Arsenal suffered their second defeat of the season, with a Lys Mousset goal being the difference at Bramall Lane on Monday night.
Arsenal began the game well, conjuring up the first meaningful chance of the game, when Sead Kolasinac crossed the ball into the box. But, Nicolas Pepe, who had started the move, failed to apply the finishing touches. That miss would come back to haunt the Gunners, as Sheffield United grabbed the lead at the half hour mark.
Lys Mousset took advantage of some shoddy defending, tapping the ball into the net after Jack O’Connell nodded the ball across goal from Oliver Norwood’s corner. Thereafter, both teams had a few chances to score. But, a resolute Sheffield United defence thwarted Arsenal on most occasions to hold on to their slender lead.
Arsenal, therefore, suffered their second loss of the season, continuing to be without a win on the road in the Premier League since the opening weekend of the season. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Unai Emery’s men.
Bernd Leno: 5/10
Leno did not have a lot of saving to do on Monday, with Sheffield United mustering up just two shots on target. One of these was Lys Mousset’s tap-in, which the German goalkeeper could not have done much about. But, he left a lot to be desired when distributing the ball, taking too much time to release the ball, which allowed the hosts to settle into their shape.
Calum Chambers: 6/10
The only Arsenal defender who managed to give a good account of himself on the night, but only to an extent. Rarely troubled defensively, Chambers had the measure of Enda Stevens and even came in narrow to deal with the barrage of crosses that Sheffield United intended to put in. But, he just does not offer enough going forward; Hector Bellerin’s return cannot come soon enough.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos: 4/10
A tough day in the office for Sokratis, who struggled against David McGoldrick and his movement. Needed to do better in the corner routine that saw Mousset score the winner. A liability on the ball, the veteran defender never looks comfortable when building up play from the back, and the same was the case at Bramall Lane. Needs to improve, lest he risks losing his place to Rob Holding.
David Luiz: 4/10
If Sokratis was horrendous, Luiz was hardly better. One of the most experienced players at Arsenal, he is a player who needs to raise his hand and be a leader when the chips are down. But, time and again, the Brazilian has failed to do so.
Struggled against the pace of Mousset and the only aspect where he excelled in was when playing out from the back, but that does not say much. What really is he bringing to the team on a consistent basis?
Sead Kolasinac: 5/10
Kolasinac should have had an assist on the night, when Nicolas Pepe should have converted from his cross. But, other than that, it was a forgettable outing for the Bosnian, who ought to have done better when charging forward. Not tested much at the back, but he looked hesitant when Sheffield United looked to pile on the pressure. Walking on a tightrope, with Kieran Tierney now fully fit.
Matteo Guendouzi: 7/10
Quite easily the best player on the night for Arsenal. Guendouzi constantly looked to move his side forward, playing quick passes while looking to win the ball in the opposition half in order to help assert the Gunners’ dominance. Alas, that was not to be enough, as the ones in front of Guendouzi looked out of ideas.
Granit Xhaka: 4/10
Another dreadful performance in what has been a dreadful season for Xhaka. The Arsenal captain always looked susceptible when Sheffield United broke forward on the counter, with the hosts overrunning him in midfield with ease.
Failed to set a quick tempo to the game, which only made things easier for the Blades. Culpable for the only goal scored in the game, as he left Mousset unmarked before he put Sheffield United in front. Just not doing enough to justify the tag of being the club captain.
Nicolas Pepe: 5/10
Pepe was not one of the worst players on the pitch for Arsenal on the night. In fact, he was arguably the visitors’ brightest spark, constantly taking the opposition defenders on and looking to make things happen.
But, the Ivorian failed to convert when he had the best chance of the game coming his way. Had two further opportunities to score, but it just wasn’t to be for him on Monday. Needs to add the end product to the fantastic pacy outlet he possesses.
Joe Willock: 4/10
A surprise starter in the No. 10 role ahead of Dani Ceballos. Willock struggled to be the creative outlet that Emery needed him to be and just could not get himself into the game. His numbers were simply dismal – Willock completed just 9 passes and had 17 touches of the ball. Back to the drawing board.
Bukayo Saka: 5/10
With Lacazette still not deemed fit enough to start, Saka had another opportunity to impress. But, the young winger could not manage to impose himself on the game, and not taking the chances when they presented themselves. Booked for diving, it was a harsh decision, with Saka clearly clipped.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 5/10
A frustrating game for Aubameyang. Having scored 80 percent of Arsenal’s Premier League away goals this season, it was clear that the Gabonese would be looked upon for the game changing moments. But, the star striker was deprived of service, which was evident in the fact that he had just one touch inside the Sheffield United box. Just isn’t being supported enough.
Dani Ceballos: 5/10
Replacing the inefficient Willock, Ceballos was an instant upgrade as Arsenal’s creative outlet. But, after a bright start to the second half, the Spaniard fizzled out soon, struggling to provide that killer pass that would have made the difference. Just one of those evenings, perhaps.
Alexandre Lacazette: 6/10
Given the final 25 minutes to get the goal back, Lacazette initially looked off pace. But, once he found his feet, the Frenchman looked dangerous, with his movement leaving the Sheffield United defenders backpedaling, although the equaliser never came about. Needs to start next week, nevertheless.
Gabriel Martinelli: N/A
On for the final quarter of an hour, Martinelli did not have enough to make an impact when playing out of position.