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20/21 First Team General Match Reports Premier League

Crystal Palace 1-3 Arsenal: Premier League – 19/05/2021

Before we get into the match report here, there’s something that needs to be said. Last night’s match was the last home game of Roy Hodgson’s career and Sunday will be his final time as manager in the modern game after he announced his retirement.

It’s rare to come across men who have impacted football the way that Roy Hodgson has. While Arsenal’s very own Arsène Wenger normalised the idea of a foreign coach in the Premier League, Hodgson normalised the idea of an Englishman abroad and his legacy as a coach is as undisputed as his class and as great as it was that fans can be back in stadiums, it’s a shame that so few were allowed to wave goodbye to one of the greatest managers football has ever known.

Now, back to the action.

On the back of an entirely undeserved victory over Chelsea, Arsenal encountered their second London derby in as many weeks. While Arsenal fans are all scrambling for this season to be over, there is still a certain amount of pride left to play for and the chance to possibly leapfrog their great rivals, Tottenham Hotspur.

Arsenal started well. A number of quick and precise attacks seemed to show Palace what Arsenal were capable of. Though Palace had a few chances of their own, it was Arsenal who looked the more likely to score, dominating possession and keeping the midfield as tight and compact as possible.

Nicolas Pépé gives Arsenal the lead.

It therefore came as no surprise to see Arsenal take the lead. Quick play down the left-hand side by Bukayo Saka and Kieran Tierney saw an intricately mesmeric move come to a flourishing end as Nicolas Pépé latched onto Tierney’s cross to bundle Arsenal into a deserved lead.

It was a stunning Arsenal move that had everyone off their feet and seemed to dispell the notion that Arsenal were unable to create.

The second half however, brought a very different story. Arsenal completely took their foot off the gas and Palace hit them hard. With the added bonus of having their fans back in the stadium, Crystal Palace fought hard to pin Arsenal back. Their efforts were soon rewarded as Andros Townsend’s cross found its way into the box and Christian Benteke headed the ball home for a Palace equaliser in the Ian Wright derby.

It will be a controversial decision for Arsenal fans, who would argue that Benteke was lucky to remain on the pitch following a controversial tussle with Mohamed Elneny in the first-half which Var inexplicably failed to turn over.

VAR decisions aside, Arsenal looked decidedly run through. Wilfried Zaha’s tendency to fall to the ground in the box was starting to give Arsenal a route back into the game as the Ivorian focused more on pantomime theatrics than actual goals.

A few sweeping changes by Mikel Arteta saw Arsenal regain a slight foothold. The pace and power of Gabriel Martinelli, the intricacy of Martin Ødegaard and the firm approach of Granit Xhaka appeared to be exactly what Arsenal needed.

The former two combined beautifully in the dying embers of the match as Ødegaard drifted in a sumptuous ball that would have had Mesut Özil on his feet, which was met by Martinelli who scrambled the ball in to give Arsenal a not entirely deserved would-be winner.

Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli were some of Arsenal’s bright sparks on the night.

Palace heads dropped and Arsenal were able to round off the scoring nicely with a superb run from Nicolas Pépé, who rounded thee Palace players before doubling his tally for the game.

It was hardly a vintage Arsenal performance, but the three points are all that matters and Arsenal have those.

VAR was once again shrouded in controversy as Crystal Palace were granted two VAR reprieves. The aforementioned incident with Christian Benteke and Mohamed Elneny was matched by an earlier incident wherein Cheikhou Kouyaté crushed Calum Chambers’ ankle in an early tackle which was bizarelly not given a red card by VAR or on-pitch referee Anthony Taylor.

It was an infuriating call, especially as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had been dismissed for the same tackle at the same ground last season.

It was another promising showing for Arsenal’s youngsters. While Bukayo Saka was perhaps not at his very best on Wednesday night, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli more than made up for it, combining well and creating chances galore for Arsenal.

Thankfully, the season draws to a merciful end on Sunday and Mikel Arteta will be glad to know that Arsenal fans are back in the stadium for Sunday’s match against Brighton & Hove Albion, but more importantly, that focus can begin for next season as Arsenal look to right the wrongs of this unacceptable season.

Arsenal team:
  1.) Bernd Leno
21.) Calum Chambers
16.) Rob Holding
  6.) Gabriel Magalhães
  3.) Kieran Tierney (Xhaka 78’)
25.) Mohamed Elneny
18.) Thomas Partey (Martinelli 78’)
19.) Nicolas Pépé
32.) Emile Smith Rowe
  7.) Bukayo Saka (Ødegaard 65’)
14.) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (c)

Arsenal subs:
33.) Maty Ryan
22.) Pablo Marí
17.) Cédric Soares
34.) Granit Xhaka
  8.) Dani Ceballos
11.) Martin Ødegaard
12.) Willian
35.) Gabriel Martinelli
  9.) Alexandre Lacazette

Crystal Palace team:
31.) Vincente Guaita
  2.) Joel Ward
  5.) James Tomkins
24.) Gary Cahill
27.) Tyrick Mitchell
  8.) Cheikhou Kouyaté
22.) James McCarthy (Riedewald 82’)
15.) Jeffery Schlupp
10.) Andros Townsend
11.) Wilfried Zaha
20.) Christian Benteke (Ayew 79’)

Crystal Palace subs:
  1.) Jack Butland
34.) Martin Kelly
17.) Nathaniel Clyne
  3.) Patrick van Aanholt
39.) Jesurun Rak-Sakyi
44.) Jaïro Riedewald
14.) Jean-Philippe Mateta
23.) Michy Batshuayi
  9.) Jordan Ayew

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20/21 First Team General Match Reports Premier League

Chelsea 0-1 Arsenal: Premier League – 12/05/2021

Arsenal have in recent years seemed to reverse the trend of Chelsea being their bogey team. Gone are the days when Didier Drogba would taunt the Arsenal defence for fun or when José Mourinho would make it his personal mission to unsettle Arsène Wenger before a match.

Nowadays, it’s Chelsea who struggle with Arsenal. Arsenal do seem to grind a result out when they least deserve it, but they usually have something on the line to scrap for.

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side happen to be in utterly blistering form of late, having reached both an FA Cup final and a UEFA Champions League final in a short space of time since Tuchel’s arrival in the wake of Frank Lampard’s subsequent (but utterly telegraphed) sacking.

Arsenal’s set up saw them revert to the back three formation that won them an FA Cup last season. It seemed as though Mikel Arteta was more interested in frustrating Chelsea than relying on his team’s doubtless attacking qualities.

Arsenal celebrate the game’s only goal.

And that seemed to be the tactic for a long while. Chelsea were all over Arsenal for the majority of the game, with Arsenal’s only real attacking promise coming down Kieran Tierney’s left-hand side.

Despite this, Chelsea were undone by an utterly gifted goal. While Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has copped a lot of flak in his time with the club, he wasn’t to blame as Chelsea midfielder Jorginho rolled a pass back to the goalkeeper that was scrambled off the goal line, fell to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who promptly squared it for Emile Smith Rowe who gave an Arsenal a surprising and utterly undeserved lead.

It was a comedy of errors and the kind of goal that Arsenal usually give away not this season’s Champions League finalists.

From there, it was one-way traffic. Arsenal struggled to even get out of their own half, such was Chelsea’s dominance. Though Chelsea did have the ball in the back of the net through Christian Pulisic, it was rightly ruled out by VAR for an offside, with the American himself seemingly aware even as he was reluctantly celebrating.

Emile Smith Rowe was one of the team’s standout performers on the night.

Chelsea came close a few more times with a lopping header from Kurt Zouma being tipped onto the crossbar from Bernd Leno and former-Gunner Olivier Giroud smashing the subsequent rebound against the post.

The final whistle was perhaps the most welcome sound in the world for Arsenal fans as the team staggered to a very undeserved three points to keep their Europa League tilt alive.

It was a very poor performance from Arsenal. Though a clean sheet is always a welcome bonus to a win, it has to be said that the team really did not play well at all. Exceptions can be made for Thomas Partey, Rob Holding, Bernd Leno and Emile Smith Rowe, however, the rest looked either tired or poor.

A win was very much against the odds and the fire shown by Mikel Arteta in his post-match interview with Sky Sports seemed to serve up something his team would have been good to show in the match.

It was however, a very uncharacteristically solid performance from the Arsenal defence. Rob Holding was solid, while Pablo Marí and Gabriel Magalhães struggled early on, they soon grew into the game. It’s clear that the defensive improvements this season are palpable from Unai Emery’s tumultuous teure at the club, however, it may not be enough to rely on defence over attack alone moving forward.

Arsenal will need to be better as they face Crystal Palace on Wednesday night.

Arsenal team:
  1.) Bernd Leno
16.) Rob Holding
22.) Pablo Marí
  6.) Gabriel Magalhães
  7.) Bukayo Saka (Bellerín 66’ (Chambers 88’))
25.) Mohamed Elneny
18.) Thomas Partey
  3.) Kieran Tierney
11.) Martin Ødegaard
32.) Emile Smith Rowe
14.) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (c) (Lacazette 79’)

Arsenal subs:
33.) Maty Ryan
21.) Calum Chambers
  2.) Héctor Bellerín
17.) Cédric Soares
  8.) Dani Ceballos
12.) Willian
19.) Nicolas Pépé
35.) Gabriel Martinelli
  9.) Alexandre Lacazette

Chelsea team:
  1.) Kepa Arrizabalaga
28.) César Azpilicueta (c) (Ziyech 78’)
  6.) Thiago Silva
15.) Kurt Zouma
24.) Reece James
23.) Billy Gilmour (Hudson-Odoi 45’)
  5.) Jorginho
21.) Ben Chilwell
19.) Mason Mount
10.) Christian Pulisic
29.) Kai Havertz (Giroud 65’)

Chelsea subs:
16.) Edouard Mendy
57.) Tino Livramento
  3.) Marcos Alonso
33.) Emerson Palmieri
55.) Tino Anjorin
22.) Hakim Ziyech
20.) Callum Hudson-Odoi
11.) Timo Werner
18.) Olivier Giroud

Categories
20/21 First Team General Match Reports Premier League

Arsenal 3-1 West Bromwich Albion: Premier League – 09/05/2021

With their European fate all but sealed, Arsenal entered Sunday’s match with Wes Brom with an air of failure ripe in the air.

Crashed out of the FA Cup fairly early on, a humiliating exit to Manchester City in the League Cup and a humbling defeat from former-manager Unai Emery, it’s no real surprise that Arsenal fans want this season over and done with.

This would seem to be the ideal time for Mikel Arteta to start shaking things up a little bit, try some youngsters out and stop giving game time to those on loan. However, while the absence of Folarian Balogun and Miguel Azeez were offset against the continued selection of both Dani Ceballos and Willian, there were still some bright choices in the selection. Bukayo Saka was returned to left-back, Emile Smith Rowe was given an unencumbered look at a central creative role and Gabriel Martinelli was started as the lone-forward.

Emile Smith Rowe celebrates his first-ever Premier League goal.

Arsenal started off fairly slowly. West Brom had the majority of possession and continued to create chances as they continued their fight for Premier League survival.

It therefore came as a hammer blow to the Baggies as Arsenal took the lead throigh a stunning goal from Emile Smith Rowe. A brilliant ball down the line from Willian was met by Bukayo Saka, who’s quick cross into the box was volleyed home in superb fashion by Smith Rowe for his first-ever Premier League goal.

West Brom seemed to accept their fate from there as Nicolas Pépé sprung forth barely six minutes later, cut onto his left-foot in Arjen Robben-like fashion and curled an unstoppable effort into the far corner to double the home-side’s advantage.

Half-time seemed to give West Brom new life however, with Sam Allardyce clearly reminding the players that relegation met anything other than a win that night. A brilliant and mazy run from Matheus Pereira gave West Brom a lifeline and led to some nervy moments from Arsenal, with former-Gunner Kyle Bartley reportedly shouting to his teammates “Come on boys, one goal and they’ll shit themselves!”

Nicolas Pépé and Willian, Arsenal’s two other goalscorers.

Thankfully, Arsenal did no such thing and despite some nervy moments, Arsenal kept control of the game well. West Brom’s fate was sealed when Willian stepped up to curl home his first-ever Arsenal goal from a free-kick in his 37th apperance for the club(!).

It was a decent win for Arsenal all things considered and was probably a good sign for Arsenal’s continued (albeit unlikely) push for a Europa League place next season.

The questions were still there though, why was this performance not replicated a few days ago against Villarreal? Why was it that Dani Ceballos was only able to provide this kind of performance against relegation fodder and why has it taken Willian so long to score a goal?

Questions that will likely never have a definitive answer to them any time soon and questions that most likely stay long dormant into next season as a summer of upheaval beckons.

Arsenal team:
  1.) Bernd Leno
21.) Calum Chambers
16.) Rob Holding
  6.) Gabriel Magalhães
  7.) Bukayo Saka
25.) Mohamed Elneny
  8.) Dani Ceballos (Partey 76’)
12.) Willian
32.) Emile Smith Rowe (Tierney 63’)
19.) Nicolas Pépé
35.) Gabriel Martinelli (Lacazette 60’)

Arsenal subs:
13.) Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson
  2.) Héctor Bellerín
17.) Cédric Soares
  3.) Kieran Tierney
18.) Thomas Partey
11.) Martin Ødegaard
14.) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
30.) Eddie Nketiah
  9.) Alexandre Lacazette

West Bromwich Albion team:
  1.) Sam Johnstone
  2.) Darnell Furlong
  6.) Semi Ajayi
  5.) Kyle Bartley
14.) Conor Townsend
  7.) Callum Robinson (Diangana 68’)
35.) Okay Yokuşlu
10.) Matt Phillips
12.) Matheus Pereira
18.) Conor Gallagher
17.) Mbaye Diagne (Robson-Kanu 56’)

West Bromwich Albion subs:
25.) David Button
45.) Taylor Gardner-Hickman
22.) Lee Peltier
49.) Caleb Taylor
27.) Dara O’Shea
  8.) Jake Livermore
11.) Grady Diangana
29.) Karlan Grant
  4.) Hal Robson-Kanu

Categories
20/21 Europa League First Team General Match Reports

Arsenal 0-0 Villarreal (1-2 agg): Europa League – 06/05/2021

The last chance Arsenal had of achieving European football next season has evaporated after the team slumped to a 0-0 home draw to Unai Emery’s Villarreal.

It was a disappointing tie for Arsenal, who seemed to treat the first-half of football as an exercise in fear. Too scared to get forward and work the shaky Gerónimo Rulli, Arsenal seemed to be offering a sense of what playing the new Resident Evil Village will be like, rather than what a game of football should be like.

In fairness, Arsenal came close on a few occasions, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hitting the post twice and Emile Smith Rowe’s cute little chip just glancing past the post in the second-half.

Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah commiserate Arsenal’s appalling performance.

Other than that, Arsenal were utterly bereft of ideas. At a time when the team needed their best players to show up, they seemed to recoil. Héctor Bellerín was once again average at best and terrible at worst, Thomas Partey seemed to be on a different planet, Martin Ødegaard seemed totally uninterested and Alexandre Lacazette was completley isolated.

The game management of Mikel Arteta once again seemed to expose the manager’s total lack of game management experience. Bellerín was hooked off with four minutes to go rather than forty-five, Gabriel Martinelli wasn’t started from the get-go and was then brought on too late to have a meaningful impact and the hapless and totally useless Willian was thrown on for reasons probably best kept to himself.

It was a total masterclass in cluelessness. Mikel Arteta and co. have spoken at length about Arsenal needing to be daring in the transfer market this summer, but it begs the question of who would even want to join this mess of an Arsenal side?

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came close twice.

The team looks highly unlikely to qualify even for the qualifying rounds of the Europa League, they are likely to be hit with a pretty huge fine from UEFA for their part in the proposed European Super League, which will likely have a further impact on signings and available funds and it also begs the question of who on earth would want to buy these players?

Unless there are some serious changes in the team’s tactics moving forward, Arsenal look dead in the water and their match against Villarreal was just a microcosm of that.

Arsenal team:
  1.) Bernd Leno
  2.) Héctor Bellerín (Nketiah 91’)
16.) Rob Holding
22.) Pablo Marí
  3.) Kieran Tierney (Willian 80’)
18.) Thomas Partey
32.) Emile Smith Rowe
  7.) Bukayo Saka
11.) Martin Ødegaard (Martinelli 66’)
19.) Nicolas Pépé
14.) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (c) (Lacazette 80’)

Arsenal subs:
33.) Maty Ryan
53.) Arthur Okonkwo
  6.) Gabriel Magalhães
21.) Calum Chambers
17.) Cédric Soares
25.) Mohamed Elneny
12.) Willian
24.) Reiss Nelson
35.) Gabriel Martinelli
  9.) Alexandre Lacazette
30.) Eddie Nketiah

Villarreal team:
13.) Gerónimo Rulli
2.) Mario Gaspar
  3.) Raúl Albiol (c)
  4.) Pau Torres
24.) Alfonso Pedraza (Moreno 91’)
11.) Samuel Chukwueze (Pino ’30 (Moi Gómez 91′))
19.) Francis Coquelin
  5.) Dani Parejo
14.) Manuel Trigueros
  7.) Gerard Moreno
17.) Paco Alcácer (Bacca 72′)

Villarreal subs:
  1.) Sergio Asenjo
21.) Jaume Costa
  6.) Ramiro Funes Mori
20.) Rubén Peña
15.) Pervis Estupiñán
18.) Alberto Moreno
30.) Yeremi Pino
32.) Álex Baena
23.) Moi Gómez
34.) Fer Niño
  9.) Carlos Bacca
12.) Dani Raba

Categories
20/21 First Team General Match Reports Premier League

Newcastle United 0-2 Arsenal: Premier League – 02/05/2021

Given the state of things at the moment, Arsenal’s season hangs in the balance. With all the talk of proposed takeovers, European Super Leagues, talented youngsters signing new contracts and a Europa League tie with a former manager that threatens Arsenal’s European chances next seasons, its understandable why the Premier League has been on the back burner this season.

Heading into Sunday’s game against Newcastle, it’s clear to see where Mikel Arteta’s priorities are at the moment. After naming a fairly understrengthed side against Fulham, it seems Mikel Arteta has once again placed all his eggs in the Europa League basket.

The team saw a number of key changes to the side, including Maty Ryan once again displacing Bernd Leno.

Arsenal started off well, creating chances and giving Newcastle plenty to be concerned about. Usually, in these instances, Arsenal start well and create plenty and then slump to an early and entirely preventable goal, but this was not the case this time around.

Mohamed Elneny fires Arsenal into the lead.

Clever work from David Luiz to find Héctor Bellerín meant that the Spaniard could easily pick out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the middle of the park, only for the Gabon captain to inexplicably miss the chance. It made no difference though as Mohamed Elneny was on hand to smash the ball home from outside the box to mark his first-ever Premier League goal.

It was a well-worked goal that would have likely been even better had the initial chance converted. Arsenal continued to create but never really tested Martin Dúbravka very much, but for a speculative effort from Granit Xhaka, which nevertheless forced the Slovakian goalkeeper into action.

The second-half saw more of the same. Newcastle seemed utterly uninterested and Arsenal never really needed to push out of second gear.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s acrobatic effort rounds off the afternoon nicely for Arsenal.

It wasn’t before long that Arsenal added their inevitable second. Good work on the left-hand side from Gabriel Martinelli allowed him to fizz a tantalising ball across the box and this time Aubameyang made no mistake with an acrobatic effort making its way into the back of the net to double Arsenal’s tally and round-off the scoring.

The rest of the game passed without incident, until the dying embers of the match, when Newcastle defender and former teammate of Mohamed Elneny, Fabian Schär needlessly threw himself into a tackle from behind on Gabriel Martinelli, ensuring that Mike Dean didn’t end a game without brandishing a red card.

It was a stupid, needless tackle and seemed to sum up the home side’s performance on the day.

Many have said that it was a stunning performance from Arsenal, but that feels like hyperbole. That’s not to say that Arsenal played badly, because they didn’t, but it did feel like Arsenal never really got out of second-gear and didn’t need to. Newcastle were so lethargic and so uninterested in the match that it was surprising that the even found their way onto the pitch.

In terms of performances, it was a good day for Mohamed Elneny. Though the midfielder is often maligned for his lack of ingenuity or his propensity to play the ball sideways or backwards, the Egyptian was virtually unplayable against Newcastle and his importance to the team was noticeable in the club’s recent Open Mic YouTube video.

It was yet another bravura performance from young Gabriel Martinelli as well. His assist for Aubameyang’s goal was simply stunning and a sign of just how talented Martinelli really is and it seems essential that the Brazilian simply must start against Villarreal on Thursday.

Thursday beckons now for what will be a season-defining game. Is Arsenal’s European fate sealed or are they about to bring off an unprecedented comeback against Europe’s perennial Europa League specialist who will be out for blood at his old stomping ground?

Arsenal team:
33.) Maty Ryan
  2.) Héctor Bellerín
23.) David Luiz (Chambers 53’)
  6.) Gabriel Magalhães
34.) Granit Xhaka
25.) Mohamed Elneny
  8.) Dani Ceballos
12.) Willian
11.) Martin Ødegaard (Partey 85’)
35.) Gabriel Martinelli
14.) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (c) (Pépé 78’)

Arsenal subs:
  1.) Bernd Leno
22.) Pablo Marí
21.) Calum Chambers
17.) Cédric Soares
18.) Thomas Partey
32.) Emile Smith Rowe
  7.) Bukayo Saka
19.) Nicolas Pépé
30.) Eddie Nketiah

Newcastle United team:
  1.) Martin Dúbravka
23.) Jacob Murphy
18.) Federico Fernández (Schär 72’ 🔴)
  2.) Ciaran Clark (Gayle 84’)
  3.) Paul Dummett
11.) Matt Ritchie
36.) Sean Longstaff
  8.) Jonjo Shelvey (c)
24.) Miguel Almirón (Joelinton 73’)
10.) Allan Saint-Maximin
13.) Callum Wilson

Newcastle United subs:
29.) Mark Gillespie
17.) Emil Krafth
  5.) Fabian Schär
15.) Jamal Lewis
57.) Elliot Anderson
16.) Jeff Hendrick
  4.) Matty Longstaff
  9.) Joelinton
12.) Dwight Gayle

Categories
20/21 Europa League First Team General Match Reports

Villarreal 2-1 Arsenal: Europa League – 29/04/2021

The Europa League seems to represent the last possible chance for Arsenal to qualify for the Champions League next season, and barring some miraculous upturn in form in the league, any European competition at all.

The chance to see former manager Unai Emery in the dugout will likely have piqued most people’s interest, but the sideshow was to take a back seat as Arsenal looked to push forward.

In reality, Arsenal couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start if they had tried. The same lackadaisical defending that so often permeated in Emery’s days at the club were once again exposed.

Granit Xhaka, deputising at left-back, had been relatively untested in the position, but Villarreal began to attack with real gusto. Xhaka pointed to teammate Dani Ceballos to pick up Manuel Trigueros, who found himself free in the box, only for Ceballos to totally ignore the instruction and stare in horror as Trigueros fired a stunning effort into the bottom corner.

A nightmare start that could be easily rectified if Arsenal just kept their heads. But then again, this is Arsenal we’re talking about, a team that doesn’t “keep their heads” and roughly 24 minutes later, poor defending from a corner led to Villarreal doubling their advantage. No one picking up the back-post and the same shambolic defending that had been shown up earlier was again exposed as former Real Madrid defender Raúl Albiol turned in an unencumbered effort.

Arsenal apeal Dani Ceballos’ second booking.

Nicolas Pépé was brought down for a penalty, but VAR turned the decision over after a handball in the build-up.

Half-time could not come soon enough, with Villarreal looking like they were going to score with every single attack.

The second-half saw a drastic improvement in performance from Arsenal, who began to create more chances and began to keep the ball more. Anyone who saw Arsenal under Emery, knew that his Villarreal side were due the same fate.

But before Arsenal could do much more, their situation went from bad to worse as Dani Ceballos, already on a yellow card, was given a second (somewhat harsh) booking and was dismissed from the field of play. Though former Tottenham and Watford midfielder Étienne Capoue met the same fate later in the game, it was of small comfort, especially when Ceballos should have been withdrawn much earlier.

Bukayo Saka burst into the penalty area and was tripped by goalscorer Manuel Trigueros, to hand Arsenal a lifeline. VAR checked the decision and was upheld, and Pépé, Arsenal’s only bright spot on the night calmly dispatched his penalty. Arsenal fans who were dreading a reverse of the Juan Román Riquelme situation from 2006 were spared that particular indignity.

Arsenal had a chance to draw level in the dying embers of the match as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s shot was blocked by Gerónimo Rulli, though the Gabonese hitman had slipped as he shot, which likely didn’t help matters.

The final whistle would have been welcome for both managers, who will leave the Estadio de la Cerámica feeling their team should have done more.

The performance of Dani Ceballos once again sent Arsenal fans into a frenzy as the Spaniard once again cost Arsenal a European tie. His poor marking, terrible zonal play, inability to make basic passes and his subsequent yellow card pretty much made the minds of Mikel Arteta and Edu up that the Spaniard will not be back at Arsenal next season.

Nicolas Pépé’s penalty has given Arsenal a lifeline they don’t deserve.

His performance was arguably one of the worst, but the decision to keep him on was yet another baffling one. Arteta has met criticism in recent weeks for leaving his substitutions far too late and his game management was again under scrutiny here. Though Arteta told CBS reporter James Benge that he was “planning to take Dani off“, it was still bafflinf that such a poor performance in the first-half hadn’t brought about his removal earlier still.

Emery, for all his faults, knew when to change things and when the tactics weren’t working and was not averse to making halftime subs (as was also shown on Thursday night).

The performance falls squarely on Arteta. It felt, once again, that the Spaniard was too smart for his own good. Poor selection in the draw at home to Fulham, had very much been his downfall and Thursday was no different.

Seeming to take heart from Pep Guardiola’s constant “revolving false-nine” tactic, Arteta decided to start the game without a recognised forward, meaning that Emile Smith Rowe started through the middle, and Nicolas Pépé, the obvious choice, was shunted out wide.

Yet another baffling tactic was why Arteta refused to pick Gabriel Martinelli. Martin Ødegaard having just come back from injury seemed like a poor suit to Arsenal’s gameplan, who needed a far more frenetic press. Though the Norwegian is no stranger to a high press when needed, having only just come back rom injury, he seemed to be a risk not worth taking.

Arsenal have been granted an impossible lifeline in the tie now, but they will need to perform much better than this if they are to stand a chance of reaching the final and given the blistering form of Manchester United on Thursday night and the likelihood of them reaching the final, Arsenal will not hold up if indeed they reach there.

Arsenal team:
  1.) Bernd Leno
21.) Calum Chambers
16.) Rob Holding (c)
22.) Pablo Marí
34.) Granit Xhaka
18.) Thomas Party
  8.) Dani Ceballos 🔴
  7.) Bukayo Saka (Aubameyang 85’)
11.) Martin Ødegaard (Martinelli 63’)
19.) Nicolas Pépé (Willian 95’)
32.) Emile Smith Rowe (Elneny 95’)

Arsenal subs:
33.) Maty Ryan
53.) Arthut Okonkwo
23.) David Luiz
  6.) Gabriel Magalhães
  2.) Héctor Bellerín
17.) Cédric Soares
25.) Mohamed Elneny
12.) Willian
24.) Reiss Nelson
14.) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
35.) Gabriel Martinelli
30.) Eddie Nketiah

Villarreal team:
13.) Gerónimo Rulli
  8.) Juan Foyth (Pérez Martínez 70’)
  3.) Raúl Albiol (c)
  4.) Pau Torres
24.) Alfonso Pedraza (Moreno 80’)
11.) Samuel Chukwueze
25.) Étienne Capoue 🔴
  5.) Dani Parejo
14.) Manuel Trigueros (Gómez)
  7.) Gerard Moreno
17.) Paco Alcácer (Coquelin 45’)

Villarreal subs:
  1.) Sergio Asenjo
  2.) Mario Gaspar
21.) Jaume Costa
  6.) Ramiro Funes Mori
15.) Pervis Estupiñán
18.) Alberto Moreno
30.) Yeremi Pino
19.) Francis Coquelin
32.) Álex Baena
23.) Moi Gómez
34.) Fer Niño
  9.) Carlos Bacca

Categories
20/21 First Team General Match Reports Premier League

Arsenal 0-1 Everton: Premier League – 23/04/2021

In the wake of the demolition of the European Super League, an extremely awkward fan’s forum in which Josh Kroenke managed to fit his foot and a large portion of his lower leg into his mouth, all before a crunch semi-final match against Unai Emery’s Villarreal, Arsenal fans likely just want this season over and done with.

The backdrop of Arsenal’s Premier League tie with Everton on Friday was set against the backdrop of a large-scale fan protest outside the Emirates Stadium, protesting Stan Kroenke’s continued ownership.

However, on the field, Mikel Arteta and his team needed to put the off-field drama to one side and focus on the football.

And, for all intents and purposes, Arsenal did just that. They started their game well with a couple of quick chances created, followed by long spells of possession. It perhaps speaks to how dull the first-half of football was at the Emirates Stadium, that the fan protests and the humorous signs being displayed on Twitter were far more entertaining things to be looking at rather than the football.

Granit Xhaka’s overcommitment led to the game’s only goal.

Though Arsenal were comfortably in charge in the first half and were perhaps the more likely of the two to score, a much better second-half was needed and Arsenal seemed to respond to that idea.

A more fluid attacking performance seemed to befit Arsenal’s gameplan and soon enough, Arsenal found themselves handed a penalty, which Nicolas Pépé confidently stepped up to take.

However, yet more VAR controversy met Arsenal. Following Dani Ceballos’ opening-goal being disallowed the previous Sunday, yet more VAR controversy followed. Ceballos was fouled in the penalty area and a penalty was given. A quick VAR review deemed that Ceballos was indeed fouled in the box, however, an offside was shown earlier in the build-up, which led to the decision being overruled.

We’re talking mere fractions here, fractions that have come to define Arsenal’s disappointingly poor season. As if the mere infinitesimal molecule of Pépé’s arm being offside in the build-up were hard to swallow, Everton’s first and only goal of the match was even worse.

Granit Xhaka overcommitted himself as Richarlison ran through and his somewhat tame cross was seemingly comfortably dealt with by Bernd Leno, only for the German goalkeeper to slip it through his own legs and arms and into the back of the net.

It was a major blow for Arsenal and the remaining twenty or so minutes were excruciatingly hard to watch.

The final whistle rang out and while the fans outside were protesting an absent and poor owner, had they been inside the stadium, they would no-doubt have booed.

An unusually bad day at the office for Bernd Leno.

The off-field drama may serve as a suitable shield for Arteta and his men for now, but questions still need to be asked.

It was an unfortunate day at the office for the usually excellent Bernd Leno. Leno was unceremoniously dropped from the starting XI for Maty Ryan last Sunday and the move seems to have robbed Leno of a little confidence as a result. Though this was hopefully a mere blip for the goalkeeper, it was a tremendously catastrophic error.

VAR once again was centre of the controversy and Mikel Arteta made his feelings known after the match.

This has been building up. Enough is enough. Today I have had enough, we’ve had many of them that nobody explains. It affects a lot of people, our job and most importantly our football club.

A furious Mikel Arteta post-match

The injustice of the decision still standing and the FA’s inconsistent application of the system has people furious with how the game is being treated. Clear and obvious errors seem to be scrapped for offsides where the rules are constantly changing. Pépé’s arm was offside, slightly, however, given that Pépé is unable to score with his arm, the decision feels harsh and very out of line with the line that the FA have been putting out every week.

Arteta’s game management once again comes under fire as the Spaniard continues to leave his substitutions until far too late in the game. Attacking changes of Ødegaard and Martinelli were not made until the 74th minute and the usual groan-inducing introduction of flop Willian in the 83rd minute was also too late.

All in all, it was yet another poor showing in the league from Arsenal, who now face a trip to a familiar face in Unai Emery, who will be eager to shoot his former club down.

Arsenal team:
  1.) Bernd Leno
21.) Calum Chambers (Willian 83’)
16.) Rob Holding (c)
22.) Pablo Marí
34.) Granit Xhaka
18.) Thomas Partey
  8.) Dani Ceballos
  7.) Bukayo Saka
32.) Emile Smith Rowe
19.) Nicolas Pépé (Ødegaard 74’)
30.) Eddie Nketiah (Martinelli 74’)

Arsenal subs:
33.) Maty Ryan
  6.) Gabriel Magalhães
17.) Cédric Soares
  2.) Héctor Bellerín
25.) Mohamed Elneny
12.) Willian
11.) Martin Ødegaard
24.) Reiss Nelson
35.) Gabriel Martinelli

Everton team:
  1.) Jordan Pickford
23.) Séamus Coleman
22.) Ben Godfrey
  4.) Mason Holgate
12.) Lucas Digne
  6.) Allan
21.) André Gomes (Delph 66’)
  7.) Richarlison (Mina 89’)
19.) James Rodríguez (Davies 86’)
10.) Gylfi Sigurðsson
  9.) Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Everton subs:
33.) Robin Olsen
13.) Yerry Mina
18.) Niels Nkounkou
  8.) Fabian Delph
20.) Bernard
26.) Tom Davies
17.) Alex Iwobi
34.) Nathan Broadhead
11.) Joshua King

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20/21 First Team General Match Reports Premier League

Arsenal 1-1 Fulham Athletic: Premier League – 18/04/2021

Given all the talk of European Super Leagues and the potential calamitous fallout therein, Arsenal fans could be forgiven for forgetting that there was actually some football played recently.

Just before the news that shocked the football world to its very core, Arsenal were due to strut their ever-increasingly unimpressive stuff at home to Fulham Athletic.

The team that Mikel Arteta named was drastically different than everyone had been expecting, especially after Arsenal’s recent 0-4 win over Slavia Prague. Bernd Leno, Calum Chambers, Pablo Marí, Thomas Partey and Nicolas Pépé were all unceremoniously dropped in favour of some of the more fringe players to give them some game time.

Given Arsenal’s upcoming match against Everton on Friday night and the crunch Europa League semi-final tie with Villarreal the following Thursday, the tactical strategy made sense.

The game started fairly well for Arsenal, with plenty of chances being created. Though Arsenal failed to actually put any in the back of the net, there was plenty that happened to give Arsenal confidence moving forward.

The team struggled to actually open the scoring however, with the Fulham defence as resolute as ever, given how different they are from their opening day thrashing from the Gunners.

Gabriel Martinelli in action for Arsenal.

Finally, Arsenal seemed to break the deadlock! An expert cross from the right flank from Héctor Bellerín was met expertly by Dani Ceballos to grab his first-ever Premier League goal, only for the goal to be disappointingly ruled out by VAR. It seemed to be the thinest of margins and Arsenal had every right to enter half-time a little hard done by.

However, Arsenal never really seemed to recover. Fulham found their way back into the game and a somewhat soft penalty courtesy of summer signing Gabriel Magalhães was expertly dispatched by Josh Maja to give Fulham the lead.

Arsenal struggled to create from there. The constant misplacing of passing was a frustratingly prevalent feature of the team’s play and the injury sustained by Alexandre Lacazette did very little to lighten the mood.

Despite their posturing, Arsenal were simply unable to draw level, despite several good chances. Eventually, in the dying embers of the match, Arsenal had a corner.

It’s always comical whenever goalkeepers venture upfield for corners and this was no different as Maty Ryan pushed upfield, however, when his header produced a desperate scramble in the box for a shot to be parried into Eddie Nketiah’s path for the equaliser, no one was laughing then.

The final whistle blew out on a disappointed Scott Parker and no doubt embarrassed Mikel Arteta.

While the post-match press conference featured for some awkward questions about a European Super League that Arteta had very clearly not been briefed about beforehand, the performance seemed to fall at Arteta’s door.

Eddie Nketiah celebrates his late equaliser.

The team selection seemed arrogantly self-assured and seemed to do nothing for the team’s fortunes. Maty Ryan gave a good account of himself once more, but why on earth Bernd Leno was ever dropped from the starting eleven remains to be seen. Another poor performance from Héctor Bellerín did not justify the decision to drop Calum Chambers and Gabriel Magalhães’ penalty incident seemed to leave questions as to whyPablo Marí was dropped as well.

While it can be argued that focus is being reserved for more important matches, this was an equally essential game to win as well! Two points dropped at home to a relegation candidate will not go down well in the cold light of day.

Mohamed Elneny’s performance seemed to be a reversion to type from the Egyptian as well. Capable of stunningly heartful and energetic performances one week and then back to plain and rigid mediocrity for the next six, it’s difficult for Arsenal fans to not lose patience with the midfielder, for whom every pass seems to go sideways or backwards and who was seen constantly demanding the ball from teammates despite his poor positioning.

The substitutions that Arteta introduced were equally disappointing as the Spaniard again left things far too late in the game. Though the subs themselves had a good impact, Arsenal fans were again left stunned that such changes had taken so long to impliment.

The focus now returns to the Premier League with one eye on the Europa League too, and although Arsenal are now out of the proposed European Super League, fans are justified to look at this performance and ask why on earth they were ever invited in the first place.

Arsenal team:
33.) Maty Ryan
  2.) Héctor Bellerín (Pépé 68′)
16.) Rob Holding
  6.) Gabriel Magalhães
34.) Granit Xhaka
25.) Mohamed Elneny (Partey 68′)
  8.) Dani Ceballos
  7.) Bukayo Saka
32.) Emile Smith Rowe
35.) Gabriel Martinelli
  9.) Alexandre Lacazette (Nketiah 70′)

Arsenal subs:
  1.) Bernd Leno
22.) Pablo Marí
21.) Calum Chambers
17.) Cédric Soares
18.) Thomas Partey
12.) Willian
24.) Reiss Nelson
19.) Nicolas Pépé
30.) Eddie Nketiah

Fulham Athletic team: 
1.) Alphonse Areola
34.) Ola Aina
  5.) Joachim Andersen (c)
16.) Tosin Adarabiyo
33.) Antonee Robinson
14.) Bobby De Cordova-Reid
29.) André-Frank Zambo Anguissa
18.) Mario Lemina
19.) Ademola Lookman (Reed 69’)
27.) Josh Maja (Loftus-Cheek 77’)
17.) Ivan Cavaleiro (Bryan 84’)

Fulham Athletic subs:
31.) Fabri
  3.) Michael Hector
13.) Tim Ream
23.) Joe Bryan
  4.) Denis Odoi
15.) Ruben Loftus-Cheek
21.) Harrison Reed
25.) Josh Onomah
  9.) Alexander Mitrović

Categories
20/21 Europa League First Team Match Reports Uncategorized

Slavia Prague 0-4 Arsenal: Europa League – 15/04/2021

Given the nightmare of their first-leg performance against Slavia Prague, Arsenal entered their second-leg tie with a feeling of foreboding. Thursday night was a must-win game and anything other than a win (or a high-scoring draw) would result in elimination.

This was a particularly daunting task as Slavia Prague had not lost at home since 2019 and have been one of the toughest nuts to crack for most of the teams they’ve played.

This, however, did not seem to unsettle Arsenal as much as one would have thought it would. Arsenal’s mentality in recent months has been under harsh criticism as the team has slumped to defeat to draw to another loss without a second’s thought.

Thursday night, therefore, provided something of a rest-bite from the usual mentality, as Arsenal came flying out of the gate.

Fresh off the back of their 0-3 demolition of Sheffield United, Arsenal attacked with the same gusto that had served them so well on Sunday. Emile Smith Rowe actually had the ball in the back of the net before a lengthy VAR check deemed the goal to be offside.

This did not deter Arsenal though. The team seemed to take the decision as a great personal insult and began to attack Slavia with everything they had.

It didn’t take long for Arsenal to get the game where they wanted it. A mazy run through the defence from Emile Smith Rowe allowed him to play in Nicolas Pépé, who dinked a cute finish over the goalkeeper to grab his second goal of the tie and give Arsenal a deserved lead.

Nicolas Pépé gives Arsenal a deserved lead.

But Arsenal weren’t resting on their laurels, as Smith Rowe picked out Saka in the penalty area, only for the England youngster to be brought down in the box by Jakub Hromada for a penalty, which was promptly dispatched by captain Alexandre Lacazette.

Arsenal looked dangerous with every single attack and whatever hopes Slavia Prague had of saving the tie were quickly extinguished as Arsenal added a third right before half-time, with an excellent run from Saka, who shifted the ball onto his favoured left-foot and smashed it in the bottom corner to put the game beyond doubt.

Much like against Sheffield United, Arsenal hadn’t really wanted half-time to come! The second-half was a bit of a staler affair for both sides. Slavia failed to really put a dent on Arsenal and Arsenal were happy to sit back and enjoy their 0-3 advantage.

However, it didn’t mean that Arsenal wouldn’t attempt to attack where possible, soon enough, Granit Xhaka’s excellent through-ball found Nicolas Pépé, who squared the ball to Lacazette, who had all the time in the world to shift the ball past two defenders and smash the ball into the net with his weaker foot to well and truly kill the game off.

The final-whistle was certainly a welcome affair for Slavia, but for Arsenal, it signified a job well done.

It was a fantastic team performance, but there were a number of individual standouts, not least from Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, the latter of which was unlucky not to find himself with a goal to his name.

The two Hale End graduates were at the heart of everything that was great about Arsenal and their attack. Slavia simply couldn’t handle the blistering pace of the counter attack or their quick feet! Smith Rowe and Saka seem to have developed something of a shorthand in their play, as was also evidenced when Arsenal beat West Brom 0-4. The duo were simply unstoppable and Saka seems to be asking questions of England manager Gareth Southgate as to whether or not he will be on the plane for the EUROs in the summer.

Arsenal celebrate.

It was another brilliant performance from Pablo Marí as well. While Granit Xhaka’s composed performance at left-back, Calum Chambers’ strong performance on the right flank and Rob Holding’s aggressive tackles will likely recieve the plaudits, Marí’s performance was one that will fly under the radar.

Holding seems to thrive on a good-cop-bad-cop dynamic, something that worked excellently when he snuffed out Diego Costa in the 2017 FA Cup final and he seemed to thrive off it with Marí too. Marí was cool, calm and composed and played out from the back with total ease and was happy to clear up his teammate’s messes (not that there were too many of those).

And last, but by no means least, Alexandre Lacazette. It ever there was a captain’s performance from an Arsenal player, it was this one. It was the sort of performance that typified all that is great and all there is to love about Lacazette. The Frenchman was at the heart of the attacking moves Arsenal strung together. He was strong in the tackle and his dogged determinedness to win the ball at all costs was essential to the victory and a nice fix for him after a disastrous first-leg performance. Lacazette’s stance of taking the knee in the face of racism, staring down the opposition without a flicker of fear in his eyes is worth more than a 100 goals.

Next up for Arsenal is Fulham, then Everton and then it’s a trip to the Estadio de la Cerámica, for a match-up against former manager Unai Emery, who will almost certainly be out to prove a point as he looks to win yet another Europa League.

Arsenal team:
  1.) Bernd Leno
21.) Calum Chambers
16.) Rob Holding
22.) Pablo Marí
34.) Granit Xhaka
18.) Thomas Partey (Cédric Soares 79’)
  8.) Dani Ceballos
  7.) Bukayo Saka (Martinelli 79’)
32.) Emile Smith Rowe (Smith Rowe 67’)
19.) Nicolas Pépé (Balogun 88’)
  9.) Alexandre Lacazette (c) (Nketiah 79’)

Arsenal subs:
33.) Maty Ryan
45.) James Hillson
  6.) Gabriel Magalhães
  2.) Héctor Bellerín
17.) Cédric Soares
25.) Mohamed Elneny
66.) Miguel Azeez
12.) Willian
24.) Reiss Nelson
35.) Gabriel Martinelli
30.) Eddie Nketiah
38.) Folarian Balogun

Slavia Prague team:
  1.) Ondřej Kolář
  5.) Alexander Bah (Višinský 45′)
  3.) Tomáš Holeš
  6.) David Zima
18.) Jan Bořil (c) (Dorley 45′)
  7.) Nicolae Stanciu (Lingr 45′)
25.) Jakub Hromada (Masopust 45′)
17.) Lukáš Provod
23.) Petr Ševčík
16.) Jan Kutcha (Tecl 71′)
  9.) Peter Olayinka

Slavia Prague subs:
13.) Jan Stejskal
31.) Přemsyl Kovář
32.) Ondrej Lingr
27.) Ibrahim Traoré
19.) Oscar Dorley
41.) Denis Višinský
28.) Lukáš Masopust
12.) Abdallah Sima
11.) Stanislav Tecl

Categories
20/21 First Team General Match Reports Premier League

Sheffield United 0-3 Arsenal: 11/04/2021

Following a disappointing draw in the Europa League, Arsenal are staring down the barrel of yet another season without European football. That coupled with injuries to key players Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Emile Smith Rowe, David Luiz, Kieran Tierney and Martin Ødegaard, Arsenal fans could be excused for thinking that luck is very much against them at the moment.

However, a trip to Sheffield United was a good chance to right the wrongs of Thursday night and to get back to winning ways, given Sheffield United’s position and being on course for one of the worst finishes ever seen in a Premier League relegation scrap.

Arsenal started the game at a thunderous pace. The selection of Gabriel Martinelli seemed to pay dividends early on as Arsenal began to attack with real gusto, the Brazilian coming close on a number of occasions.

The freedom of Bukayo Saka in the middle of the park seemed to really open up Arsenal creatively, who were able to expand the play to the flanks with relative ease.

It was totally unsurprising (which is in itself surprising) to see Arsenal take the lead early on. Excellent work from Saka in the middle of the park, saw him link up well with Thomas Partey and Dani Ceballos, who’s backheeled pass found its way into Alexandre Lacazette’s path, who promptly curled the ball into the far corner to give Arsenal the lead.

Alexandre Lacazette celebrates giving Arsenal a well-deserved lead.

It was a goal with class written all over it and with the sort of creative flair that Arsène Wenger would have been proud of.

It was therefore surprising to see half-time beckon with Arsenal only a goal to the good. Arsenal had been putting Sheffield to the sword all half and were perhaps unlucky not to be two or three up.

The second-half saw a more improved performance from Sheffield United, who began to start creating chances, but they were still far behind Arsenal, who stepped things up a gear.

Before long, Arsenal found themselves two-up, when Nicolas Pépé’s effort was palmed out by Aaron Ramsdale into the path of Gabriel Martinelli, who promptly dispatched a deserved goal for both club and player.

Martinelli had been playing so well all game that to grab a goal was a worthy return for the youngster.

Finally, Arsenal wrapped things up in style. A terrific turn on the halfway line from Thomas Partey and a slide-rule pass saw him dispatch Lacazette once more. Whatever doubts Arsenal fans had about the Frenchman following his disappointing miss against Slavia Prague in midweek were quickly assuaged as the former Lyon man buried the ball in the near corner, sending Ramsdale the wrong way and grabbing his 50th Premier League goal in Arsenal colours.

From there, Arsenal were able to take their foot off the proverbial gas and cruise until the final-whistle.

A deserved goal from an outstanding player. Gabriel Martinelli celebrates Arsenal’s second.

It was an outstanding performance, as unique in its quality as it was typical in its frustration from fans who will no doubt be wondering why Arsenal are so incapable of producing performances akin to this every week.

Mikel Arteta rolled the dice a little with his tactical selections. Given the absence of Kieran Tierney, Arsenal decided to play Granit Xhaka at left-back. Though Xhaka is no stranger to the position, having featured there a few times under Unai Emery, it was a little surprising to see that Bukayo Saka, who deputised in the role for most of last season, was given the chance in the middle of the park instead.

Though Xhaka’s performance was likely helped by Sheffield United’s total unwillingness to attack, the Swiss international should be commended for a composed and assured performance as Arsenal managed to keep their first clean sheet in fourteen games.

The performance of Gabriel Martinelli was also hugely encouraging. In recent months, Arsenal have been perhaps a little goal-shy and scared to take on the shot whenever the situation calls for it, however, Martinelli faced no such qualms, testing keeper Aaron Ramsdale at every opportunity he could and his goal was a worthy return for such a brilliant performance.

Elsewhere, Alexandre Lacazette’s performance in midweek seemed to serve as the catalyst for the striker’s performance in front of goal. His composure, link-up play and dogged determination were essential to Arsenal’s victory and he showed Mikel Arteta that there is still a player here willing to fight, not just for his place, but for the good of the team.

The biggest game of Arsenal’s season so far beckons on Thursday night, with Arsenal in dire need of an away goal or else face elimination, but with a performance like this, Arsenal can go in confident, if nothing else.

Arsenal team:
  1.) Bernd Leno
21.) Calum Chambers
16.) Rob Holding
22.) Pablo Marí
34.) Granit Xhaka
18.) Thomas Partey
  8.) Dani Ceballos
19.) Nicolas Pépé
  7.) Bukayo Saka (Willian 69’)
35.) Gabriel Martinelli (Elneny 83’)
  9.) Alexandre Lacazete (c) (Nketiah 89’)

Arsenal subs:
33.) Maty Ryan
  6.) Gabriel Magalhães
17.) Cédric Soares
  2.) Héctor Bellerín
25.) Mohamed Elneny
66.) Miguel Azeez
12.) Willian
24.) Reiss Nelson
30.) Eddie Nketiah

Sheffield United team:
  1.) Aaron Ramsdale
22.) Ethan Ampadu
12.) John Egan
  3.) Enda Stevens
  2.) George Baldock
  7.) John Lundstram
16.) Ollie Norwood (c)
  4.) John Fleck
23.) Ben Osborn
14.) Ollie Burke (Brewster 64’)
17.) David McGoldrick (McBurnie 64’) (Mousset 83’)

Sheffield United subs:
18.) Wes Foderingham
15.) Phil Jagielka
20.) Jayden Bogle
13.) Max Lowe
29.) Kean Bryan
34.) Iliman Ndiaye
11.) Lys Mousset
  9.) Oli McBurnie
24.) Rhian Brewster