Report: Sheffield United 1-2 Arsenal (inc. goals)

108

Result: Sheffield United 1-2 Arsenal
Competition: FA Cup quarter-final
Date: 28 June 2020
Venue: Bramall Lane

Starting lineup: Martinez, Mustafi, Luiz, Tierney, Maitland-Niles, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Willock, Saka, Pepe, Lacazette

Subs: Macey, Bellerin, Sokratis, Holding, Smith, Ceballos, Nelson, Nketiah, Aubameyang


Dani Ceballos came off the bench to grab a stoppage time winner at Bramall Lane as Arsenal progressed to the FA Cup semi-finals with a 2-1 win over Sheffield United. 

The Gunners were the better side in the first half and took the lead from Pepe’s spot-kick after Alex Lacazette had been fouled. However, the Blades cut a far more determined outfit after the break and had a number of chances to equalise before David McGoldrick volleyed home with three minutes remaining. 

It looked like the game might be heading to extra-time only for Ceballos to calmly stroke home a surprising winner. 

Pre-game

A fourth away game in 12 days was always going to test the fitness of Mikel Arteta’s squad so it was little surprise that the Spaniard opted to rotate. In total, there were five changes to the lineup that started at St Mary’s on Wednesday. We lined up in a 3-4-3 formation with David Luiz, back from suspension, Shkodran Mustafi and Sead Kolasinac making up the backline. Kieran Tierney and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, in for Bellerin, provided the width as wing-backs with Joe Willock and Granit Xhaka in the middle. Lacazette led the line with Saka and Pepe alongside him. Mesut Ozil missed out with a slight back injury and Matteo Guendouzi was again left at home.

First half

The home side had promised a fast start and Chris Wilder’s players delivered exactly that with an aerial bombardment towards strike duo McBurnie and McGoldrick that had us at sixes and sevens straight away.

The Blades thought they had the lead after eight minutes when Lundstrum headed home on the line after a corner to the far post was played back across the six-yard box. Thankfully, VAR came to the rescue. The midfielder was a yard offside.

There was another scare a couple of moments later when Mustafi and McBurnie both challenged for a dangerous throw-in hurled into our box. The ball flashed just wide of Martinez’s post.

We settled down after that but didn’t really threaten. Our possession felt ponderous and the our only opening was a Pepe cross to the near post that was cleared for a corner.

A rash challenge by Basham on Lacazette saw the momentum change. Tierney played a pass to the Frenchman just inside the box and his ankles were clipped. The referee was quick to point to the spot. A VAR check confirmed the penalty. Lacazette might normally have taken responsibility but having received treatment he deferred to Pepe. The Ivorian found the bottom right corner to net his eighth goal of the season. (1-0)

As the half wore on, we started to impose ourselves on the game but it was a very bitty affair. The rhythm was sapped by fouls, the drinks break, a couple of head clashes which required treatment and even more fouls.

Pepe was by far our biggest threat and had two more decent chances to score. A minute after his opener he hammered a left-foot effort from outside the box that Henderson pushed around the post and towards the 45-minute mark he put a Tierney cutback wide after a slick, flowing move.

Tierney tried his luck from the edge of the box and Norwood tested Martinez but that was about it despite seven minutes of stoppage time.

Second half

Rob Holding was an early replacement for David Luiz seven minutes after the break. The Brazilian went down after the shielding the ball out of play and knew straight away he was in trouble. He was later seen on the bench with an ice pack on his knee.

In the 10 minutes that followed, we were run ragged and survived three scares. First, a wind-assisted goal kick by Henderson had Martinez back peddling. The Argentine seemed calm enough even though the ball bounced just over his crossbar.

Egan then had an effort ruled out for offside when another set-piece caused havoc. Basham then headed a Norwood cross wide when it looked easier to score.

Arteta reacted with a double change, sending on Nketiah and Ceballos for Lacazette and Willock. It didn’t make too much difference. As was the case in the second half at Southampton, we really struggled to get going.

Xhaka did have a piledriver from 25-yards blocked by a defender and Tierney’s overlapping runs were a bright spark. On 80 minutes he nearly found Pepe. But not quite. It was very much that type of game for the men in yellow who seemed torn between going for a second and not committing men forward.

Inside the final three minutes, Sheffield United finally got their goal. Another throw into our six-yard box should have been dealt with easily by Kolasinac, instead, he volleyed into Holding and the ball bounced kindly for McGoldrick to volley home. (1-1)

Were it not for Martinez, things might have got even worse. The Argentine got down well at his near post to deny Sharp. At this point, if you were placing a bet on who’d win, you’d be piling your cash on the home side.

Amazingly, you’d have lost. A minute into stoppage time, Ceballos pounced on a loose ball in the Blades’ box to pass the ball past Henderson at his near post. A very unlikely winner and one that, thankfully, denied us an additional 30 minutes of awful football. (2-1)

So, we’re off to Wembley. Our hopes of a 14th FA Cup triumph and a place in the Europa League remain alive. It wasn’t pretty – it so rarely is these days – but that will further boost morale.

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TorontoGunners

Sell Kolasinac please

ontheup

That goal was on Holding, not him.

Mentally Drained Gooner

What??

Maul Person

Are you mad? Kola blasted it straight onto Holding from point blank range. How are you blaming RH16?!

Obama Young

To be fair, Holding totally mistimed his header on the throw-in, instead of heading it out of danger, the ball went to Kolasinac, who was probably caught off guard. Neither player did well on that play.
 
I think Holding has looked good overall in his last 3 appearances, but he had some bad luck for the goal against Brighton and should have done better on that attempted header today.

Storm

Also Tierney was played them onside

Dilcsi

Agreed, Holding astonishingly mistimed his jump on what would have been a garden variety clearance, and Kola was rightfully shocked and unprepared as the ball sailed through and hit him; thought Holding was solid otherwise, but that was a complete howler in no way down to Kola

TorontoGunner

Whoever the goal was on fam, he’s not someone that improves our team. End of story

Benjamin Udom

God bless you!

Artetas Assistant

For sure

karagooner

can we please a creative midfielder?
someone who could hold the ball and pass inteligently?
i saw not even one through ball… only crosses and sideway passing
 

Legrande

I think we will need two. Just Incase one gets injured.

broken

we need a midfield overhaul. more creativity and some much needed protection for our defense.

Alex

We’ve got…

God is a Gooner

… I just don’t think you understand

Dan

Smith Rowe?

Jb7

To make things worse, at one point Sheffield long throw-in United were passing and moving in our final third better than we have all season. Our possession nowadays is just one long pendulum from side to side, instead of the beautiful, intricate passing of old

Joelondon

Looks to me that most of our players are not physically enough to actually hold any ball in the middle of the park. Arsenal is one easy team to defend against these days.

charvakan

I think that’s unfair. Many times, Xhaka or Saka or Willock were strong enough to withstand tough challenges and come away with the ball. We’re easy to defend against when we’re not counterattacking, yes. But it seems to me that it’s the passing that’s the problem. So many were misplaced today. The timing seems off too. Arteta is working on it and I believe he’s going to improve our mids. Of course we could use one or two top class MFs, but the guys we have are not as bad as some think.

Jack

I need to see a doctor. My mental and physical health at serious risk due to this arsenal team. At least I can relax again until Wednesday at 6.

myrtle

Have to admit I cared more about that game than I have in some time. Just something about this Sheffield doesn’t sit well with me. Every time they got into our final 3rd they looked like scoring. But it was an absolutely massive win, helped in no small part by the ref, when was the last time we could say that? Not good for the blood pressure at all.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

That ref was fucking bad. 2 wrong decisions against Tierney and Nketiah just before their goal, could have cost us a semi final place.

myrtle

I agree, I didn’t say he was good, but his poor calls helped us out 2 or 3 times as well

Jean Louis

At least he saw the pen. Mike Dean wouldn’t.

Adams9802

My word that was a chore to watch.

Dan

Fuckin brilliant. Fought for everything, won ugly but with some flashes of the old arsenal slickness. Sent Stoke 2.0 packing. Really proud of the boys after that and into the semis we go. Get in

goongot

some flashes ? a flash where joe willock’s pass was almost misplaced but went to our player on the wing. Glad we won but this arsenal is so so so boring. Can we get cazorla if we are not getting anyone ?

Dan

I can think of 5 or 6 moves, almost all involving Tierney at some point, where we showed quick one/two-touch passing and decisive movement, with a decent chance or half/chance created at the end. Ok 5 or 6 in 90 mins isn’t brilliant but it’s a fuck load better than usual.

goongot

Yes. But nothing creative through the middle. I agree i am being quite negative but we do really need good midfielders. It’s such shame we wont have auba next season.

DPK

Agreed Dan. Tierney was superb. If we can keep him fit & get Saka to sign, they are a really exciting prospect.
Still huge problems in central defence & central midfield…but not like that is news. Focussing on the positives from today.

Dear Mikel : please do not play Tierney or Saka vs Norwich. Thanks.

karagooner

sorry but i saw nothing brilliant

Dan

I’m just happy. We have loads of big picture issues but today the boys got it right, attacked well in the first half and defended generally well throughout bar the mistake

charvakan

Well, we did get outshot despite having more of the ball, and that doesn’t count the two offside goals. But sure, we earned no yellows, did not foul or commit a handball for a PK, and survived the aerial bombardment. I thought our mids got passed too easily most of the game. I did like the way our forwards press. Martinez does not look nervous despite having David Luiz in front of him; he’s earned this shot. Would still rather see Leno between the sticks in the PL, but injuries happen.

The Kolkata Gooner

Our left flank looks pretty decent, with Tierney, Saka, and Martinelli when he comes back. That’s at least one less thing to worry about. COYG!

Arunava

Kola too if needed

Artetas Assistant

You’ll get 1-D running and blind crossing from Kola. Awkward on the ball etc. One of the things to worry about

charvakan

In US hockey, there’s usually a spot on the roster for a “goon” whose job is to crunch opposing players into the boards, engage in fisticuffs, and exact revenge for tough fouls. Can Kola skate?

Artetas Assistant

No. His physical is not very balanced, I don’t remember him giving any opposition a bruising ever, like just run through and crush a guy

David C

Good spirited game from Arsenal. Away win against a decent Sheffield team.

I think we might as well play our strongest 11 in the FA Cup now, we’re going nowhere in the league.

Arsenalista

A wins a win but that was an awful game to watch. Just need to keep the momentum going and continue to build confidence. We desperately need midfielders, well done Arsenal though!

Fatgooner

We were ok in the first half but fucking awful in the second. We are a bang average side right now and at about the same level as Sheffield United. Defensively we’re a joke and we seem to have lost any quality in midfield. We created nothing. Well done Ceballos for saving us from an extra time that we would have lost.

This squad needs major surgery.

Well done Ozil: £350k for doing nothing on a lazy Sunday.

Dan

God you are a misery. Acknowledge the good stuff we did and enjoy the win against a difficult and motivated opponent. By the way, we’re in the semi final of the FA cup. CHEER UP

Fatgooner

If we defend like we did today against a quality side like City, they’ll tear us a new arse.

Martin

You do know that he’s injured don’t you?

Fatgooner

Yeah: and so’s Guendouzi.

Martin

We know that Guendozi is being disciplined but Ozil has a back injury as announced by the club.

Joelondon

Injured due to holding an umbrella for too long as a sub a few days ago……

Evaristus

That was AWFUL to watch, not just in terms of the general play, but also in terms of Arsenal defending.

I still would support the team, but my enthusiasm seeing them on a pitch is being eroded, game-by-game.

Omash

All ref decision went out way, that’s a first. Long May it continue

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

What game were you watching?

Greg in Seattle

Except for that flying studs to the gut on Ceballos in extra time. Effing reckless and desperate, got the foul but should’ve been discipline.

Artetas Assistant

The transformation and rebranding going on at Arsenal is on so many levels. Don’t blame minds who can’t fathom what Mikel is creating

Jeremy

Better. Baby steps and all that.

Gar14

Exactly. There’s no quick fix. Signs of a bit more confidence today. It’s a process.

gloryhunter

Exactly! Have no idea why some are moaning like this is something new, we know we’re not a very good side. i enjoyed the game and felt we had chances to score before they equalised. The fact that we won it in normal time was a pleasant surprise! I was certain we would lose when they scored.

loose_cannon

Looked good in fits and spurts but lacked consistency in attacking, especially second half. Possibly Pepe’s best game since the restart and no coincidence it comes with AMN and Willock supporting him unlike what he tends to get from Bellerin and Guendouzi. Decent game for Willock as well I thought, looks more comfortable as a box to box where he can use his physicality better. If he can improve his forward passing he’ll become some player.

charvakan

You’re right. Willock, like a lot of players, feeds on confidence, and his late goal at St Mary’s probably helped him. I firmly believe Arteta will improve Joe’s timing and decision making, and he’ll be valuable to us for a long time.

Artetas Assistant

Needs to mature

Gunnerlocutor

Glad to see the win and well done Ceballos. But man we had a lot of loose passes. Hoping the lads can fix that quickly.

Wozfe

Cool penalty from Pepé. Good thing Aubameyang didn’t start as he would probably have taken the penalty and bottled it as he does 50% of the time. Both Lacazette and Pepé should be ahead of Aubameyang in the penalty hierarchy.

Matthinc

Definitely! I love Auba, but seeing him taking a run up for a pen is awful.

Artetas Assistant

I Remember Pepe’s videos @Lille, his shooting is all about precision into the far ends of the post

Lisa

If Arteta dares sell Guendouzi I am taking a plane to the Arsenal and tightening his screws!COYG

Spectator

Get rid of Guendouzi if he is a bad influence in the squad. Arteta knows best.

Der32

Wanting to win is a bad influence at Arsenal nowadays. Happened also with Sanchez.

Artetas Assistant

Crying over spilt milk is a childish influence, grab Maupey by the throat at 55 minutes not at stoppage thus giving the nasty cunt something to smirk about and throw his victorious hands like ??‍♂️ .

weebgooner

Kudos for Nketiah to play that brilliant pass to Pepe that leads to the goal.
And kudos for Ceballos for keeping his composure to beat the keeper.

Matthinc

And Saka picking out Nketiah when it looked like they’d got enough men back to snuff it out. Proper vision.

Artetas Assistant

Laca is so gone from Arsenal

Merlin’s Panini

Glad for the win and Ceballos just justified his loan to a point with that goal. But can we have a whole new central midfield please? No one seems capable of an incisive pass. We have some fine players up top but when the midfield cannot provide they can’t do a great deal. I still can’t fathom how we once had Ozil, Cazorla, Rosicky, Ramsey and Wilshere to choose from and now we have Ozil, who never plays, and no one else.

loose_cannon

Not to mention Ox and Iwobi who were both better centrally. We’ve gone from having almost too many creative midfielders to almost none in the space of 3 seasons or so.

Benjamin Udom

My thoughts exactly. A whole 90 and no one’s got the gut to play one incisive pass. Awful! Our strikers are so starved. Also should we still hold on to Lacazette? Man isn’t the man we knew again? As usual, I’ll take the points. Well done lads!

Arsenalista

There are no points, its a cup game but I get your point.

Benjamin Udom

Aye my good sir! Thanks but I’ll have my point back!?

Kanu Believe It

Strange one to see all three of our left backs play at the same time. Doesnt leave much in the way of rotation for next week.

charvakan

Four, including AMN!

Grymelock

That ref damn near lost us the game. Fucked if I know what Eddie did to warrant a foul just as he’s about to pull the trigger.
Some good stuff, lots of bad stuff. Same problems at set pieces. At times they look brilliant, most of the time they look like they’ve never played a game together. And what the fuck happened to our midfield? We knocked it long more than Sheffield!

Adiddledog

I was actually chuffed with Emi’s long balls, we can’t play out from the back worth a shite.

Timorous Me

Maybe Emi is actually the creative midfielder we’ve all been pining after! Pretty sure he set more attacks in motion than the midfield did today (or any game recently, really).

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Exactly! Also, Tierney’s good tackle just before that. I don’t understand why so many are saying the ref gave everything in our favour. He almost cost us the tie

Grymelock

Yeah, that was awful. Though I did enjoy Tierney throwing a full on Glasgow wobbler.

Runzac

I still support my team 100% but I cant watch them play. My heart condition and stress levels simply do not allow it

I S

Willock > Guendouzi

Scott P

I think he has the style to contribute more, but I thought Willock was actually poor in the first half. Made many wasteful errors. Still like the guy but hope he will be better with his technique and decision making as he matures.

Moviegooner

Xhaka has been key. Sinds Arteta’s come in we have not lost when he is playing the full 90 min.

Scott P

Weird how he has become maybe our most important player in that area of the park. I think it’s a combination of his improvement recently, but also emblematic of the dearth of quality in our midfield.

Kolasinac

Scrappy game, Martinez seems to have better ball distribution than Leno, very good with feet. Will be interesting to see how he does untill the end of the season. Tierney very good, Lacazette not so much, overall average performance probably with fatigue and playing so many games in quick succession all playing a part. We need to improve at some point hopefully with a back four!

Artetas Assistant

Damien ain’t letting Leno back in ? take my word for it

Tanned arse

i think they’re pretty much on a par. His stature calmness reflexes and decision making are all first rate. But he’s perceived as being a number 2. I never seen him have a bad game or a dodgy moment. Deserves to be a number 1 and at a top club. Yet de gea is world class apparently so there seems to be a strange perception about a good goalkeeper looks like

Artetas Assistant

Damien does stuff that helps a team progress/counter quickly. It’s modern day stuff, plus he’s also nasty and mature. If a player comes as close to him as Maupey came to Leno, I’ll count on him to elbow the fuckers shoulder while landing. Also saw the moment he was communicating with the linesman and then gave him the thumbs up hence creating Rapport with the linesman and the very next minute the linesman gave Sheffield an offside call immediately.

Adiddledog

Other sources are reporting that Ozil has a mild “ back injury.” Backbone injury more like it.

Kolasinac

Damn, he seems to have more back problems than elderly.

Canalboy

Perhaps he should try shifting his wallet from one back pocket to the next to prevent undue strain.

Arsenalista

He doesn’t have a backbone

Wilsheres Middle Finger

Those gaming chairs must be terrible for posture.

Sunday OMILANI

What an intense game.
Congratulations to the gunners.

Benjamin Udom

I think things are getting better, albeit really slowly. OTOH, why for God’s sake does Kolasinac look so intimidated and clumsy? Man brings no confidence to his game at all despite being big. Arrrrgh!

Benjamin Udom

Lovely quick feet there from Saka to start the attack leading to the winning goal. And for a moment there Ceballos’ movement and intelligence reminded me of a certain young and brilliant Cesc Fabregas. Oh, the good ol’ days!

allezkev

Interesting how different people view the game, because I thought we really did well, it’s never going to be a silky smooth affair against a big industrial team like Sheffield Utd so I knew we’d need to battle for everything and that’s what I thought we did by standing up to United’s bullying tactics and by also showing great character by coming back from a scruffy late equaliser to get the winner.
The referee was also quite fair as well and that made a massive change.

Jeremy

Agreed. I think the team have picked themselves up well. Fought for everything today and needed to (also against Southampton). I also thought we managed the game pretty well too. We have our limitations which won’t be fixed overnight, so all you can ask is that they fight hard and show some character and they did exactly that.

Wilsheres Middle Finger

Great to get a win over Sheffield. Second win in 8 in Brammal Lane apparently. That was never going to be easy, or pretty!

DaveGsnr

Mcmanaman going on about Mcburnie winning every long throw but pushing the defender in front out of the way FOUL!!!!

Iamtheantisp*r

All I want to point out is how long I had to scroll through the comments before finding one that actually made it sound as though we’d won. Which did happen. Sigh…
COYG!

Rambo Sambo

Anyone else think of our old player Eddie McGoldrick every time they read the name of the Sheff Utd player who scored?

BringBackSeaman

I’m not looking to start a theological debate – so don’t even try……: But Has anyone thought that Ozil is not getting games because he refuses to take the knee for BLM on religious grounds? since bowing or showing submission in Islam is reserved only for Allah…. and interesting thought that maybe Arteta is protecting him.

Gabe

Guess that settles it

BringBackSeaman

Superb – thanks for the clarity 🙂