Arsenal dispatched Sheffield United at the Emirates with ease, cruising to a 5-0 victory over the Premier League bottomdwellers. It was exactly what you’d hope the Gunners would do against one of the worst defenses in the Premier League. On the other end of the pitch, Arsenal completely suffocated the Blades’ attack, allowing a paltry .02 xG on two shots, neither of which were on target.
Eddie Nketiah was the hero on the afternoon, notching his first Premier League hat trick, Arsenal’s 22nd in the Premier League. The opener came in the first half on a magnificent turn (from an excellent ball in from Declan Rice) that left Auston Trusty questioning his decision to leave MLS for England. He got his second after Sheffield United keeper Wes Fodderingham spilled a corner. Nketiah reacted quickest to smash it home. And he completed his hat trick in style, blasting an absolute screamer into the top corner from outside the box. For those of you keeping track at home, that was his first Premier League goal from outside the penalty area.
Fabio Vieira added a fourth for Arsenal, converting a penalty that he earned. It took VAR a surprisingly long time to award the penatly, which looked about as stonewall as they come. Vieira used the goal to announce (again - he’d posted to Instagram about it) that he and his partner are expecting by doing the ball-under-the-shirt, suck the thumb celebration. You know the one. Important celebration clarification: ball-under-the-shirt means “we’re expecting” while rock-the-baby means “we just had a child.”
Takehiro Tomiyasu capped off an excellent afternoon for the squad by banging home a ricocheting ball off another corner. It was the fullback’s first Arsenal goal, a great way to mark his 50th appearance for the club. It was also the club’s 7th Premier League goal from a substitute, according to the announcer.
Both Emile Smith Rowe and Kai Havertz had solid performances. ESR notched an assist and Havertz probably should have but was let down by his teammates. Jakub Kiwior was the other rotational change. He didn’t have much to do.
There’s not much else to say about today’s match. Arsenal did what they were supposed to and did it in style. It’s nice to see an outburst of goals, especially with Gabriel Jesus out of the lineup injured. Good on Mikel Arteta for rotating his side to start the match and using his substitutes to rest players like Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli. Arsenal are next in action on Wednesday against West Ham in the Carabao Cup.