Arsenal vs Sheffield United
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Kick off: 4PM
Arsenal welcome Sheffield United to the Emirates Stadium this afternoon in the Premier League, with the Gunners looking to make up ground on their rivals ahead of them.
Arsenal have improved in recent weeks under new coach Mikel Arteta, but their results have not seen a dramatic upturn as of yet.
The Gunners remain 10th in the table and are now 11 points adrift of the top four.
On the other hand, Chris Wilder’s team have maintained their early season form and are continuing to surprise teams up and down the league.
The Blades sit sixth going into this match and can go fifth for 24 hours at least with a win at the Emirates.
United have picked up 10 points from their last six games, which is three more than the seven Arsenal have amassed, with that six-game run including visits to the Etihad Stadium and Anfield.
Wilder’s selection has been remarkably consistent throughout the season, with his forwards the only players that he has chosen to rotate regularly.
Lys Mousset proved the match winner when the two sides met earlier this season, but the former Northampton boss opted for David McGoldrick and Oli McBurnie in their win over West Ham United last time out.
Arteta too has been consistent in his selection, but is without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for this match, with the Gabon international serving the first part of his three-game suspension following the red card he picked up against Crystal Palace.
This will give the Spaniard a selection headache, which will only be worsened by injury problems throughout the squad.
With the Gunners still just seven points clear of the relegation zone, they need to start picking up points and, given their poor away form over the past few seasons, home matches against newly-promoted opposition will be seen as must-wins.
The North London club have won just twice away from home this season, while they have picked up four wins at home.
Arsenal can leapfrog a few teams ahead of them with a win depending on how results go elsewhere and, with Manchester United travelling to Anfield on Sunday, they will be hopeful of gaining ground on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Tactically it also promises to be an interesting match up, with Arteta’s five-up formation meeting Wilder’s overlapping centre-back system.
United played very deep in the reverse fixture after picking up an early goal and will likely cede possession against an Arsenal side that has been dominant in that statistic in recent weeks.
However, the Blades will still hope to hurt Arsenal in wide areas, where the home side may have to rely on 18-year-old winger Bukayo Saka at left-back.
Wilder’s side have won three times away from Bramall Lane this season, but have only lost twice.
Arsenal possible XI: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Saka, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Pepe, Ozil, Martinelli, Lacazette.
Sheffield United possible XI: Henderson, Basham, Egan, O’Connell, Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens, McGoldrick, McBurnie.