Unai Emery’s starting lineup raised questions among the London side’s fans as per usual. Mesut Ozil failed to make the squad, whilst Tierney and Torreira were on the bench. How the German World Cup winner can’t even make the bench suggests his time at the Emirates is quickly coming to an end.
The game began in controversial fashion, when Sokratis was brought down in the Sheffield box by a blatant push in the 6th minute. However, the away side’s call for a penalty were denied by Mike Dean. Not many could argue against it being a stonewall penalty and Arsenal had been hard done by.
Chris Wilder’s Blades were full of energy and physicality, not allowing the Gunners to build any momentum and dominate the promoted team. The incredible Bramall Lane atmosphere certainly didn’t let them settle.
Nicolas Pepe’s torrid time in front of goal continued, missing a sitter just 5 yards from goal. He was made to pay for his miss in the 30th minute, when an unmarked Lys Mousset tapped in O’Connell’s header from close range.
Yet again poor defending by the North London side from a corner, with schoolboy errors putting the home side ahead. Arsenal’s dire defensive record away continues. Still only the one clean sheet on the road so far this season.
The Gunners started the second half more positively, dominating possession and trying to create chances. Pepe in particular looked bright with attempts on goal and balls into the box. But the Ivorian just lacked the end product.
John Fleck had two close attempts at goal, one hitting the side netting and the other forcing Leno into a save. But United were impressive to watch at the back:
Their watertight defence was frustrating for the visitors who simply couldn’t break through. The joint best backline in the league with Liverpool were disciplined and held on to bring home all 3 points.
Another tactical masterclass by the still underrated Chris Wilder and a massive victory for his industrious side.
As for the Gunners, they leave for London with another underwhelming away performance, missing the chance to go back to the 3rd place. The pressure on Emery keeps on mounting.
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