Arsenal need a win against Sheffield United today. The Gunners looked primed for a late-season run after convincingly beating Tottenham, but since that win, Mikel Arteta’s men have lost two and drawn two.
Fortunately, there is no better team in the Premier League to face when your side is in need of a win than the Blades. Interim manager Paul Heckingbottom’s side have just two wins and eight defeats in their last 10 league matches. They’ve scored the fewest goals (just over .5 per match) and have conceded the third-most (nearly 2 per match).
I know Arsenal’s form has dipped, but there are no excuses for not winning this evening. The Gunners beat the Blades 2-1 earlier this season, and I expect them to win again today.
The absences aren’t an excuse. Even without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (illness), Emile Smith Rowe (ankle), Kieran Tierney (knee), and David Luiz (knee), the Gunners should have more than enough quality to carry the day. Martin Odegaard (ankle) may be available, although I struggle to see the logic in playing him even if he’s fit given the importance of Thursday’s second leg against Slavia Prague. Calum Chambers, who missed out last Thursday with a knock, is back available.
It’s been a season gone horribly wrong for the Blades after their impressive start to last season’s campaign. Admittedly, the writing was on the wall in Project Restart where Sheffield didn’t so much as tail off as cratered. Hard. If my math is correct, they are 6 points from being guaranteed to be relegated. Not that it really matters: they are going down.
Quite literally adding injury to insult, Sheffield have a number of first choice players out with injury. Chris Basham, Billy Sharp, Sander Berge, Jack O’Connell, Jayden Bogle, George Baldock, Jack Robinson, and Jack Rodwell, and John Egan are all out. I guess when things go wrong, they go really wrong.
Again, if Arsenal cannot beat whatever 11-man lineup Paul Heckingbottom trots out. I won’t be buying any of the explanations: high-profile injuries, squad rotation, looking ahead to Slavia Prague, whatever. This is a match Arsenal should be winning no matter what.
Arsenal - Leno, Chambers, Holding, Mari, Saka, Ceballos, Xhaka, Partey, Pepe, Lacazette, Martinelli
Sheffield United - Ramsdale, Ampadu, Egan, Stevens, Baldock, Osborn, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, McGoldrick, Burke
McGoldrick & Burke lead the line as United make 3 changes for today's game.— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) April 11, 2021
Here is the Blades starting XI.
WHAT: Arsenal at Sheffield United
WHERE: Bramall Lane
WHEN: Sunday, April 11th, 11 PM PT | 2 PM ET | 7 PM BT
US TV: Peacock only.
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