Sheffield United will be hosting Arsenal at Bramall Lane in FA Cup quater-final on Sunday afternoon as the competition returns after delay due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Gaining promotion to the Premier league, the Blades’ has had a remarkable period winning an incredible amount of games, competing for the top six position thus far.
Since the return of the league, Sheffield haven’t been as strong and consistent in their performance as they were before the pandemic crisis. They’ve already played three matches since the restart, losing three nil to both Newcastle and Manchester United while also drawing against relegation battling Aston Villa.
Their poor performance lately will surely be a cause of concern but the Blades can hope to bounce from their poor form as their FA cup quater-final opponent is another inconsistent team whose poor form in away matches has being their Achilles’ heel especially this season.
Arsenal have had a torrid season thus far, which can be attributed to their poor away form, inconsistent performances and the rare situation of having three different coaches to manage the team with the sacking of Unai Emery, followed by temporary appointment of Ljunberg, and the later announcement of the young and vibrant manager Mikel Arteta.
Since Arteta’s reign, the Spaniard have obviously made a lot of impact on the team in terms of their character, passion and cohesion on the field of play. In Arteta’s first 15 matches, the team impressively kept 7 clean sheets.
Since the restart of the league Arsenal has played against Manchester City and Brighton, losing both away matches in a dramatic fashion especially against Brighton which led to an outrage between both teams.
In 16 away league games played so far, Arsenal has only won thrice, drawing 8 and lost 5 matches. While they’ve won the two away matches they’ve played in the FA Cup against Bournemouth and Portsmouth. But a match against the Blades in their backyard won’t definitely be as their last two FA Cup games.
Both Sheffield and Arsenal have had an underwhelming restart and their league’s poor performances will also reflect in their FA Cup quater-final match on Sunday.
LEAGUE FORM REPORT
Sheffield United’s last five matches: (D-D-W-L-L)
Arsenal’s last five matches: (W-W-L-L-W)
Sheffield United and Arsenal have faced each other 12 times in an FA Cup competition. With Sheffield winning 3 matches, drew 3 and lost 6 games. Arsenal are clearly have history in their favour in regards to number of matches they’ve won against Sheffield in the competition. Their FA Cup game on Sunday will be their 13th meeting in the competition.
PLAYERS TO LOOK OUT FOR:
For Sheffield United; Lys Mousset and John Fleck are likely to start for the Blades and they’ve both scored five league goals apiece and their performances have helped the Blades to keep their hope alive in their quest to qualify for European competition this season.
While Arsenal will have their Gabonese international forward Aubameyang to look up to, after proving his consistency in goalscoring once again. This season, the club captain Aubameyang has already scored 17 league goals, helping his team with his decisive goals. And Arsenal’s record signing Nicolas Pepe has contributed to 11 goals in 25 league appearances. Though, Aubameyang has started all the matches post resumption and Alex Lacazette is a likely starter at the Bramall Lane.
Jack O’Connell is still nursing an injury which has kept him out for a while but the team will welcome both John Egan and Dean Henderson back to the team after both players missed the Blades’ 3-0 loss to Manchester United on Wednesday evening due to suspension and ineligibility respectively.
Arsenal will be without their first choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno who sustained a knee injury against Brighton and also Cedric Soares, Calum Chambers & Pablo Mari will not be in contention against the Blades’ on Sunday due to injury.
Both Torreira and Sokratis have reportedly started training with the squad, which might in turn put them in contention for Sunday’s game.
Sheffield United: (3-5-2)
D. Henderson; C. Basham, P. Jagielka, J. Egan; G.Baldock, S. Berge, O. Norwood, J. Fleck, E. Stephens; O. L. Mousset, B.Sharp
Martinez; Bellerin, Medley, Sokratis, Kolasinac; G.Xhaka, Guendouzi, Willock; Trae Coyle, Lacazette, Nelson.
Sheffield United 0 – 2 Arsenal