Second half goals from Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe helped Arsenal to a 2-1 win over Sheffield United at the Emirates today.

David McGoldrick’s late strike made the final stages a bit nervous, but after a soporific first period, Mikel Arteta’s men were improved in the second 45.

There’s room for improvement, but we scored two excellent goals against a team that are very difficult to break down, and it’s now three wins out of four at the start of the season.

Read the Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield United match report and see the goals here.

Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield United – Player Ratings

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Gunnerlocutor

Pepe looking lively and dangerous. More please!

Greg in Seattle

Feed that man the ball in the attacking third. He’s going to take guys on and draw second and third defenders and open pockets. He’s got a cockiness in attack that we could use more of. I know he’s probably on the bench because he doesn’t do the graft as much as one might like, but for me that’s missing the point of a player like Pepe.

goonshow

He looked a different player yesterday – even my repeated gripe about his defensive work was put to rest. Worked hard, ran his bollocks off, and that glorious, gliding goal…

Var Will Solve The Problem

Arteta should get 8/10 as well. When Pepe came on the touchline, im pretty sure most of us thought it was for Willian. Even the oppostion coach Chris was bewildered by the sub.

JBF

I was so happy to see that substitution. I love Eddie, but he’s a poacher and can’t lead the line at this point, maybe in a year or two. Without a midfield asking questions in attack the poor lad is working off the smallest of scraps. But with Auba up there and Saka and Pepe roaming the flanks I think it wasn’t just Wilder who was bewildered, the Blades defense came unstut

Ric

Bewildered… nice

Elbon

I’d just suggested to someone before he made the sub that Pepe for Eddie was the change to make. Eddie was anonymous and Pepe could provide direct running.

gooner

And Manchester United being thumped 4 at halftime, the positives keep coming as the day goes on. I will ignore the negative in that match for now

Dex

Well, the downside of it being, it is Sp*s who’s winning it, was hoping for both the teams to be losing points. But well, always happy to see United go down the drains.

Up4GrabsNow!

Amen brother, preach on

Ollie

Even better news, Man Utd are set to make a £40M for Shkodran Mustafi!

Gurjot

Mugsmashers also down by 4!!

Naked Cygan

Very flat and predictable till the Pepe substitution. We need to mix it up a bit more going forward and try some central passing combinations. great goal by saka & pepe and an amazing game for Bellerin. Good 3 points against a dodgy team.

Jack

I think we start the games with the same formation and tactics so the opposition know exactly what to expect. Then we score two goals as soon as we change it up

ElGunnerLoco

Well, I mean, no team does it all… every team has its own playing style, but I do think you’re onto something here, and that mixing things up after Pepe entered and overloading our right hand side, i.e. their left flank, caught them off guard and unlocked the game for us.

ElGunnerLoco

Instead of overloading the same left hand side of the field that we tend to that is…

goonshow

Once again – we see what this team can do with some incisive diagonals to that pace we have to burn on our flanks. I just don’t know why Mik isn’t drilling this into them… we now have Luiz, Mo’Nenny, Xhaka and – it would seem – Gabriel who can smack a righteous long ball. Even if 1 out of 5 such balls finds our flyers – they create real danger. And there’s little downside in sending it deep onto the opposition’s flanks – certainly less than banging constantly backwards to our def under pressure! Also – Auba central with… Read more »

David Hilliers Arm Cast

Hats off to Bellerin, thought he had his best game of the season and I have been pretty critical of him. Also good to see Pepe showing what he can do.

So many positives, their goal was a cracker, though he should maybe have been closed down.

goonshow

As much as Pepe can frustrate… ‘closing him down’ aint easy with his feet!

TUMANG BOKABA

Dark horse for the title. You heard it here first.

Jeremy

I read this exact comment about Everton yesterday, and Leicester a few weeks before. It’s funny how people can make such definitive statements after 3 games. I love the optimism but I think it will probably take a season or 2 longer before we start thinking about that. Especially with our current midfield.

Vaibhav Pandey

Totally, you will see such comments going down the drain after next 3 matches. If we can collect 3 or more points, I would be able to murmur “dark horse” nonsense otherwise just forget it for now.

John

…and last. We are way off being dark horses for the title.

indiegooner

By year end we would have played Liverpool, Man city, Man utd, Spuds, Leeds and Everton – all away. If we can stay in or around top four by turn of the year, we would have a solid chance to make top 3.

goonshow

Now that is a more reasoned comment, sir!

Oregoon

Let’s win London first.

Matthinc

I think the whole idea of being a Dark Horse is that it is against the odds/not predicted or forecast. So all of you jumping on Tumang are really missing the point…

Diaby's Left Peg

Villa?

goonshow

Mate – it was a good, solid performance. However you clearly didn’t watch us vs Scousers on Monday? Long way to go… we’re moving in the right direction – and faster than we have any right to – after the shit-show that was SanlUnai… but still ways to travel, I feel.

Assshavin

Am i the only one who thought McCormick should have also gotten a red for the elbow on Elneny? Looks back, sees Elneny, and smacks him on the chin.

Naked Cygan

The challenge on Auba was more of red card for me. Was disgusting tackle Berge.

A Different George

I thought it was a hard forearm in the neck–or was that the other time? Elneny fouled hard twice. And Saka was fouled relentlessly at first, every time he touched the ball. I thought he referee seemed to speak to a couple of their players about it and it eased up.

Fengunner

It was McGoldrick, but yes it was a red card all day, but not according to Mr Mason.

COYG1001

Don’t recall him even calling a foul … blind!!!

Dave cee

Maybe the Cedric signing could be just what Hector needed. Seems to be upping his forward play recently.
Good result, makes for a nice weekend. Still hoping for some nice transfer news in the remaining hours.
COYG

Comedian

I was wondering what is Willian gonna provide us and then change of formation happened which gave us the goal. Pepe like blogs mentioned is really a confidence player…if we had a midfield we would see more such moments from him. Klopp, Pep when they arrived had a bad first season, Klopp focus was more on the pressing and passing game which would lead to so many goals in his earlier games. Arteta might be doing opposite but then again he is getting things in place. Its more of collection of points than playing tiki taka at the moment, maybe… Read more »

Greg in Seattle

I hate to suggest it but before the COVID break with Özil playing we were starting to see more out of Pepe. In Arteta I most definitely trust, and he’s not playing for legit reasons, but there’s certainly a part of me that would love to see an Özil redemption story that also unlocks Pepe fully. (I mean, since I’m pre-conditioned to expect nothing more from this transfer window.)

John tall

Would love the same too,, ozil’s redemption would see us scaling high

Hail Gus!

David Luiz ??‍♂️ Just imagine if it’d been Mike Dean today

Crash Fistfight

I know at this point I’m just looking for things he does wrong, but he constantly annoys the shit out of me. He never seems to be aware of danger around him – the number of times Gabriel had to cover from left CB because he’d dosed off to let someone run into the left half-space added to my list. He takes an age to pass the ball as well, and rolls it with no pace on it a lot of the time for good measure (he’s got a friend in Leno, there). I feel like the issues we have… Read more »

Matthinc

Yeah for me he’s a huge liability. Completely agree about how infuriating it is that he dawdles on the ball. He fancies himself too much! Then gets caught and does something mental.

It’s strange how much 2 good games in the FA cup seem to have won everyone over.

goonshow

Mason did a fair job of channeling his inner Mike. Allowed them to Stoke us off the park for the first 50

Heavy Gunner

I had to pinch myself- thought I was having a flashback and it was Stoke City we were playing..

ElGunnerLoco

Blades really did conduct themselves like wild thugs today… hope they go down, such an annoying, dislikable team.

Toni

I’m with you on this. I mentioned to someone that Sheffield might just be the new Stoke.

A make A great A

Amaizing what one touch play can do for you close to goal..more please…oh no, oh great Interlull AGAIN!!

Precious

Great performance from arsenal
Pepe rise up

fengunner

Another tepid first half but we came to life for a 15 minute period around the goals.

Sheffield United look like they wanna be the new Stoke, but you can only get away with thuggery if the inept/incompetent/uncaring referee’s allow them to do that sort of violent shit.

Sky: They need to get rid of dinasours like Souness. He saw a shirt tug, but nothing about the fould on Auba, the chop across Elneny’s throat, or the leaving the foot in on Saka several times.

Still. three more points and 4th place in the bag tonight.

Ahmad Farid Ary Wardhana

And sounes still saying Leno n Luiz deserved red card

SkyggeSpray

Souness can take a long walk on a short pier

Oregoon

He would bitch about the pier.

Up4GrabsNow!

Agree. When he played he was all elbows, knees and studs up tackles from behind. He has some nerve griping about a measly shirt pull.

goonshow

And him such a squeaky clean player in his day – what an unredeemably miserable cunt.

Onenil

Not as upset as some by a safe but dull first half. We really kicked on when Pepe came on and we got Auba in the middle
Off topic …ManU’s defence?. We could sell them Mustafa for £50 Mill.

Pearson

I’m sure they need Kolasinac at Manure

Dave

I’m worried by the lack of creativity in the side, but I’m so glad that Arteta pushed Aubameyang central , brought on Pepe and the changes seemed to help. Still, it feels like without adding midfield quality we are struggling.

Frank Emerson

For someone who is finished since his injury/washed up/just not good enough, Bellerin has started the season damn well.

Fuzz

it’s MEGS not NUTS surely????

M Kanu

Nketiah absolutely awful. Little to no redeeming qualities. Arteta’s faith in backfires almost every game. We’re unable to build attacks because he cannot hold the ball whatsoever, bad touches, can’t dribble, misses easy chances – he won’t even end up playing for a premier league club imo

Vino

He’s a super sub at best right now . Better start giving chance to folarin balogun and put pressure on eddie to perform

goonshow

He seems to need another top loan spell? Although some of his finishing has been razor-sharp so may just be a consistency issue.
Agree on his physicality/hold-up play – loses it in possession way too easily

Matthinc

He must be doing something in training we’re not seeing click on the pitch. Or perhaps just has so much desire and Arteta loves that? Other than his poaching instincts/better pace, it’s really hard to understand how on earth he starts in front of Lacazette. I’m confused about exactly what else he offers? Anyone any thoughts?

I just put it down to Arteta giving Lacazette a rest for the upcoming match against City. I know he’s not the most talented striker but is 2 goals from only 2 starts this season that bad?

goonshow

Will be interesting when Martinelli gets back – although he will take a while to bed down again.

HARRY

I AGREE I have been saying this for a while now. I’m very concerned with his 2nd gear handbrake on approach to football. He jogs to press never sprints, it’s like that’s how they press in u23 football when you watch the youht teams play that’s the kind of intensity level you see. There’s no aggression to him AT All. He doesn’t press with intensity he jumps out of 50/50s without committing fully thats how you get hurt when you don’t commit fully. And because of it he gets bullied about by EVERYONE including smaller players. He doesn’t use his… Read more »

Gunnerer

Really liked what I saw. Some points:
– we didn’t underestimate SHU. defended deep
– particular credit for defending set pieces. SHU are known to score a lot off these and I really liked what I saw
– the Pepe substitution and immediate formation change was tactical genius. They didn’t know what hit them and by the time they could cope, we had 2 in the net
– most importantly, despite a not so attractive 1st half, it was great to see how well composed the team was , the pressing was impressive

Billy

Is it me or does everything Willian does just seem to be just a wee bit too slow, or a wee bit to short, or a wee bit behind etc. I hope he will catch up, he’s making the right decisions and moves just seems a shade behind to me.

Vino

I hope he’s no mikhi

David Hilliers Arm Cast

I think we were a bit mislead his first game with how well he played. Gotta remember he is still fitting into a new squad with new tactics and less twats. I think he will prove his worth in time.

goonshow

Defintiely less twats – luvvit!

Gurjot

Men of the match :
Creativity : Ceballos + Saka
Donkey’s job : Gabriel + Elneny

goonshow

You heard it here lads – Mo’Nenny could be our long-lost Gilberto if he keeps on this upward trajectory.
Solid, ballsy, quick for a def mid, good long ball… and better hair than Guend

Jambon

Finally, abandoning the lacazette, eddie strategy and letting wingers wing and auba be the best striker in the world he was born to be, withib 5 minute of that switch we were vintage arsenal again

Jambon

*within

goonshow

Short and sweetly said, Sir

Geckobyte

Gonna be a tad controversial here, but hear me out. How much more would partey give us compared to elneny. Both sit deep and break up play, while making things click. Yes, Partey is a better player but 45 million better, I don’t know. Save the money and give Lyon what they want for Aouor

NMArsenal

I am in the same boat. If Arsenal needs to make a choice Auoar has to be the obvious candidate.

Can we please just let that transfer rest. Aouar already said if he were to leave Lyon, it would be for a bigger club like PSG, Barca or Real. At 22, he hasn’t done anything to warrant interest from them but thinks he’s at that level.

Why would you want a player like that at Arsenal?

goonshow

Especially when we already have that in Guendouzi (the ego, I mean).
Mo’Nenny is quietly and steadily getting better and better in this team – and I’m liking the understanding that’s building with Ceballos. Watch this space…

edzo

About the luiz foul, nobody mentioned the foul on saka when he was in the box, and about to cross. Pushed in the back.

Pepe was up for it today. I wish, when 2 up, we played it in more. 3 points is 3 points, but that first half. Yuck. We actually dried off the ball for a stoke throw-in. Seriously.

Lee

Really felt like there were many clear chances of passing the ball to Pepe but Bellerin, Ceballos, Saka, etc. failed to pull the trigger and as the second half progressed, thought he became more and more frustrated. We need to make quicker decisions and start taking more calculated risks. Also, and maybe I am overanalyzing, I feel that the goal we conceded was cause more by Luiz than Tierney. Luiz drifted into the left and left the right hand side exposed. In previous Arsecasts I believe we were hoping Luiz would ease Gabrielle into the league, but yesterday felt that… Read more »

Big Dave

Am I alone in thinking that the nearest thing to a red card in that game was in the 49th minute when McGoldrick took a good look to see where Elneny was, then elbowed him in the throat? They didn’t even show it in the highlights and it’s not been mentioned anywhere in the media.