Two teams who couldn’t have wished for much worse starts since the return of the Premier League, Sheffield United host Arsenal in the FA Cup sixth round on Sunday 28th June at 13:00 at Bramall Lane.
Since promotion last season many predicted the worst for the Blades and expected them to suffer at the hands of the Premier League’s heavyweights. However, Chris Wilder’s progressive and ingenious tactics have meant that his side have not only avoided relegation but are fighting for a European place next year.
Although they cruelly missed out on three points against Aston Villa due to goal-line technology malfunctioning for the first time in over 9,000 matches, United have suffered heavy 3-0 defeats to the likes of Newcastle United and Manchester United. Their only solace is that Arsenal have been worse.
Mikel Arteta’s side were woeful against Manchester City, mainly due to David Luiz’s disaster-class which seemingly earned him a new contract, and Brighton, who managed to do the league double over Arsenal for the first time in their history. However, the Gunners will be boosted after their much-needed 2-0 victory over Southampton on Thursday.
It’s hard not to sympathise with Arteta as his players are going down like flies. Pablo Mari and Granit Xhaka came off injured in the Gunners’ first game back against Manchester City and Bernd Leno, easily Arsenal’s best player since the return of football, suffered a gruesome knee injury after he fell awkwardly whilst collecting the ball.
18th January 2020 – Arsenal 1-1 Sheffield United – Premier League
21st October 2019 – Sheffield United 1-0 Arsenal – Premier League
23rd September 2008 – Arsenal 6-0 Sheffield United – League Cup
No injuries or suspensions to report
Calum Chambers (Knee), Pablo Mari (Ankle), Lucas Torreira (Ankle), Bernd Leno (Knee)
Both sides have been sluggish since their returns with United yet to even score in their three games. However, Arsenal are veterans in the latter stages of the FA Cup and this could be their chance to get their season back on track. It will be a cagey affair, but Arsenal’s experience will give them the edge.
Sheffield United 1-2 Arsenal
Match Preview by Owen Lloyd.