Sheffield United-Arsenal Preview
Mikel Arteta is eager for Arsenal to turn Emirates Stadium into a "fortress" but is anticipating a difficult test there against Sheffield United on Sunday.
Arsenal are unbeaten in 10 Premier League games on home soil this calendar year and have won eight of those, most recently beating West Ham 2-1 late on two weeks ago.
United hardly look like the most daunting of visitors, having lost all three matches so far without scoring, though Arteta believes Chris Wilder's men have been hard done by.
"I think we can create a fortress for us at the Emirates," Arteta said. "I think it's going to be crucial for the future at the end of the season. "Not just the results but as well the performance, where we can inspire and transmit that form and play with that confidence at home. But I think the game on Sunday is a really difficult one. They have merited much more from their games. The way they played is tricky so I'm expecting a very difficult game."
Arsenal beat Liverpool on penalties in the EFL Cup last 16 on Thursday to make it five wins from six matches this term.
That is in stark contrast to United's run of four successive defeats in all competitions, but head coach Wilder has full faith in his players stopping the rot in north London.
"Watching this group over the past three or four years, and especially recently, to get to the position we're in the mentality of the group has to be strong," he said. "It's not the start that we wanted. But we have to believe that the next game is one that we can get a result in."
Arsenal - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Arsenal captain Aubameyang has scored 55 top-flight goals since joining Arsenal in January 2018 and has found the net against all but one of the opponents he has faced. The exception is Sheffield United, who he failed to score against in last season's 1-0 loss at Bramall Lane. The Gabon international will be looking to put that right on Sunday.
Sheffield United - Oliver Burke
United have fired blanks in all three league games so far in 2020-21 and recent signing Burke has started the last two of those. The Scotland international has managed just two shots so far and has failed to find the target with either, meaning an improvement is needed if his side are to have any hope.
- Arsenal's last victory over Sheffield United in the Premier League was back in September 2006 (3-0) – they are winless in their three meetings in the competition since (D1 L2), with their only goal in this run coming in the 1-1 draw at Emirates Stadium last season.
- Wilder's side are unbeaten in their last nine league games in London (W4 D5) - their longest ever run without defeat in the English capital.
- Arsenal have only failed to score in three of their last 72 home league games, with all of those coming against Manchester City.
- United have only lost each of their first four games to a league season twice before - in 1995-96 (second tier) and 1966-67 (top flight). They have never previously failed to score in each of their opening four league games in a single campaign before.
- Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 40 Premier League home games against sides starting the day in the relegation zone (W38 D2) since a 1-0 loss against West Ham in April 2007. The Gunners' current streak is the longest ever such unbeaten run in the competition.
Updated October 2, 2020