Sheffield United visit Arsenal with an attack that hasn’t scored yet.

by Bulldog Drummond

The Telegraph seems to have got a clearer picture of things than the Guardian, for speaking of this weekend’s game they say, “The Gunners go into the match at the Emirates on a high after beating Liverpool on penalties in the Carabao Cup on Thursday, whereas the Blades have made an alarming start to the campaign, losing their first three games without scoring a goal.”  So that sounds ok, but, there has to be a but, simply because this is Arsenal…

“Ordinarily, that would lead us to suggest a healthy home win is the only possible outcome but, while Mikel Arteta’s side should come out on top, it’s unlikely to be that straightforward.”

Now that might seem a little odd, but it turns out to be quite simple.  You see, “Chris Wilder’s side may have failed to score or claim a point so far this season, but they’re still a defensively sound outfit and Arsenal won’t run away with this one.”

OK, so while Sheffield United have played four and lost four, Sheffield United are still “a defensively sound outfit.”  And why is that?  We read on with interest…

“United’s poor start defies their form from last term, when they finished a superb ninth in their first season back in the top flight. But it’s still widely expected that they are more than capable of challenging for a top-half finish again in 2020-21, and this is just a case of a very slow start.”

OK, but it is also a fact that they had a very bad finish at the end of last season as well as a very bad start to this.  In fact they have just lost seven games in a row in league cup and Premier League..   Since then they have bought in some new players:

  • Wes Foderingham: Goalkeeper — from Rangers: free
  • Aaron Ramsdale: Goalkeeper — from Bournemouth: £18.5m
  • Jayden Bogle: Defender — from Derby: £7m
  • Max Lowe: Defender — from Derby: £4m
  • Ethan Ampadu: Defender — from Chelsea: loan
  • Oliver Burke: Winger — from West Bromwich Albion: swap
  • Ismaila Coulibaly: Winger — from Sarpsborg: undisclosed
  • Rhian Brewster: Forward — from Liverpool: £23.5m

and they have lost 14 players on a mix of loans, swaps and frees.  Only Callum Gribbin went for a fee, and he went to Barrow so I suspect is wasn’t much.

After the restart Sheffield U did have a four match run in which they scored eight and conceded two.  Really good going.   But then there were three successive defeats in which they scored one and conceded six.  Those defeats were to Leicester (who were in free fall), Sheffield United and Southampton.

Of course, almost all runs come to an end, and Arsenal could make a mistake in the game and let matters slip away, because most certainly if Sheffield United score one they are going to pull all 11 back into defence.   We need to get two before they score at all.  If they score at all.

In the injury charts we are still riding high

  • Newcastle United: 9
  • Everton: 8
  • Leicester City: 8
  • Crystal Palace: 7
  • West Bromwich Albion: 7
  • Arsenal: 6
  • Aston Villa: 6
  • Burnley: 6
  • Liverpool: 6

Sheffield United are not really trying and only have three.  All details as ever are from

Player Reason Further Detail Potential Return Status
Shkodran Mustafi Thigh Injury Aug 25: “Positive progress, is now off crutches with good mobility. Aiming to return to full training in October.” 31/10/2020 Ruled Out
Emile Smith Rowe Shoulder Injury Oct 01: “Now integrating back into training with the first-team squad.” 17/10/2020 Ruled Out
Pablo Mari Villar Ankle/Foot Injury Sept 30: “Aiming to return to full training within the next two weeks.” 17/10/2020 Ruled Out
Sokratis Papastathopoulos Calf/Shin/Heel Injury Oct 01: “Now back in full training.” 04/10/2020 100%
Gabriel Martinelli Knee Injury Will step up his rehab with the aim of a return to full training by the end of the calendar year.” No Return Date Ruled Out
Calum Chambers Knee Injury Aiming to be back in full training as soon as possible this calendar year.” No return date Ruled out

It has been a great start to the season

Date Match Result Score Competition
29 Aug 2020 Arsenal v Liverpool W 1-1 (5-4) FA Community Shield
08 Sep 2020 Ipswich Town v Arsenal W 1-2 Football League Trophy
12 Sep 2020 Fulham v Arsenal W 0-3 Premier League
19 Sep 2020 Arsenal v West Ham United W 2-1 Premier League
23 Sep 2020 Leicester City v Arsenal W 0-2 League Cup
28 Sep 2020 Liverpool v Arsenal L 3-1 Premier League
01 Oct 2020 Liverpool v Arsenal W 0-0 (4-5) League Cup

The last time they beat us at our place in the league was in the opening games of 1971/2 when they won 0-1.  We got a spot of revenge on 29 January beating them 0-5 at their place.

Last season we lost away and drew at home with them, before knocking them out of the cup, which was rather pleasing considering what came after.

One Reply to “Sheffield United visit Arsenal with an attack that hasn’t scored yet.”

  1. I remember the away game in January 1972. My parents had recently moved to Nottinghamshire and I was playing football for the school and couldn’t make the game in time. I was gutted to have missed it. If I remember correctly, we were so dominant Alan Ball actually had time to sit on the ball in the centre circle at one point! (Of course nowadays he’d get a card for ungentlemanly behaviour!)

    The following season, the same thing happened but I was determined to go and arrived about 15 minutes after kick off to find us three or four goals down and saw us eventually lose 5-0. One of their players made a point of sitting on the ball!! Fate can be a b*tch sometimes.

Comments are closed.