We’ve had yet another international break, but fear not, Arsenal are back.
The Gunners’ last game was a tight affair against the normally open Bournemouth. The match was decided by a solitary goal from the maligned David Luiz – and showed that Arsenal can keep their backline locked down under scrutiny when it matters.
The red-hot Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was kept quiet for once during the game, but the Gabon striker will be the focal point of our attack for this match against surprise package Sheffield United.
The Blades have started strongly in their return to the top flight, and narrowly missed out from taking points off league leaders Liverpool. Only a goalkeeping gaffe stopped them taking a share of the points – which is good evidence of how tough this game will be.
Bramall Lane is a tricky place to go to, but they have also acquitted themselves well away from home too. They aren’t just defence merchants either, against both Liverpool and Chelsea they attacked freely and used the wide areas well. They also have a good mix up top, with the accurate Billy Sharp, the powerful and pacy Oli McBurnie and Callum Robinson adding an aerial threat along with his pace too.
There is no doubt we must be on our guard against Chris Wilder’s men. They will stick to their game plan and a Monday night in Sheffield will have them very much up for the 90. Any attempt to coast through this game will see us cut to ribbons by the Blades.
Unai Emery, it’s over to you.
Alexandre Lacazette has returned to first team training and is in the reckoning to return to the side, but most likely is that the Frenchman will be an option from the bench.
Kieran Tierney is in line to replace Sead Kolasinac at left-back, but in terms of injury, only Reiss Nelson is unavailable.
Emery talked of Mesut Ozil stepping up his training recently, and this game could see Ozil return to at least the matchday squad. Dani Ceballos may well keep the playmaker spot for now, but Ozil is definitely in line for a recall.
Nicolas Pepe could do with a goal or two, and the Ivorian should keep his spot. If he scores in this game, then his adaptation from Ligue Un to the PL will have kicked up a notch.
Many players may well be jaded from international action, and a long trip for Lucas Torriera may see him on the bench.
Player to Watch
The former Preston frontman signed for the Blades in the summer and the Republic of Ireland striker has started his maiden Premier League season on a strong note.
Benefitting from strong wide play, Robinson has been a decent presence in the box for United, his pace allowing decent counter attacks too. He is quite tall too, so he will give us headaches from set-plays.
He predominantly plays on the left and cuts in from out wide, but his delivery is quite good too, so if not central, he will be giving our right-backs some worries if we are too lax.
How This Game Could Go
The Blades aren’t shy in coming forward. We will need to have our things tied up effectively at the back or we could suffer.
If we manage to recreate our organisation that we managed against Bournemouth, then we have enough up top to pierce them and get the goals we need to take points back to London.
If we are feeling gracious like we have done at times this season, then Wilder’s men have enough in their tank to not only score – but also shut us out, with their home crowd baying them on.
This game could change inexorably with an early goal. Go at them from the off and we could force them out of their shell.
Our rivals took points this weekend. We need to do the same.
Leno, Tierney, Sokratis, Luiz, Bellerin, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Pepe, Ceballos, Saka, Aubameyang
Predicted Scoreline – 2-0 To The Arsenal