Everything about Arsenal’s opponent Sheffield United: Preview

Arsenal v Sheffield United – January 18, 2020

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The second established football club in Sheffield, Sheffield United FC, was the first English football club with “United” in its name. The reason for the name was that many parts joined to form a club. The Sheffield United club was founded in 1889, 32 years after Sheffield Wednesday. The 1890s was the best decade for the club. The won the Division One once (1897-98) and was twice the runners-up. Ten years after its establishment, Sheffield won their first FA Cup. Since when the club has won the Cup three more times (1902, 1915 and 1925).

They became a member of the Football League in 1892. They were elected to the second of the two tiers, but after placing second they was elected into the top-tier for the next season. They would stay in the first division for many decades, until relegation in 1934.

Sheffield United was one of the teams participated in the first edition of the Premier League in the 1992-93 season. They managed only two remain two seasons before being relegated.

Here are a few (mostly) unknown facts about Sheffield United

They almost signed Diego Maradona!!!

Yes, you are reading that right; the Blades almost signed the one and only Diego Maradona back in the 1970’s.

United were close to agreeing a deal for the then 17-year-old Maradona, but the board failed to stump up the necessary fee for the maverick Argentinian.

Instead of signing one of the players who would go on to become one of the greatest the world has ever seen, the Blades instead opted for Alex Sabella.

Sabella himself was top class in bits, but he isn’t quite Maradona!!!

The Blades scored the first ever Premier League goal

Most Sheffield United fans will know this, but not all other supporters will.

Brian Deane scored the first ever Premier League goal when he headed home against Manchester United at Bramall Lane on 15th August 1992.

Deane would go onto convert a penalty in the same game, giving the Blades a famous 2-1 win over Alex Ferguson and his team.

Deane is a legend at Bramall Lane, and this goal only cements his status further. 

Bramall Lane hosted the first ever game under floodlights

Yes, it is true, Bramall Lane played host to the first ever game under floodlights way back in 1878, which is before Sheffield United were even formed!

The game was played between two teams selected from the Sheffield area, and the game would end 2-0.

Mixed reports of crowds between 12 and 20,000 have been reported, but it was a revolutionary moment in the game, and something we simply take for granted nowadays.

They have the oldest ground still to be hosting professional football matches

Bramall Lane is currently the oldest football ground in the world still to be hosting professional football matches.

Bramall Lane was opened in 1855, a whole 39 years before the Blades were even formed.

The ground was initially used to host cricket, before it was adapted later in the century to become the home of Sheffield United upon their formation in 1889.

It has hosted both international football and cricket matches, making it one of only two grounds in England to have hosted such events.


Saturday’s game will be only the 4th time we have met in the Premier League. We are unbeaten against Sheffield United at home and we have outscored then 7 goals to 1 in the previous 3 games.

Arsenal v Sheffield United – EPL Home Games
    W D L GF GA
1 09/Jan/93   1   1 1
2 29/Dec/93 1     3 0
3 23/Sep/06 1     3 0
4 18/Jan/20          
Total: 2 1 0 7 1

Our overall home record against them is excellent and we have only lost 9 out of the 47 games played and we have outscored them 113 goals to 50.

Arsenal v Sheffield United – All EPL Home Games
Division I 28 7 9 106 49
Premier 2 1 0 7 1
Total: 30 8 9 113 50

Our complete home and away record is a lot closer, with both teams being dominant at home.

Arsenal v Sheffield United – ALL Games
Division I 36 19 33 166 146
Premier 2 3 2 9 5
Total: 38 22 35 175 151

Currently Sheffield United is 6th in the Premier league and is 4 points ahead of Arsenal with a record of – W8, D8, L6, GF24, GA21, Pts32.

Their away record is very solid – W2, D6, L2, GF, GA11.

Bournemouth D 1 1
Chelsea D 2 2
Everton W 2 0
Watford D 0 0
West Ham D 1 1
Spurs D 1 1
Wolves D 1 1
Norwich W 2 1
Brighton W 1 0
Man City L 0 2
Liverpool L 0 2

Unbeaten in their first 9 away games – it’s obvious that they will be a tough nut to crack as they play a tight defensive game and look to go back home with a least a point.



96 thoughts on “Everything about Arsenal’s opponent Sheffield United: Preview

  • Great fact finding GN5 and thanks for the stats too. SU have been impressive this season and it will be a tough game for us, but I think that will be in our favour. Nothing worse than underestimating an opponent and then getting beat. COYGs.

  • N5 ….. Diego himself. That was a monumental miss. Juicey write up.

    TA .. who replaces Auba? I’d say the team.

    I like your line up in the previous post. I doubt though that Kola is fit enough so am expecting Saka at left back. I actually prefer him to Kola who lacks consistency. Arteta pushes his leftback up almost as a winger with Xhaka protecting his rear and that would suit Saka’s game. I also think Arteta would introduce one extra ball playing midfielder to join Ozil. It could be Ceballoss.

    Sheffield United have a formidable mid block. Teams find it difficult to transition against them. The more reason why a player like Ceballos is needed for more passing options.

    My guess is:

    AMN. Sokratis. Luiz. Saka.

    Attacking would have us looking more like this:

  • There is no doubt that Arteta has the team playing with more energy when we are without the ball. But confidence seems to have remained fragile, most visible when we go 1 goal ahead. The team gets quickly caught between defending their slim lead and maintain their dominance. At this stage of confidence rebuilding, I think Arteta should drum goals and goals galore into the ears of the players. Mark you, as a cure.

  • If Ceballos is considered not match fit I predict MA’s next choice would be Nelson. I think his thrust is a combo that would get Ozil at his best. Ozil at his best helps our possession game which by the way is a tactic that is both offensive and defensive at the same time.. Because of Arteta’s keenness for possession game I don’t see him starting the trio of Laca, Pepe and Martineli. So I expect Martinelli on the bench.

    Sheffield United and Leicester are the two teams that have broken into the top six. Today we need to tell Sheffield that they are mere prenteders to the throne. COYRRG!!!

  • PE, as much as i would like Martinelli to be starting and bringing as much energy to the team, he can bring more than the size of one man on the pitch.

    We need to play our possession game against Sheff Utd. They are not easy to beat and we need the players to play with compactness and flair to beat them.

  • Appreciate another fine round-up GN5.

    Sheffield are consistent and efficient. Mostly bland– but have decided on how to plant a flag mid-table and set to work pouring the foundation to stay in the PL.

    8 clean sheets. Just once giving up 3 goals (ManU in Nov). Have to match Sheffield’s efficiency– or don’t– at your peril. Which was how the match went (SU 1-0 ARS) at Bramhall Lane in October.

    Arsenal outshot United 9/3 to 8/2 with 69% possession. A very frustrating match– as United’s back-3 (3-5-2) were at their best. One of those ‘WTF! Unai’ matches– where Pepe was our best player (8 corners, 3 shots)– when Emery inexplicably subbed him off– for Martinelli at 78 minutes.

    Play from wide with Pepe and one of Martinell, Saka or even Nelson trying to locate Laca seems likeliest. But highlighting creation of corners and FK opportunities– could be the route to 3pts.

    Go Gunners!

    (PS– Nice to see you here Kev!)

  • TA … on the face of it Ceballos doesn’t fit into the current Arteta plan being neither 8 nor 10. But one thing is also clear, that his MA’s present set up is not creating enough chances and he must be racking his brain seeking to improve things. That’s how Ceballos can come in.

    Tim Stillman Column in Arseblog handled this issue so well in this link:https://arseblog.com/2020/01/knowing-your-onions/

    It’s worth a read.

  • Many are worried about Laca’s current lack of goals. Clearly it’s a consequence of his current role in which he is too invested in harassing the opposition defence, a role that helps Auba steal in and score. Strikers have to be a little bit more detached (Kane, Vardy, Aguero, all of them) so that now that Auba won’t be playing Laca should he less involved tangling with the defenders. Instead he should be drifting into positions doing his best to go off the defenders rader.

    He need not sacifice for Pepe, as Pepe is the type that creates his own chances.

  • Hi guys…and welcome back TA… Good stuff as always on this post, GN5…

    I’m itching to watch a match AND I’m up early and have a reasonable coffee set-up where I’m at, not to mention some fast internet…but, I need a stream. The game *should* be available for me because of the big $$ we pay for DirectTV (part of the ATT oligarchy…) but I’m having trouble accessing my account. It’s quite early in the morning where I am and I don’t want to wake up my wife at this hour to try and coach me through the process–especially as she’ll be driving 3+ hours later in the day to meet up with me(!)

    So, any advice?… I know this site often goes dead on game days (why, I don’t quite understand…) but I’m hoping somebody who isn’t quite such a TechTard can help me out. JW, Calling JW…

    Thanks in advance…

  • OK, I’ve given up my infomation (or at least a credit card #)…and I’ve got a free week of FuboTV. For those who weren’t able to help me ^^ but still WANT to help out an old fella… Please remind me to cancel the subscription before the money flies away…

    Now, should I watch in English or in Spanish… For Totts at Wats, I think I’ll do the Spanish…

    Back when we’ve got some line-ups…

  • Nobody around?… Or maybe J-Dub had an infarction upon seeing that one name that puts him over the edge… 😮

    Nonetheless, (into the void…) I’ll send the line-ups…

    Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Luiz, Saka, Torreira, Xhaka, Pepe, Ozil, Martinelli, Lacazette. Subs: Martinez, Bellerin, Ceballos, Holding, Willock, Guendouzi, Nketiah.

    Sheffield United: Henderson, Baldock, O’Connell, Basham, Egan, Stevens, Fleck, Lundstram, Norwood, Mousset, McBurnie.

    Subs: Verrips, Sharp, Robinson, Jagielka, Freeman, Osborn, Besic.

  • I got another coffee in me, but I was thinking the Wats-Totts match needed a goal… A hand (from Vertongen)–and better ones from Gazzaniga, means nil-nil at least was on the brink of changing…

    My echo will be back with HIS thoughts in a moment…

  • Oh My Gatos…says my echo… Totts almost steal the points, but goal line technology says they needed the extra millimeter… At least Troy Deeney (the modern Fatty Foulkes?…) telegraphed his penalty kick and left it at a nice height for the Spurs keeper… Eriksen looked bright pulling the strings in his (last and) brief appearance as a sub…but others not quite on his wavelength…

  • I agree (I say to my echo)…

    What will you be looking for in the first match you get to watch coached by Mikel Arteta?…

  • Well, that’s a great question, thanks for posing it…

    What I always loved in Wenger’s Arsenal–and what I saw of Pep’s Barca boys–was the willingness to create overloads that usually included a full-back and two MFs working a tight 3 v 2 in order to move the ball through the opponent’s lines. Sooooo different than the spacing (positioning) is everything (emery-thang?…and running down the clock with pointless passing around the back before playing it long and wide…) because we’re already anticipating giving the ball to the opponent…

    Without the ball, a bit of coordinated pressing (meaning a willingness to NOT play in (retreating) straight lines of defenders) would be the 2nd bit. And, of course, teamwork and the right balance of selfishness and selflessness (I like fish, but less and less over time, it seems…or something…) in order to put the ball in the net.

    And just as Chuy (Jesus…) was resurrected, a solid match from Mustafi would be a very nice thing to witness…

    How’s that…for a start, at least?…

  • Well, that all *sounds* nice, (my echo says…) but what about Sheffield United? Aren’t they gonna just sit back, let Lacazette turn his back to goal (where he does no damage…) and then beat on the skinny guys (Martinelli, Pepe and Ozil) and then play for punts forward and then nick one from a corner or free kick or some other high ball that confounds Sideshow and the Skrot (Leno on his line, of course)… I can almost see the three of them with arms waving and the circle of expressions (showing blame and disgust)… Just gotta hope they’ve got camera angles on the faces of all three guys… But, you’ve also gotta have one on Xhaka as he might do another Captain Meltdown (at any time) in front of the football’s ficklest fans… Give up a goal and things could get ugly…

  • (Not going to say it. Hate having to think it. So there. I’m done with it.)

    Just tuned in both here and the TV HT– trying to get fed, situated, medicated, hydrated.
    After spending the last hour on the phone with my closest friend go on– about his 19yr-old freshman son announce he has quit college and is on the verge of signing his life into Navy Seal training. This boy isn’t remotely capable.

    !Ay Yi Yi¡

  • Well sure, but we gotta stay positive, right? That’s the whole thing Arteta is preaching. These are opportunities–for the players, the fans, the team–EVERYBODY (even the fricken blog-o-sphere…) right? Sure, we may be looking up the table at Sheffield United, but we are the ARSENAL and we need to get the home support behind us by showing that, on our pricey (perfect) pitch, we play OURsenal football and create OUR own destiny…

    Go on then!!!

  • Hey guys, looking forward to a positive result today. Could have been made sweeter had that bully, Troy Deeney, got his shooting boots on to put away a penalty chance against Spurs.

    Thanks GN5 for the preview. Who would have thought Sheffield United were the first side to be called UNITED.

    Let’s go, boys.

  • Laca is captain, it would seem so Arteta has not followed the order instituted by Emery, where it was Xhaka, Auba, Ozil, ….. before Laca.

    Mustafi must do well to keep Mousset quiet. He loves to show himself against us.

  • Oh, hey J-Dub… That sounds rough…(for your friend…and his kid, but maybe some training time will make college seem awfully nice…)

    My FuboTV seems to freeze for bits… Not quite sure why…

  • Wow. Nobody move. I have to call a priest. We need to be debriefed.
    We’ve witnessed a miracle– an early YC in our favor from Mike Dean.

  • We are already under early pressure after a good start ….and it all began with the ref failing to give Mustafi a foul when he was clearly obstructed in our box. Good thing Luiz and Torreira were at hand to block the ensuing attempt at a cross.

    I guess we have to admit it that our team doesn’t have the fear factor anymore. They are getting a few free headers in our area. Strange.

  • I’m watching on my laptop… J-Dub…

    SHU get the first two corners…and first couple of open headers…at least the 2nd one was offside…

  • Sheffield’s midfield five are pretty keen on killing counters– and countering themselves.

  • Dang– that was pretty Pepe on the break passing to Marti– who shoots it across goal and out for GK

  • Wowsa pass from Laca to Pepe…and not a bad cross either… The Brazilian kid goes wide of the far post, however…

  • Like the idea of Xhaka positioned as a CB when we start static playing it from the back.

  • Don’t speak too soon about that YC, jw1. It’s his usual distraction before he starts to ignore physicality and handballs by our opponents and you can’t then refer to his hate for us.

  • Ginger groin down…or something…

    This oughtta be a goalfest… Pepe to Marti again, but again shooting first touch isn’t near the target…

  • Thats twice now, that Pepe has put it on a plate for Martinelli but the boy has not been lucky yet.

  • I’d shift Pepe to the left to force him to go down the by-line and pull out. Pretty much like his Watford counterpart did today from the right.

    First corner to the good guys.

  • Open and entertaining– finally Arsenal gaining some control through winning the ball back quickly

  • Ozil with a bit of trickery, sublimely puts it in a dangerous area but Martinelli wasn’t on same wavelength. We go again.

  • Torreira hits one on the half volley, but it went straight to the keeper’s middle. Torreira goes down in a heap for a ball in the face and an elbow, but it takes more than that to put down the little Terrier.

  • Yeah, I’m good with the stream, J-Dub… LT facial had a broken nosey look to it, I hate to say…

  • He seems to have avoided it (the broken nose)… Not sure about the 35 yarder so maybe that’s a reminder that closer kicks work better… And not so bad from Musti to keep the little guy from giving up a corner…

  • Martinelli after a long, patient buildup on a deflected cross from Saka!

    1-0 to the Good Guys!

  • We have to stay composed as we did before that goal. It was a spell of composed possession marshalled by Mesut Ozil that yielded the goal. We must start to feel superior to these smaller sides again, hard as it sounds with the the EPL one of the most even leagues (save Liverpool’s strong lead) in the world.

    Half time whistle goes, as I type.

  • Bit of throttling on the accelerator in the last third (as I’d hoped)– brings a situation where one of our young opportunists find himself in the right place.

  • Half time…and that first goal feels VERY important (that we got it)… The boys put out a LOT in the first half…so much more energy given on the pitch (and in the stadium) since about Oct or Nov of 2018 (when we came back a couple of times to keep Emery’s unbeaten run alive)… Now, of course, we have to put the game to bed with another goal or two… SHU look perfectly capable of punishing any mistake or let up, however…

  • Good performance by the boys. United are a good team. What we shouldn’t do is play to protect our lead. A 2nd goal settles nerves after which any game plan is easier to follow

  • fortune smiling on us at last
    SU were the better team, their high press was better coordinated; as soon as they lost the ball they regrouped to form a perfect line of five in the middle of which laca looked like a lost soul
    hats off to him for his great through pass to bukayo on the goal; he had another great one for pépé on the right wing after 13mns, Gabe could have done netter on that one
    the goal was lovely, reminiscent of the one we scored against palace; mesut-laca involved again
    we have a huge problem of confidence, after unai’s spell, imo; let’s hope the goal will unshackle the lads

  • After some early balls over the top for Sheffield– resulting in some frenetic defending (and some hairs standing on end)– Arsenal settled down for a spell. Martinelli with a pair of shots off-frame, Torriera with a long one-hopper at the GK. United had their own short time where they kept Arsenal from exerting pressure– coupled with a few injury minutes (for LT’s bloody nose). Arsenal went Emery for several minutes around the 40-min mark– passing the ball around the back. Before Ozil started finding Saka in spaces with some clever passing on the left. Resulting in a bit of a fortunate goal rewarding Martinelli’s persistence.

  • Agreed about that lack of confidence, LG…and it transmits to us punters who *need* that 2nd goal…

    2nd half on…

  • Saka with his own bloody nose.
    Certainly saw some stars on an elbow to the proboscis by Baldock.
    Followed by another infraction seeing Baldock booked.

  • Bit of a threat– United intercepting at MF finally getting a ball into the six unable to toe it home.

  • Xhaka creating unnecessary excitement passing a ball square through midfield starting a United break– resulting in a corner requiring Xhaka to clear it off the line.

  • The attack has slowed to a crawl again- save a long ball to Marti in the left corner with a swift cross cleared.

  • AMN needs to be more judicious. The team are burning minutes with possession– AMN is crossing poorly and attempting dribbles in little space.

  • #20 with a saving sliding tackle that results in a corner– headed top of box and skyed over by a United CB.

  • Saka and Marti burning down the left side ends in a Pepe corner– Laca fouling on the play in the box.

  • Arsenal front-foot on the verge of shot for the last couple of minutes– resulting in Saka pass into the box sent out to top of box where LT is fouled. Pepe and Laca stand over it– Laca curling just over upper left corner.

    Nketiah then come on for Laca.

  • Another draw, where we got the lead in the first half, were the undisputed better team, yet we didn’t create clear chances (our goal was just as lucky as the equalizer), and conceded a late goal.
    The slight different to past games was that some players didn’t seem to settle with the 1:0 win, but the quality wasn’t really there to double the lead. The refereeing was below-par, the NBSCN commentary was outrageous, and the VAR cheated a penalty from us.

  • Apologies. Just at the critical point in the match everyone in my house awakens and makes demands.

    Sheffield get the equalizer after picking off a pass MF with a short pass over the CBs to the far side of the box– headed slightly and United midfielder John Fleck vollies a slightly deflected shot off AMN in into the net near post. Not sure Leno gets that even without the deflection.

    Some further action– including a shot on frame from center top of box– directly at Leno.

    The match ends 1-1.

  • It has never gone our way. But we need to be creating more. We should make more than 11 attempts at home.

  • taking laca out was a terrible call
    pépé’s a liability
    passing the ball to him amounts to giving the ball away to the opponents – and i didn’t like (at all) the way he gave out to eddie, seconds after the lad had stepped onto the pitch
    bukayo’s an extraordinary young man, this cloudy year’s silver lining
    we have to admit this team is weak, blunt, and knowing that, keep supporting (not abusing) them as best as we can – if we don’t ,this disappointing season might turn into something really ugly

  • Every match a draw thus far today, except two– Norwich getting a 1-0 decision where a PEN and RC were given on a diving hand-save by Cherries defender Steve Cook. Great save BTW.

    Then Wolves coming back from down 2-0 to Soton at half– taking all three points 3-2.

    Notably City were drawn by Palace 2-2.

  • Liverpool’s runaway results have masked one glaring fact … that the gap between teams in the PL has narrowed considerably. It’s no more a cliche, there are no easy games in the premiership.

  • We play Chelsea next and have only Laca as experienced striker, so Arteta’s thinking is understandable. If Laca is injured, because he played 90 minutes, we would have given Chelsea a psychological victory knowing we would have kids upfront.

    It’s a hard result to take but Sheffield United have a brilliant Away record. Go check it out.

  • We were unfortunate to draw the game today, I feel it was one of the best games we have played this season, the Arteta effect is beginning to take a strong hold.

    The stars, in no particular order were:-

    Ozil, displayed more energy than usual and if two particular passes had been up to his usual quality we may well have won.

    Saka, shows a level of class and ability that are way above his tender 18 years. A star to behold for many years to come.

    Martinez, another superb 18 year old. He reads the game well and just needs to meld better with his team mates.

    Torriera, a real terrier and buzz saw – that was nearly ruined by Emery.

    Nketiah, only a short time on the pitch but he just oozes quality.

    Missing in action – Lacazette.

  • you’re right about tuesday, eris
    and about sheffield too – i was impressed, to say the least, their gaffer has done a hell of a job
    anyway, what a frustrating season, because of the results of course, but most of all because we just don’t create enough – as a result of which whoever the visiting team might be, they look like they have no fear at all
    after the wenger years, tell me about journeying through the desert
    still believe in mikel though we have flashes of brilliance (our latest 2 goals, for instance); he’s learning his trade the hard way (it couldn’t be otherwise, really); he probably can’t wait for the summer transfer window
    in the (not too far, i hope) future, having had to go through such a tough start might prove very helpful to an intelligent, commited, passionate lad like him

  • I feel the imminent introduction of Guendouzi (as he warmed up by the sidelines) distracted the players as the midfielders were wondering who was going to come off. As it turned out, Guendouzi didn’t come on again, in a bid to leave Ozil on for the push for the win.

    We were a bit unlucky with that penalty call on Pepe. It was stonewall a penalty. I have seen Kane get even softer calls; Rashford was given one last, in a similar situation last week, against Norwich, so why won’t Pepe get a call?

    Pepe keeps the opposition full back worried and it may not have done us much good (collective defending-wise) if he was taken off for Nketiah, who is better from the central areas. The job of the manager is not an easy one as he tinkers with injuries, competitions, speculations and potential transfer business, all without unsettling team balance. I think it will all come together the moment we get a big enough scalp.

  • Will agree with you PE. And this a result of the massive influx of money from TV rights– that have trickled down throughout the levels of English football. It’s not only the biggest £££ signings– but the ability of every club to have competent players at every position– and depth. Then those players who might have been backups in the PL are now backups in the Championship– and on and on.

    We can say ‘credit to Sheffield’– sure. But Arsenal are looking up at them in the table. Arsenal were very lucky to have gotten out of the gate this season at 4-2-2– on the back of high-conversion rate goals by Auba. While not playing all that well. That’s half our current point tally in 8 matches. That’s a top-4 pace.

    I do think the bleeding has been stopped. We’re just not holding 1-0 leads. Better than before when we would be up 2 goals and giveaway the equalizers– and visibly fearing bottom-of-table type teams. Might seem normal to feel that an oppo goal is coming, inevitably. But that’s not the intuition I have. Even when one does come– I’m not dreading– ‘oh, there’s another one coming’.

    Don’t yet feel the confidence is misplaced. Now? It’s about Arteta finding a way to win these matches 2-0 or 2-1.

    Did feel Mikel waited about five minutes too long to get Guendouzi on for Ozil. During that rush from MF where Sheffield scored– felt that had Matteo been on the pitch, he’d have likely altered the course of things physically– where Mesut was no longer crisp in chasing the ball defensively.

    We need a fit ironman type in midfield– with a bit of savvy to him– to come on and help see out the game’s end.


  • Hey, sorry fellas, I got waylaid by my hosts here who were bustling around but also needing coffee, which was my thing to deliver. As such, I pretty much only caught glances of the 2nd half…

    There will be easier matches…and there will be tougher ones…Arteta’s use of this squad seems 1000% times better than Emery’s…but, it’s not a great group of players and missing 1st choice players at almost half the positions really doesn’t help (PEA, and the entire back line). Additionally, at least 3 guys who did start (Mustafi, Xhaka, Ozil–and maybe Lacazette, who cannot be pleased that few appreciate his work as a false 9…) will likely be gone in the summer, so…this is the new manager working with a team that is absolutely not “his” team in the longer term. Maybe that’s how it always is (for new managers), but, at least you (or one or at least I…) can see some better ideas starting to take shape and show themselves…

    A home draw against a newly promoted side will feel like a step backwards, but, to me, rock-bottom has been achieved and we’re at least heading sideways if not up…


  • We either have to win the EL or the FA Cup, because our game is not convincing enough to get the 5th position.
    The good – and also bad – news is, that nobody played bad today. We cannot say that “if X could have started instead of Y” than we would definitely have won the game. And this is bad, because it means this is our level of quality at this point. Over 60% ball possession, some nice diagonal passes, but few attempts and even fewer chances created. A lucky goal for us, and a lucky goal for them, plus a reasonable penalty claim – all in all don’t seem enough for CL or EL level football next year.

    Maybe I will expand on under the next post, but I’m not satisfied with Arteta either. A strong starting line-up I have to admit, but very predictable tactics, no offensive substitutions, and Ceballos is being treated like Denis Suarez last year, albeit being a way higher caliber footballer.

  • Pb, seems to me Ceballos is a inverted winger. He can play there.

    We almost lost the game due to another moment of madness from Mustafi, which had a good game earlier. It is his faults that are magnified though as it had cost us goals.

    We were poor in the final third and could have done much better to put more balls in the back of the net, like Citeh did in their last game. Why won’t we do that?

  • I only saw highlights of the game until now so if anybody wants to write about it – player ratings and/or match report – be my guest.

    JW thanks for the in-game comments.

  • TA, my 8 positives for this match:

    1. Our shape was good, and like the previous game, we deserved to win but we did not score a second goal to kill the game.
    2. Martinelli is brilliant. Why not drop Laca and make Martinelli our CF? Yesterday Laca was sitting too deep and the only bright spots in the attacking trio were just Ozil and Martinelli. Meant a hell lot to those who think that Laca is a good CF, but at least he tried.
    3. Mustafi. He was good for most of the game, no doubt, and had good clearances. However, when they pressured so much on his side his brain crashes kept coming to kill us. We were unlucky to concede, but nothing much we would have done to prevent that for now. Unless we get a robot for a defender.
    4. Torreira. The cool head in a midfield full of opposition oggs that can break your leg in an instant. Did well to create chances out of our own half. MoTM.
    5. Xhaka. So far his best game, but we were a little out of our comfort zone in the dying minutes. Long balls are his forte, and his crosses were good.
    6. Ozil. Most creative player on the pitch. Good chances but Laca and Co. were too busy dealing with walls of defender to convert the chances.
    7. Pepe. Good on the feet, but still loses too much possession for my liking. Did well for a while, but to get better he needs the team around him. Not just AMN.
    8. Luiz. Good in the air and marshalling the defense, and did well to make passes up front.

  • My pleasure TA.

    We have all known by now that Mike Dean is an a**, but we need to outwit and outscore the referee. The VAR is another tw**.

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