Arsenal – Sheffield United was a tight, tense game as the Gunners rode two goals in four second half minutes to sneak all three points.
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The extra quality in attack showed as Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe scored but David McGoldrick’s superb strike late on set up a tense finish as Sheffield United almost grabbed a point.
With the win Arsenal have three victories from four games to start the season, while Sheffield United have lost all four so far.
3 things we learned from Arsenal – Sheffield United
1. Arsenal grinding it out: This was hardly a vintage Arsenal display but it epitomized their new gritty spirit under Mikel Arteta as they have started the season with three wins from four games. This result took character and patience and Arsenal hardly put a foot wrong defensively as they stood firm. Again, not a classic Arsenal performance but they dug deep.
2. Saka steps up: His first Arsenal goal at the Emirates in the Premier League came in a week he will not forget. Saka, 19, was called up by England for the first time and he celebrated it by scoring a fine header at the back post to open the scoring. Saka is an intelligent player who often finds pockets of space in dangerous areas. When Arsenal needed to break the deadlock, the versatile teenager stepped up.
3. Don’t be worried about the Blades yet: So, they’ve lost seven games on the trot (dating back to the end of last season) but Sheffield United have been working hard, staying in most of those games and Chris Wilder won’t be too worried. Yet. Defeats to Wolves, Aston Villa, Leeds and Arsenal all by one goal shouldn’t be too alarming but just one goal across those four games shows why they bought Rhian Brewster from Liverpool earlier this week. The Blades remain tough to play against and they’ve been unlucky with injuries. They had so many one-goal victories last season but now they’re on the wrong end of those. Sheffield United should have enough to stay out of a relegation battle but they have to start scoring.
Man of the Match: Bukayo Saka – Lovely header and had that extra bit of quality when it mattered most.
A slow start to the game saw Eddie Nketiah go close for Arsenal but David Luiz was lucky as he appeared to haul back Oliver Burke by his shirt as Bernd Leno cleared with the Blades on the attack.
Aaron Ramsdale gave the ball away in a dangerous position with a loose pass and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang smashed towards the top corner from distance but Sheffield United’s goalkeeper made up for his mistake as he did well to tip a superb effort over.
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Sheffield United were stubborn in the second half and sat back deep, while Dani Ceballos played a lovely ball through to Aubameyang but the Arsenal skipper couldn’t quite finish after sliding in.
Two goals in four minutes then set up the win for Arsenal as a lovely flick from Aubameyang set Hector Bellerin free in the box and his dinked cross to the back post was headed home by Saka.
Moments later it was 2-0 as substitute Nicolas Pepe cut in from the right flank and curled home into the far corner to score a wonderful solo goal.
McGoldrick scored a stunning goal in the 84th minute as he curled home from distance to give the Blades hope of a dramatic late comeback.
In the 94th minute McGoldrick had a shot deflected just wide for a corner as the Blades came so close to rescuing a point.