Arsenal v Sheffield United: History Shows Bramall Lane is Not a Good Hunting Ground for The Gunners

Arsenal v Sheffield United – October 21st, 2019

See the source image

The club was formed by members of the Sheffield United Cricket Club, formed in 1854 and the first English sports club to use ‘United’ in its name. Sheffield United’s predominant nickname is “The Blades”, a reference to Sheffield’s status as the major producer of cutlery in the United Kingdom. United’s original nickname was in fact “The Cutlers” from 1889–1912. City rivals Wednesday held the nickname “The Blades” in their early years, however in 1907 Wednesday officially became “The Owls”, in reference to their new ground in Owlerton, and United would later claim “The Blades” nickname for themselves.

Sheffield United officially formed on 22 March 1889 at the Adelphi Hotel, Sheffield (now the site of the Crucible Theatre) by the President of the Cricket Club Sir Charles Clegg. The Wednesday had moved from Bramall Lane to their own ground at Olive Grove after a dispute over gate receipts and the tenants of Bramall Lane needed to create a new team to generate income. Sir Charles Clegg was incidentally also the president of The Wednesday.

Undoubtedly United’s heyday was the 30-year period from 1895–1925, when they were champions of England in 1897–98 and runners-up in 1896–97 and 1899–1900, and FA Cup winners in 1899, 1902, 1915 and 1925. United have not won a trophy since 1925, bar those associated with promotion from lower leagues, their best performances in the cup competitions being several semi-final appearances in the FA Cup and League Cup.

Their darkest days came between 1975 and 1981. After finishing sixth in the First Division at the end of the 1974–75 season, they were relegated to the Second Division the following season, and three years after that setback they fell into the Third Division. They reached an absolute low in 1981 when they were relegated to the Fourth Division, but were champions in their first season in the league’s basement division and two years afterwards they won promotion to the Second Division.

On 3 September 2013 it was confirmed that Saudi Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the royal House of Saud had bought a 50% stake in United’s parent company ‘Blades Leisure Ltd’ for the fee of £1 with the promise of providing “substantial new capital” with the aim of returning the Blades to the Premier League as “quickly as possible”.

Since their formation in 1889 United has bounced about the leagues – here is a look at their league history:-

1892–1893 Division 2
1893–1934 Division 1
1934–1939 Division 2
1946–1949 Division 1
1949–1953 Division 2
1953–1956 Division 1
1956–1961 Division 2
1961–1968 Division 1
1968–1971 Division 2
1971–1976 Division 1
1976–1979 Division 2
1979–1981 Division 3
1981–1982 Division 4
1982–1984 Division 3
1984–1988 Division 2
1988–1989 Division 3
1989–1990 Division 2
1990–1992 Division 1
1992–1994 Premier
1994–2004 Division 1
2004–2006 Championship
2006–2007 Premier
2007–2011 Championship
2011–2017 League One
2017–2019 Championship
2019– Premier

Over the years we have taken a beating at Bramall Lane and as yet we have not beaten them away in the Premier League.

Arsenal v Sheffield United – All EPL Away Games
Division I 8 12 24 60 97
Premier 0 2 1 2 3
Total: 8 14 25 62 100

A win will keep us in 3rd place – will it happen – what do you think?


57 thoughts on “Arsenal v Sheffield United: History Shows Bramall Lane is Not a Good Hunting Ground for The Gunners

  • Great stuff, GN5. It shows just how hard a ground it has been for us over the years, even though there is not much recent history to compare against. There is no doubt this will be a hard game for us and I expect Emery to set us op with vulnerability in midfield, and probably so on purpose as he likes us to score goals from rebound/counter (1/3 of all our goals are scored that way).

    So I expect him to play Guendouzi and Xhaka in the ‘DM pivot’ and probably Ceballos in front of them. Up front we are likely to see Pepe and Auba and maybe even Laca (or Saka). At the back it may be Tierney, Luiz, Sok and Chambers.

    I am glad it is finally Monday and we will see our boys play tonight, but also apprehensive… Hoping for a win but expecting it to be hard…

  • Now that Pool dropped their first points we have a chance to close the gap a bit. They will play Spuds, Palace and Man City next so there is a good opportunity to get closer to them before the next interdull…

  • I love the history posts. Always something interesting.

    I am expecting a dull game with little to excite. 7 goals conceded by SU tell it’s own story.

  • It’s a tad unbelievable to say this but I believe that Reiss Nelson is the only injured player in our 1st team squad.

  • This is and article in Sky Sports written by Nick Wright.

    It’s very long but for Arsenal fans it’s also very readable!

    Bukayo Saka: Arsenal’s model student has a bright future.

    Bukayo Saka, 18, has gone from acing exams and learning to play left-back to starring in Arsenal’s attack

    Jamie Carragher marvelled at his “composure and quality” on the ball. The notoriously hard-to-please Roy Keane talked up his “lovely” performance. Even Cesc Fabregas voiced his approval. “Saka is a player,” he wrote on Twitter. “Eighteen years old and showing great maturity.”

    Arsenal and Manchester United’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford last month was a drab affair, another reminder of how far the two clubs have fallen since the days of their epic rivalry. For Bukayo Saka, though, it provided a platform to further enhance a rapidly growing reputation.

    At 18 years and 25 days old, and making only his seventh senior appearance for Arsenal, Saka became the youngest player to start a Premier League game between the two sides. And at a ground where players far older than him have crumbled, there was little evidence of his inexperience.

    In fact, Saka’s starting spot now looks more secure than that of the £72m Nicolas Pepe. Unai Emery described Saka as an “important player” after the Manchester United game and started him again in the 1-0 win over Bournemouth. The academy graduate will be confident of keeping his place against Sheffield United on Monday Night Football.
    Saka provided the first glimpses of his raw talent last season – most notably with his man-of-the-match showing against Qarabag in the Europa League – but, much like one of his driving runs down Arsenal’s left flank, his progress has gained momentum in the new campaign.

    The winger scored his first senior goal in the 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt last month, finding the bottom corner with a curling finish from 25 yards out, and there have also been three assists, including the smart through-ball for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s equaliser at Old Trafford.
    His work is natural and he is improving. He is helping us now as an important player.

    Unai Emery on Bukayo Saka

    It’s that ability that has propelled Saka into the spotlight, moving him above fellow academy graduates Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock in Emery’s pecking order, but what’s just as encouraging for Arsenal supporters is that he is demonstrating the right character too. Saka is confident and mature on the pitch and humble off it.

    “Respectful, very hard-working and always willing to learn,” is how club captain Granit Xhaka described him recently. They are traits recognisable not just to those working in Arsenal’s academy, which he joined at the age of eight, but also the staff at Greenford High School in Ealing, west London, where he was a student from the age of 11 to 16.

    “He was a role model of a student,” assistant head teacher Mark Harvey, who also taught Saka PE, tells Sky Sports. “A lovely and respectful lad with a really nice attitude. He just carried himself in such a nice way.

    “Sometimes you can teach students who are exceptionally good at football, but when you get them on a pitch, they just hog the ball or they want to show off with it. Bukayo wasn’t that sort of guy at all. If anything, he played down how good he was, which was really nice to see.”

    Saka was training regularly with Arsenal by the time he started at Greenford, making the long journey from his family home in Ealing to the club’s north-east London academy several times per week, but it is a testament to his attitude – and aptitude – that he never allowed his studies to suffer – even when his football commitments required time out of school.

    “He did his GCSEs with us before he left and he did very, very well,” says Harvey. “All of his grades were high, particularly in English and Maths. He also did business studies, he did RE, he did combined sciences. He just did very well across the board, which is amazing considering the amount of time he had out of school with his football.

    “We tried to work with Arsenal as much as we possibly could. We knew how studious he was and the grades he was getting, so we were flexible about allocating him time out. His family were really supportive and always ensured he would do his homework, which for us was the key thing.”

    Saka threw himself into his football with the same dedication, rising through Arsenal’s youth ranks and breaking into Freddie Ljungberg’s U23s soon after his 17th birthday. At the same time, he was faring similarly well in England’s junior sides, impressing coaching staff with the manner in which he embraced an unfamiliar position.

    “He caught the eye in the same way he does now,” Neil Dewsnip, England’s former U18s coach, tells Sky Sports. “He was very quick, powerful and could hurt defences, whether that was as an out-and-out left winger or indeed as a left-back, which is where he played for us at the start of last year.
    Saka has represented England at U16, U17, U18 and U19 level
    Saka has represented England at U16, U17, U18 and U19 level

    “He handled that positional change very well. He’s very competent at one-v-one defending, so defensively he didn’t really get found out, and he was very good at learning. He was open-minded to everything myself and my assistant, Mike Marsh, told him. He wasn’t in any way obstructive to anything that any member of staff said.”

    Saka has shown the same willingness to take on Emery’s instructions this season, his adaptation helped by the presence of his mentor Ljungberg on the first-team coaching staff, and there has also been evidence of his defensive awareness. Saka is averaging more tackles per 90 minutes in the Premier League than any other Arsenal player.

    It seems he has even made an impression on Gareth Southgate, who name-dropped Saka when discussing England’s attacking options prior to the European Qualifier against Czech Republic 10 days ago. A future call-up to the senior side would come as little surprise to Dewsnip.
    When he had the floor in the dressing room, I found that he spoke really intelligently from a football point of view.

    “He knows what he’s about and he’s very motivated,” he says. “I found him to be quiet, but not in a weak way. He had opinions and when he had the floor in the dressing room, I found that he spoke really intelligently from a football point of view. He was more than capable of making observations about the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses.”

    Saka certainly succeeded in exploiting Manchester United’s weaknesses at Old Trafford, running at Ashley Young at every opportunity and pouncing on a loose pass from Axel Tuanzebe for Arsenal’s equaliser. The challenge now is to establish himself for the long-term.

    “At first, young players get that luxury of opponents not really knowing much about them,” says Dewsnip. “Bukayo is quick, he’s strong, he can create, he can score, he can cross. But everybody knows that now. He will have to find other ways of influencing the game as well.”
    Saka sprints past an Aston Villa defender at the Emirates Stadium
    Saka sprints past an Aston Villa defender at the Emirates Stadium

    It is fortunate, then, that Saka has a proven appetite for self-improvement – and that there seems little prospect of his increased profile going to his head. At Greenford High School, where the staff proudly refer to him as “our boy” and where his signed England U19s shirt hangs framed on the wall in a reception area, he remains a regular visitor.

    “Our old head teacher was a big Chelsea fan, but he had a really nice relationship with Bukayo and Bukayo actually came down to his leaving do last year with his father,” says Harvey. “He had some pictures taken and spoke to a couple of our students. He still has friends in sixth-form here and he often comes into school and says hello to us.”

    The fact that Saka has friends still studying for their A-levels is a reminder that this is only the beginning for him. He does not even turn 19 until the start of next season. But all the ingredients are there for a bright future. From Ealing to Old Trafford, Saka is already making a big impression.

  • Exciting times with so many quality youngsters in the squad.

    Just 3 hours to kick-off. YTime to make a chicken satay dinner and open a bottle of Dolcetto D’Alba. Always a lucky wine and one which usually brings a victory in away games up North.

    One day I should write a post on the best wines for different away games and opponents..

  • I think I will drink a sake after reading that Saka piece! Love the boy and you can tell he is one to watch. Early days though.

    Really good idea for a post, Erik. 🙂

  • 7pm
    what a brilliant team we’ll have … thursday
    only good news tonight is joe’s selection (and calum’s confirmation)
    mesut humiliated, once more; shame on you, ue
    don’t know what more to say, really, not expecting to be thrilled, just hope we bag three points, is all
    see you later, friends

  • ————-Leno
    Chamb. Sokr. Luiz. Kola
    ——–Guendz. Xhaka


  • Admir’s Razor:
    “It not as if playing tactically as Emery did versus Liverpool was so poor.
    The issue is that he plays every team as if they were Liverpool.”



  • FFS. Player completely free in the centre of the goal on the 6 yard line. Where the hell are our covering defenders.

    Crap defending and crap tactics from UE. Why are we playing on the counter-attack against a very average team?

  • Once again Mike Dean cheats AFC. That was a clear penalty on Saka and yet the lunatic accuses Saka of diving!! The books Freddie for rightfully arguing.

    Awful, awful refereeing

  • Very laboured and missing calm and ingenuity around the D…. Referee a disgrace but nothing new there. Agreed with Erik that was bad defending and we have it all to do now. Who will be the sacrafical lamb this time round…. Probably Willock..

  • We look like a bunch of talented players, with no idea what they’re doing. Also painful watching us play out from the back. Their crowd are loving that.

  • I concur with AB about the manager. How many times have we seen this scenario play out? Terrible start, concede, come out strong in second half.. I’m assuming we will…. Why are we so bad in the first 45?

  • Willock TA? Are you sure he’s even on the pitch?
    Perhaps that’s it– we’ve been playing with 10!

    Why does our chameleon ever not change colour? Even at the half.


  • Superbly-played Unai.
    A strategy planned to perfection. Executed as asked.

    We Are All Unai Emery!


  • Lately I have enjoyed watching Tottenham fail more than I have watching us try to win.

  • Unai has the team striving to achieve mediocrity Erik.
    We may yet get there. But not today. Alas.


  • It’s embarrassing to note that a journeyman team beat us 1-0 and they are only 3 points behind us in the league – I wonder what gibberish we will have to listen to from Emery… explain that away.
    I feel like going into hibernation.

  • Well done, Unai! Fantastic job!

    Thanks for ruining our wonderful brand of football. I can’t believe we got rid of Wenger for this clueless clown who doesn’t know attacking football if it is staring at him right in the face. Worst part of all of this, he is too defensive (and we can’t even defend well) and too stubborn to admit his mistakes, welcome every single great player at his disposal, set the team up for success. So, I ask you this: what the hell are we doing on the pitch exactly? What is our identity? I am completely lost and it is extremely hard for me to identify with this Arsenal brand of football.
    No Torreira, no Tierney, no Holding, no Ozil (all starters in my opinion), NO JOY. Only misery upon misery. Long may it continue… (sarcasm)
    F#ck this shit!!!

  • I caught myself expecting us to lose tonight around 10th minute.

    It’s simple: if Arsenal want to return anywhere near the top, the board need to sack Unai Emery tonight. We all know they won’t but that’s only because spineless, gutless, faceless should be our new club motto as it’s what we represent right now.

  • Eris, 90% in our own half. The lads were like they were not fretted about losing.
    If Wenger had no Plan B, Emery had no plan B too.

  • njk,

    Emery has no plan at all……………….I so frustrated we paid 72 mil for a player who dazzles himself in mid field and is clueless in front of goal……….

  • So sad your trip ended like that njk, I’m afraid our BOD are too spineless to admit to making a mistake with Emery – I think are stuck with him in the short term.

  • Unai will never be good. Better let Lungberg take over. Martinez Bellerin Holding Chambers Tierney Torreira Maitland-Niles Willock Saka Martinelli Laca cld have won the game hands down. Although Ozil was poor last couple of years he is much better the nonsense we are playing

  • Is Gendouzi and Xhaka better than Maitland-Niles and Torreira? I honestly don’t think so. Emery has destroyed Maitland-Niles not giving him a chance to play his right position. A coach who trust Luiz Xhaka and Sokratis is useless. There is no structure in the midfield. Gendouzi is all over the pitch. Xhaka is immobile, Torreira must asking himself what he did wrong.

  • The answer is simple Simba – Torreira ended up with Emery as his manager……… fault of his own….


    #LJUNBERGIN…! (till the end of the season)

    I have seen enough of Emery’s work to convince me that we AIN’T going nowhere with this “clueless clown” (my new nickname for Emery) in charge. In fact, purely footballing-wise, I think we have regressed as a team since about the last 10 games of last season. Even Brandon Rogers is doing a fantastic job with Leicester City, with way less talented players than us. We missed out on Juergen Klopp, then Pep Guardiola a few seasons ago when we extended Wenger’s contract for an additional two years. I say let’s cut our losses with the “clueless clown” now and start negotiating with a serious manager (i.e. Allegri or someone else of that caliber). Pep is probably getting bored at Man City and will soon need a brand new challenge. Arsenal can be that new challenge, especially with his previous relationship with Raul Sanlhehi. The BoD needs to grow a pair and sack Emery sooner rather than later. We’ve been playing like a mid to bottom table team all season long and that needs to change pronto. All is not lost yet, this season can still be salvaged but it will take guts to made the right decision.


  • Agree about Ozil.
    This game cried out for him (and Laca) from the opening whistle.
    Had both started? Do believe we could have won this one.

    What is wrong with this man? (Well, many things that have all been said.)
    Willfully creating disabilities. Weaknesses which undermine this team’s success.

    Don’t think I’ve ever witnessed something like this– in any sport. With a club that have as much talent as this one does. Literally wasting talent– and the commitment of several, to stay at Arsenal.

    Over a manager who will not be here next Fall.
    Over to you Raul, Josh. It’s time.


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