Arsenal return from a disappointing draw in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night to face the Premier League’s bottom club Sheffield United on Sunday.
Although Mikel Arteta may rotate his squad with an eye on Thursday’s important trip to Prague, anything less than three points at Bramall Lane will be unsatisfactory. We are the bookmakers’ odds on favourites to win, as expected, but anyone who has any nerves about backing us may want to use a Virgin Bet bonus code instead.
We had also been odds on favourites to win the first leg of our Europa League quarter-final midweek too but ended up conceding a late equaliser.
A top-four finish may be out of the question now, but we really need a strong finish to the season to build up our chances of competing for a top spot next season. What’s more, it will also help keep and attract further talent.
Sheffield United are doomed to return to the Championship this season, and although we can’t officially relegate them this weekend, they have little to play for, on 14 points with only eight games remaining.
Kieran Tierney is at the start of another lengthy spell on the sidelines. This time with knee ligament damage. The boss will probably go with Cedric Soares at left-back for the trip to Yorkshire this weekend, though Bukayo Saka has been an option to him there in the past.
Centre-back David Luiz has not featured since our 3-3 draw with West Ham United before the international break and has undergone minor knee surgery. He will likely miss the rest of the season.
Martin Odegaard missed the 1-1 draw at home to Slavia Prague midweek and is listed as doubtful for the weekend due to rolling his ankle whilst representing Norway. We’d be best off leaving the playmaker out of the matchday squad for this one and hoping he’s ready to face Prague.
Sheffield United have a longer injury list, with defenders Jack O’Connell and Jack Robinson both out indefinitely. Chris Basham is also on the sidelines for Paul Heckingbottom’s side, as is striker Billy Sharp.
The Blades could also be without Sander Berge and George Baldock.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Bernd Leno; Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Gabriel, Cedric Soares; Mohamed Elneny, Granit Xhaka; Nicolas Pepe, Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Sheffield United (3-5-2): Aaron Ramsdale; John Egan, Ethan Ampadu, Enda Stevens; Jayden Bogle, John Lundstram, Oliver Norwood, John Fleck, Ben Osborn; David McGoldrick, Oli McBurnie
Being winless in four games and with an important trip abroad on Thursday makes it difficult to think we will get three points on Sunday, even if we are facing the team bottom of the Premier League.
We were 2-1 victors at the Emirates when we met Sheffield United early in the season and their confidence must have fallen off a cliff since. With a lot of youngsters and regulars alike looking to prove their worth to Arteta in the final weeks of the season, I think we’ll do enough to pick up three points.
Prediction: Sheffield United 0-2 Arsenal