers was fairly solid at the back, but he just isn’t the kind of player Arsenal needed going forward. He picked up some good positions and just couldn’t make anything of them.
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos 4 – The centre-backs were largely at fault as Arsenal struggled to play out from the back. They also looked pretty shaky defensively, failing to stand up to the physical challenge. Sokratis should have had a penalty.
- David Luiz 4 – As above, but Luiz didn’t have a penalty shout and did make one good block to prevent a shot on goal.
- Sead Kolasinac 6 – All the pre-match complaints were about Kieran Tierney’s absence, but Kolasinac was one of few players who actually did well. He won seven of his nine individual duels, created by far the best chance of the match, didn’t lose possession too often and completed both of his crosses.
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