Feature

#ARSSHU: Five things to look out for

Laca

We'll be looking to record back-to-back Premier League wins on Saturday when we face Sheffield United at Emirates Stadium. 

Ahead of the game, we've picked out five key things to watch out for - scroll down to find out what they are.

AUBA'S REPLACEMENT

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang starts a three-game ban this weekend, for his red card against Crystal Palace last Saturday.

Our leading scorer netted his 16th goal of the season at Selhurst Park before being sent off in the second half. Auba has started every single Premier League fixture this season, and has only been taken off once. In fact, since he signed in January 2018, he's played more Premier League minutes for us than any other player - spending at least 12 hours longer on the pitch than the next player on the list (Granit Xhaka).

So it will be unusual to see an Arsenal team take to the pitch without the Gabon striker.

Alexandre Lacazette (six goals in 19 games this season) is expected to carry on leading the line, with Gabriel Martinelli (eight goals in 19 games) an option to take Auba's place out wide.

Eddie Nketiah is also back at the club after ending his loan spell at Leeds, and could be named in the squad.

Alex Lacazette

MATCHING HIGHBURY?

Should we win on Saturday, it will be our 171st in the Premier League at Emirates Stadium – the same number of victories we reached in the competition at Highbury.

It took us 272 matches to rack up that tally at our previous home, whereas this is our 259th league match at Emirates Stadium, since moving here in 2006.

The complete record at Highbury in the Premier League era was: P272, W171, D66, L35, F538, A226, and we earned 579 points.

Our record at the Emirates is very similar: P258, W170, D57, L31, F538, A218, earning 567 points so far.

And our first ever Premier League win at the Emirates? That was against Sheffield United in their only previous visit in this competition. We won 3-0 on September 23, 2006 thanks to goals from Thierry Henry, William Gallas and an own goal from Phil Jagielka - who is back at United this season. All three of those goalscorers, incidentally, share a birthday!

The Blades have played at the Emirates since then however, in the Carling Cup in 2008. Carlos Vela scored a hat-trick in a 6-0 win that day, with Jack Wilshere claiming his first goal for the first-team.


HAPPY SATURDAY

This is only our third 3pm kick off on a Saturday so far this season - we drew the previous two, against Wolves and Southampton, both at home.

Looking just at home games for this traditional kick off time, we are on a 24-game unbeaten streak, dating back to the opening day of the 2013/14 season. We won 20 and drew the other four of those matches.

The last time we lost home or away at 3pm on a Saturday was November 2015, away to West Brom in the Premier League.

After this weekend, we don't have another game scheduled for a Saturday until March 7 against West Ham, but that fixture too remains subject to change.

 

OVERLAPPING CENTRE BACKS

As we saw in the reverse fixture at Bramall Lane back in October, a key aspect of Sheffield United's playing style is the novel use of 'overlapping centre backs'.

Michael Cox, of zonalmarking.net, explains further: "During Sheffield United’s rise through the divisions, Chris Wilder formulated an adventurous and almost unique approach in possession, that involved the wide centre backs in his three-man defence pushing forward against sides who 'parked the bus'. This was essentially a natural response against teams who sat back, but the more it proved successful, the more it became a fundamental part of Wilder’s strategy. 

"Clearly, this relies on two centre backs with very specific qualities. Jack O’Connell is a physical defender but also boasts a fine left-footed delivery, while Chris Basham is capable of pushing forward down the right. Such is his versatility, is the reverse fixture he started as a right-sided centre-back, was moved to the right of midfield for a brief period in the second half and then returned to the defence in the closing stages. John Egan plays between them and generally holds his position."


A CLOSE ENCOUNTER

Sheffield United's return to the Premier League for the first time since 2007 has exceeded all expectations so far. Chris Wilder's team have so far amassed 32 points from 22 games – four more than us – and go into the weekend in sixth place.

And as Mike Hammond explains in Saturday's matchday programme, the Blades have "been competitive in every Premier League match this term, winning eight (including 1-0 at home to Arsenal in October), drawing eight, and losing only six. Indeed, their only two defeats on the road have come against the top two, 2-0 in successive fixtures at the turn of the year at Manchester City and Liverpool, which ended a stunning sequence of nine away games unbeaten during which they recorded three wins – at Everton, Norwich and Brighton."

Wilder

 

 

MEN

WOMEN

ACADEMY

 

Fixtures

Europa League
Ticket Info
The Emirates FA Cup
Ticket Info

Results

Premier League
Europa League