This weekend’s home fixture for Arsenal will see Mikel Arteta’s squad attempt to slip within a one-point distance of Sheffield United, should his side take away the full three points. The gunners will enter this matchup without their star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, after the red card he suffered last week against Crystal Palace. How will this affect Arteta’s squad and can Sheffield capitalize on the weakened strike-force that will be present? Let’s take a deeper delve into this week’s fixture and figure out a profitable betting angle.
Arsenal vs Sheffield United
3:30 pm GMT Kick-Off
Saturday, January 18th at The Emirates Stadium
THE BATTLE FOR EUROPE
Arsenal’s hopes of winning the league or even contending for the title may have evaporated, but with the fight for qualification into the Champions League still up for battle, Mikel Arteta will be focused on making sure his side take away the full three points in these crucial home-day matchups.
Unfortunately, Arsenal has no easy task at hand this weekend. They’ll be up against a Sheffield United squad who has continued to be the dark horse of the Premier League this season. After placing second in the EFL Championship last season they gained automatic promotion into the Premier League. They were expected to be fighting a relegation battle much the majority of Championship sides upon arrival to the big leagues.
Currently placed 6th in the league table, Arsenal is faced with a Sheffield side that is currently protecting a qualifying position into next season’s European Championship. Mikel Arteta has praised Sheffield manager Chris Wilder and his achievements at the club, the Arsenal squad have been warned and cannot afford to take the opposition lightly.
During their clash with Crystal Palace, an hour into the game Arsenal had given up their 1 nil lead and minutes following Aubameyang came in like a trooper on Max Meyer with a mistimed tackle and caught him on the ankle. The red card ban will cost him a starting position against Sheffield, Chelsea, and Bournemouth.
The Gabonese international sensation has bagged 4 goals in his previous 5 Premier League outings and has been a key attribute in the well-oiled strike-force at the Emirates. His absence will surely be a huge blow for Arsenal, but Lacazette & Martinelli will be ready to step up and cover for lost ground.
FORM, MENTALITY, NUMBERS & TRENDS
- Sheffield United have drawn six from eleven of their away games this season
- Since the arrival of Arteta, Arsenal have seen under 2.5 goals 5 out of 6 times
- Sheffield hasn’t managed a league double over Arsenal since the 1940s
- Tottenham have just 3 away wins from their previous 14 away fixtures
- Sheffield has conceded the 2nd least amount of goals this season with just 21
- Under 2.5 has landed in 8 of Sheffield’s previous 10 games
When we take a look at the current form and statistics, everything is pointing to the under. In the reverse fixture early this season, Arsenal was held to a 1 nil defeat on hostile territory and now they’ll be heading into the same fixture minus their top goal scorer Aubameyang. A low scoring affair would make complete sense considering the defensive style Chris Wilder has imposed this season.
Sheffield has averaged just 1.0 goal per 90 minutes of football during their previous 10 fixtures and in a similar fashion, since the arrival of Arteta at Arsenal; he’s accomplished a familiar trend with Arsenal averaging 1.0 goals per game as well. With the absence of Aubameyang, who has netted 50% of Arsenal’s goals in their last six games, a high scoring game doesn’t seem likely at the Emirates this weekend.
FINAL THOUGHT AND PREDICTION
Much like the first meeting, I predict a low scoring game with an extensive amount of play in the mid-field. Neither side should be able to penetrate the respective defences more than once per team. With that said, a clean sheet has been rare for Arsenal this term and we know Martinelli has found a respectable amount of success finding the net. I believe we’ll witness a low scoring affair but with a chance, each side can bag a goal.
Sheffield United will enter the Emirates with the second-best defensive record in the Premiership, which is an incredible achievement to make within the first season playing in the EPL. Their confidence will be high but Arteta shouldn’t allow his side to make the same mistakes as they did in the first game. A perfectly crossed set-piece from the corner lined came into the box and it all went down-hill from there. Arsenal defensive errors will be highlighted heading into this game and I envision Arsenal taking 1 point at the least.