Arsenal face a tough test in their hunt for an Europa League spot as they host Sheffield United at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal could climb as high as eighth with a win whilst the Blades look to do the league double over the Gunners, and temporarily go fifth with victory.
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is suspended for Arsenal’s next three matches after being sent off against Crystal Palace last weekend, following a late tackle on Max Meyer.
Lucas Torreira (muscle), Hector Bellerin (hamstring) and Sead Kolasinac (thigh) are doubts, although the trio will be handed late fitness tests pre-match.
Calum Chambers (ACL) and Kieran Tierney (shoulder) are still long-term absentees.
Sheffield United could have a full squad available for selection as goalkeepers – Simon Moore and Michael Verrips near returns from respective groin and concussion injuries.
Arsenal have won just one of five league games under Mikel Arteta in the last month (W1, D3, L1), although they have scored in each of their last five games in all competitions under the Spaniard’s reins.
Sheffield United come into this game with seven points from their last five league games (W2, D1, L2), whilst amassing 12 of their 31 points so far this season from six games based London-based teams.
- Sheffield United are looking to do their first ever Premier League double over Arsenal, and their first since 1946-47 season in the old Division One.
- Arsenal have drawn three of their seven previous PL matches against the Blades (W2, D3, L2).
- Sheffield United are yet to score at the Emirates Stadium after failing to do so in two previous attempts, losing 9-0 on aggregate across those two previous such games in all competitions.
- No Arsenal player has made a last man tackle in the league so far this season.
- Oliver Norwood is the only Sheffield United player to have scored a league penalty this season.
Arsenal need to start raising their game because they struggled quite badly when defending against Palace, although their full-backs were particularly impressive in how they handled Zaha’s pace and creativity.
Sheffield United however will be a tougher ask to beat given their wing play which worries me because without Aubameyang, Arsenal seem to lose that sharp attacking edge and they need to be at the top of their game against a staunch Blades defence.
I therefore am expecting a tricky encounter with a surprise result because United seem to have the measure of London teams this season, and I don’t see that ending here given the Gunners’ inconsistent defence.
Prediction: Arsenal 0-1 Sheffield United
Result: Arsenal 1-1 Sheffield United