Arsenal will hope to continue their momentum run form by record their second successive win all competitions when they face Sheffield United in FA Cup quarter-final at Bramall Lane on Sunday afternoon.
Mikel Arteta’s will trip to Bramall Lane on Sunday with good heart, having secured a hard-fought 2-0 win over Southampton in midweek thanks to goals from Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock. It was their first win since the resumption of English football as well as the first away win for the club under manager Mikel Arteta.
However, free from the shackles and pressure of the Premier League, the Gunners could face an entirely different test when encounter with Sheffield United in the quarter-final of the FA Cup this afternoon.
Arsenal were 2-0 win over Portsmouth in the fifth round back in March thanks to goals from Sokratis, Eddie Nketiah, but it remains to be seen whether or not they can maintain their consistency away from home.
Sheffield United, on other hand, are not in the best of form since resumption of the campaign. The Blades have lacked defensive solidity since their return, failing to win any of their three fixtures.
They were held to a 0-0 draw against Aston Villa, suffered 3-0 defeats to Newcastle United before thrashed at Old Trafford by United when Anthony Martial’s sublime hat-trick helped the Red Devils steamroll Chris Wilder’s men.
But, on the positive side of things, the Sheffield United players won’t have to worry about their recent rough patch in the Premier League, when they take the field for their FA Cup fixture. And given the nature of cup ties, the underdogs always seem to have the upper hand due to their athleticism and discipline.
Here, at Sportarena, we will run the rule over these two sides as they lock horns in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup this weekend.
Tactics & Team News
Manager Chris Wilder has been receive major boosted by the return of goalkeeper Dean Henderson and John Egan.
Both are available for the selection after Henderson missed their previous match against Manchester United since ineligible to play against his parent club while Egan was serving a suspension.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Henderson; Basham, Egan, Robinson; Baldock, Berge, Besic, Freeman, Osborn; Sharp, McBurnie
David Luiz will available for the selection after serving a suspension. The Brazilian extended his stay at Emirates stadium beyond this month by signing a one-year contract.
Luiz surely isn’t favoured by the fans right now, following a disastrous display against Manchester City. But, with Mikel Arteta likely to shuffle his side on Sunday, he might start in defence.
Gabriel Martinelli become latest player to be ruled out of season along Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers.
Lucas Torreira is being reintegrated into training and could soon be available while Cedric Soares who yet to make debut for Arsenal since arrived at the club in January transfer window expected to make his debut latest today.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Martinez; Mustafi, Luiz, Holding; Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Willock, Saka; Nelson, Lacazette, Nketiah
- Sheffield United and Arsenal last faced each other in the FA Cup back in March 2005 in a fifth-round replay; after a goalless draw, the Gunners won 4-2 on penalties at Bramall Lane.
- Arsenal have won just one of their lasteight away matches against Sheffield United in all competitions (D4 L3), a 3-0 win in October 2007 in the League Cup.
- Sheffield United last played in an FA Cup quarter-final in 2013-14 as a League One side, winning 2-0 against Charlton Athletic to progress to that season’s semi-final, where they lost 5-3 to Hull City.
- Arsenal have progressed from 13 of their last 15 FA Cup quarter-final matches, losing in this run in 2010-11 against Manchester United and 2015-16 against Watford.
- Sheffield United’s six FA Cup goals this season have been scored by different players (Jack Robinson, Leon Clarke, Muhamed Besic, Oliver Norwood, David McGoldrick, Billy Sharp); they last had more scorers in a season back in 2013-14 (nine).
Player to Watch
David Luiz has made a lot of headlines in recent weeks, both on and off the pitch. And after signing a rather shocking one-year contract extension, the onus will be on him to produce the goods and prove his critics wrong.
A solid performance against a club like Sheffield United could serve as a real confidence booster. An empty stadium, albeit an away one, also works in favour of Luiz, who was expected to receive a lot of criticism over his recent performances.
But, with Arsenal likely to switch back to a three-man back-line, the Brazilian’s experience and excellent ball-playing quality could come in handy.
Earlier this year, Luiz was seen excelling with his build-up play under Arteta. And he is more than capable of replicate those performances if he gets enough freedom this weekend.