Sheffield show their strength against Arsenal

London, Jan 19 – This match showed why the northern side from Sheffield has steadily risen this season while their London opponents continue with their colourless performance. Mikel Arteta, having taken over, with great hope, the head coach’s position with Arsenal, saw yet another drab display by his side in a drawn game with each side scoring once. Having drawn their previous match as well with the same scoreline, Arteta said: “I’m very disappointed. The performance deserved three points, we lost two points, but in the Premier League, if you don’t put the game to bed you know in the last 10 or 15 minutes, these type of teams just need a long ball, a second ball, a set piece, and you can give the points away.”
Referring to their game last week against Crystal Palace, he added: “There is history of that and it makes it even more disappointing. In the Premier League, if you are 1-0 up, be careful, in the last 10 or 15 minutes, because anything can happen.”
The first half of the match was dominated by Sheffield United who should have taken an early lead. Ainsley Maitland-Niles played a sloppy pass out of defence straight to Sheffield defender Enda Stevens. He was allowed to advance unopposed and his cross sailed over to Lys Mousset, who ought to have done much better with a free header that flew over the crossbar.
Just as the drab first half was coming to an end, in the 45th minute, Arsenal took the lead. Mesut Ozil, suddenly injected some urgency into the game when he tried to initiate a one-two with Alexandre Lacazette. The return ball fell to Bukayo Saka and when his cross was deflected, it went to the path of Gabriel Martinelli, who prodded it into the net.
United appealed for a penalty in the second half when Oli McBurnie’s header towards the goal hit Granit Xhaka on the line. Replays showed the ball had hit Xhaka on the chest. But soon after Arsenal seemed to have won a penalty when Nicolas Pepe ran at Jack O’Connell who stuck out a leg but did not get the ball. With Pepe falling over it looked like a penalty but VAR decided there was no foul. Arteta said: “I think it’s very clear (penalty)”.
The equaliser came seven minutes before the end. Callum Robinson crossed into the box and after it was flicked on, John Fleck drove his shot down for it to bounce and go firmly into the net. The visiting coach Chris Wilder said: “I didn’t think we were anywhere near our best, the result is better than our performance.”
He added: “It was one of our poor performances with the ball. It wasn’t a game of high quality, no one built up a momentum. I’m pleased we got point out of it.” He went on to say: “We always give ourselves an opportunity with our attitude of not rolling over. But we need to play a lot better than that for us to regularly pick up points. We finished well in the last 10 minutes and should have nicked it.”