Arsenal will be hoping to reclaim third place on the Premier League table when they face Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Monday.
Gameweek 9 of the 2019-20 Premier League season has given us some fascinating match-ups. The matchday comes to an end on Monday, when Sheffield United play hosts to Arsenal at Bramall Lane, aiming to pull clear of the relegation zone, while the Gunners will be looking to make a return to the top four.
Sheffield United have perhaps, been the most impressive of the three promoted sides this season, frustrating each of their opponents with their tenacity. The Blades boast the joint-best defensive record in the Premier League at present, having conceded just seven goals so far. But, their home form has been sketchy, with Chris Wilder’s men losing three of their four outings at Bramall Lane.
Arsenal, on the other hand, have managed to string together a decent run of results. The Gunners are unbeaten in eight games across all competitions, including a five-match run in the Premier League. But, their form on the road is a concern, with Unai Emery’s men failing to win an away top-flight game since beating Newcastle United 1-0 in Gameweek 1.
Sheffield United were victorious the last time they hosted Arsenal in the Premier League, with Christian Nade scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win, back in December 2006. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Chris Wilder is on the verge of boasting a clean bill of health. Ahead of the visit of Arsenal, the Sheffield United manager is sweating over the fitness of just three first-team players, each of whom could be available for selection on Monday.
John Fleck (knock) and Oliver McBurnie (knee) had to pull out of international duty with Scotland due to their respective fitness concerns and will face late fitness tests to determine their availability. David McGoldrick could be in contention to make the matchday squad after stepping up his recovery from the groin injury that has kept him on the sidelines since last month.
McGoldrick, though, is unlikely to start, with McBurnie expected to have Callum Robinson as his strike partner. If Fleck is unable to shrug his knock, Luke Freeman will be the man to replace him and provide the forward thrust from the middle of the park.
Oliver Norwood will be the Anchor Man for the hosts, looking to keep things tight ahead of the back-three, while John Lundstram will supply the creativity from an advanced midfield spot. The onus, though, on the wing-backs George Baldock and Enda Stevens to send in the dangerous crosses that will make up the bulk offensive threat from Sheffield United.
When off the ball, Sheffield United will shape up in a back five, with Baldock and Stevens flanking a three-man central defensive partnership of Chris Basham, John Egan and Jack O’Connell. Dean Henderson will take his place in goal, hoping to avoid the kind of mistake that gifted Liverpool a 1-0 win in Sheffield United’s last home game.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Henderson; Basham, Egan, O’Connell; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens; McBurnie, Robinson
Unai Emery is also seeing his squad’s injury troubles ease up ahead of their latest fixture against Sheffield United. Reiss Nelson is now the only Arsenal player on the treatment table, with the young winger recovering from a knee injury that will keep him out of action for another month.
The good news heading into Gameweek 9, though, is the return of Alexandre Lacazette. The French striker took part in full training last week and is in line to feature for the first time since the start of September.
Should Lacazette be deemed fit enough to lead the line for Arsenal, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be deployed on the left flank. Nicolas Pepe, who has been projecting signs of finally acclimatising to his new surroundings, is a certain starter on the opposite wing.
Dani Ceballos should pip the out-of-favour Mesut Ozil to reprise the no. 10 role against Sheffield United once again, with Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi being certain starters in the midfield double pivot. Xhaka, though, needs to step up, having been given added responsibility of being the club captain for Arsenal.
Another positive update ahead of the trip to Sheffield United is the fact that Kieran Tierney could be ready to make his Premier League debut for Arsenal. Tierney’s return to peak sharpness means Sead Kolasinac will be relegated to being an option for cup games and Europa League.
Hector Bellerin, meanwhile, still needs some more time to become a regular on the right side of the Arsenal defence. And, in his absence, Calum Chambers should continue as the right-back. Sokratis and David Luiz will resume their central defensive partnership, with Bernd Leno lining up between the sticks.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Leno; Chambers, Sokratis, Luiz, Tierney; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Pepe, Ceballos, Aubameyang; Lacazette
1. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.61
1. Sheffield United to win @ 3.90
- Sheffield United are unbeaten in their last four top-flight home games against Arsenal (W1 D3) since a 0-2 loss in April 1991.
- In fact, Arsenal have played more Premier League games at Bramall Lane without victory than they have on any other ground in the competition (3 – D2 L1).
- Sheffield United have kept 24 clean sheets in the league since the start of last season, more than any other side in the top four English divisions (prior to the latest round of matches).
- Arsenal have lost just one of their last 11 Premier League matches on a Monday (W8 D2), a 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in April 2017.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored four of Arsenal’s five away goals in the league this season.
Player to Watch
It has been a patient wait for Kieran Tierney since joining Arsenal from Celtic in the summer. Having arrived at the North London club with a long-term hip injury, the Scot needed to bide his time to complete his recovery before staking claim for a regular role in the first-team.
Now fully fit and injury free, Tierney is set to make his Premier League debut. And, his presence on the pitch will be a major boost for Arsenal, with Tierney providing an added dimension on both ends of the pitch.
The Gunners stand to benefit from the creative thrust he provides while also becoming slightly more solid at the back, at least on his side of the pitch. An exciting time beckons for Tierney and Arsenal fans.
Sheffield United 1-1 Arsenal
Arsenal might be right up there with the best sides in the Premier League at the moment in terms of results. But, their form and performances on the road continue to remain a concern. The Gunners have not won an away Premier League game since the opening weekend of the season and have kept just two clean sheets in their last 23 top-flight games away from home.
Sheffield United will, therefore, be in with a chance to shock their illustrious visitors, even though their own home form does not inspire a lot of confidence. What is certain is that chances will come few and far between, with the hosts defending in numbers.
In the end, there could be very little to separate the two sides and The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-1 draw, a result that is not ideal for either side.