The Premier League returns with Bramall Lane readying itself to give one of football’s elite a bloody nose.
Sheffield United host Arsenal with Chris Wilder’s team edging into mid-table with a point at Vicarage Road last time out. The Gunners were unconvincing in their win over Bournemouth took three points to maintain their top-four place.
The formbook favours the visitors but the Blades have already shown this season that top-flight football holds no fear for them.
The bigger question is whether Unai Emery’s men have solved their travel sickness. Arsenal’s only away defeat so far came at Anfield but they look unconvincing.
Our Complete 2019/20 Premier League Preview, Predictions and Betting Tips foresaw different fates for both clubs. Are they confounding their critics?
Sheffield United vs Arsenal Predictions
Before a ball was kicked, Sheffield United were classed as relegation fodder but Chris Wilder team adapted quickly to top-flight football.
So far, their only poor result in the Premier League was the home defeat to Southampton. In all the remaining games played thus far, the Blades emerged not only with credit but also in some cases, unexpected point(s).
However, Bramall Lane is proving a graveyard for their ambitions. They come into this match on the back of three successive home defeats in all competitions and the same number in the Premier League. Things aren’t going as smoothly at home as they are away.
More worryingly, all three recent defeats have come with a 1 – 0 scoreline, underlining their problems in front of goal. Five players are joint-top of the Blades scoring charts with Bramall Lane witnessed just one match with over 2.5 goals this season in the Premier League, the 2 – 1 reverse against Leicester.
Since beating Crystal Palace in August, United’s only home win came against Blackburn in the Carabao Cup. Sunderland compounded the Blades home misery in the next round.
As Arsenal cruised to a 5 – 0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United slumped to a 1 – 0 defeat to the Black Cats. Home may be where the heart is but form has definitely been the preserve of their travels.
Hope, though, is never far away:
Arsenal’s record in Sheffield in the Premier League is terrible.
Against Wednesday they have won one, drawn two and lost five and versus the Blades won none, drawn two and lost one
— Orbinho (@Orbinho) October 19, 2019
Arsenal are unbeaten in eight (W5, D3) but only three of those games came away from home (W1, D2). The draws were both in the Premier League.
Therein is the Gunners problem: they continually drop points in games they need to win if they are to return to the Champions League.
Defensive fragility makes results harder work than they ought to be. In the final season of Arsene Wenger’s reign, they recorded four clean sheets away from home. Unai Emery has yet to reach that total in 23 away Premier League matches (2).
Things, Arsenal fans hope, will improve with Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding match fit. Spaniard Bellerin is likely to only feature from the bench but Calum Chambers has proven an adaptable and reliable deputy thus far.
Centrally, however, questions remain over the partnership of Luiz and Sokratis. For two experienced defenders, they are nervous and unsteady which transmits to the rest of their side.
Despite this, it is hard to look beyond an away win in our Sheffield United vs Arsenal predictions for no better reason than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
His seven goals have been vital, particularly in Alexandre Lacazette’s absence, and keep the Gunners in the top four.
All three of the Gabon international’s goals away from home were decisive, winning the match at Newcastle as well as gaining points at Watford and Manchester United.
Almost under the radar is Nicolas Pepe. Two assists, including for Luiz’s winner against Bournemouth, is a lower return than might be expected. However, six shots on target in his matches is the same as Aubameyang. It is surely only a matter of time before it comes right for him.
Sheffield United vs Arsenal Head to Head
In the previous 113 meetings, Arsenal recorded 48 wins to Sheffield United’s 39; 26 finished level.
It’s been 13 years since they met in the league, with Arsenal winning the two League Cup ties in the intervening years, scoring nine goals in the process.
Having been unbeaten in the first six October meetings (W3, D3), Sheffield United lost three of the last four in this month.
Sheffield United Team News
Chris Wilder faces an anxious few days at Oli McBurnie looks to shrug off a knee injury. David McGoldrick and John Fleck are also in a race against time to be fit for Monday night’s game.
The Blades boss is hoping to name an unchanged team from the one which drew at Watford on the last matchday.
Arsenal Team News
Unai Emery’s week was dominated by questions over Mesut Özil but the best the German can hope for is a place on the bench. An Arsenal away game in the North of England with Mesut Özil playing? There’s a first time for everything.
Alexandre Lacazette is in contention for a starting line-up place although given the previous conservatism over player fitness, it will be a surprise if the Frenchman is anything more than a substitute.
Hector Bellerin is in the same boat but Reiss Nelson won’t return until next month.
Sheffield United vs Arsenal Betting Tips
Home advantage counts for little in Novibet’s match odds with Arsenal favourites at 47/50.
Sheffield United, hoping to replicate their good performance against Liverpool, are 59/20 with the draw only marginally shorter at 57/20.
In the Blades last four games, the home side failed to score. Home Team Goal Markets show No Goals at 2/1 with the odds of NG at 5/4 in the Will both teams score in the Match (GG/NG) market. An Arsenal clean sheet in a Premier League away game? Not quite the first time for everything…