Arsenal beat Sheffield United at the Emirates on Sunday in what was a drab game that was dominated by Sky Sports inane commentary.
What’s worse, a teeny tiny shirt pull that doesn’t even affect the man or a studs up challenge that leaves your opponent in a heap, clutching his ankle?
The former, apparently, if you were to listen to the Sky pundits, everyone of them agreeing David Luiz should have seen red.
Graeme Sounness seemed to take it particularly badly. According to people on Twitter, no matter the commentary team, they all seemed to think it was a red. The ref and VAR didn’t.
We don’t know how they all felt about the challenge on Aubameyang that only saw a yellow card given when a red was surely warranted. That wasn’t even a half-time discussion point.
Why am I talking about this and not the match? Because there wasn’t really much to talk about from the match. Bukayo Saka opened the scoring and Nicolas Pepe doubled Arsenal’s lead 190 seconds later.
That should have been enough but Sheffield United struck from range with seven minutes left meaning the final moments of the match were far from comfortable.
We held on, but we shouldn’t be holding on.
We need midfielders and the window closes on Monday night at 11pm. Mohamed Elneny is not the answer.
Bukayo Saka goal
Bukayo Saka (aged 19 years, 29 days) is the youngest English player to score a PL goal for Arsenal at Emirates Stadium since Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (18 years, 173 days) in February 2012. [Sky Sports]
Arsenal 1-0 Sheff Utd (61 mins)
Star Boy- Bukayo Saka nods in Hector Bellerin's cross to give Arsenal the advantage#ARSSHU
— Sifiso Msezane (@MsezaneSifiso) October 4, 2020
Nicolas Pepe goal
Arsenal made six changes from the side that beat Liverpool on penalties in the Carabao Cup on Thursday.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Willian, Mohamed Elneny and defenders Kieran Tierney, Hector Bellerin and David Luiz all came back in.
Arsenal XI: Leno, Bellerin, Gabriel, Luiz, Tierney, Saka (60′, Maitland-Niles 87′), Elneny, Ceballos (Xhaka 81′), Willian, Aubameyang, Nketiah (Pepe 56′).
Sheffield United made only one change from last weekend’s defeat by Leeds. Jon Egan was back from suspension and replaced Ethan Ampadu.
Sheffield United XI: Ramsdale, Basham, Egan, Robinson, Baldock, Lundstram, Berge, Osborn, Stevens, McGoldrick, Burke.
Referee: Lee Mason. Assistants: Mark Scholes, Timothy Wood. Fourth official: Robert Jones. VAR: Andre Marriner. Assistant VAR: Peter Kirkup.
Arsenal vs Sheffield United pre-match stats
Arsenal are unbeaten in 10 games at the Emirates stretching back into last season (W8, D2).
Arsenal have failed to score in only three of their last 72 games at the Emirates.
Arsenal have not lost to a side starting the day in the relegation zone since they were beaten 1-0 by West Ham United at Emirates Stadium in April 2007.
Sheffield United, who are 19th, are hoping to end a six-match winless streak in the Premier League.
Sheffield United are the only top-flight side Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has faced that he hasn’t scored against.
Despite netting a first-half opener against Liverpool in their last Premier League (PL) match, Arsenal fell to a 3-1 HT/FT defeat. They’ve now dropped 18 points from winning PL positions since Mikel Arteta took charge – no team has dropped more during that time period. However, that result did see Arsenal score the opener before the 30th minute for the third time this top-flight campaign.
Sheffield United are in turmoil after losing their opening three matches of a new league campaign for only the third time in their history (1966/67 and 1995/96), with those defeats forming part of a six-game losing league run – their worst such streak since September 2013. The only PL side that are still to score, one positive is that they’ve at least managed a 0-0 HT draw in their last two PL matches.
The ‘Blades’ are also winless in their previous seven PL road trips (D2, L5), with their 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa in their last away outing continuing a low-scoring trend from last season, where Sheffield saw a league-low average of 2.05 match goals per away fixture.
Players to watch: The fourth-highest scoring Frenchman in Arsenal’s history, Alexandre Lacazette (51 goals in all competitions) has scored the opener in all three PL games so far.
David McGoldrick has scored Sheffield’s only competitive goal this season, and netted in the last H2H.
Pre-match Team news
Mikel Arteta reports no fresh injury concerns for Arsenal but will be without a number of players out with long-term injuries.
Sheff Utd’s Jack O’Connell has been ruled out for the rest of 2020/21 after undergoing knee surgery this week. Lys Mousset (toe) remains sidelined.
Did you know?
Alexandre Lacazette can become the first Arsenal player since Olivier Giroud in 2013/14 to score in their first four top-flight matches.
The Gunners are unbeaten in their last 40 Premier League home matches against sides starting the day in the relegation zone (W38 D2).
Sheff Utd can go four top-flight matches against Arsenal unbeaten for the first time since 1965.
The Blades are unbeaten in their last nine league matches in London (W4 D5).