Sheffield United vs. Arsenal – PL preview – Monday 21st October 2019 – Bramall Lane, Sheffield.
Time to end once and for all our away day “rustiness” in the Steel City
We’re off to the Steel City on Monday.
Our away form has been rusty over the past few seasons, but then this can be a game to make it as sure as steel again. Let’s reinforce our away form, after some years of slackness, starting with a high-grade win in the city of steel.
Sheffield United are doing something that their city neighbours (who are in some ways more illustrious based on trophies won) Sheffield Wednesday haven’t done in many years. Play in the Premier League. Thus far, they are holding their own.
They lost narrowly to Liverpool at home.
And got a good draw at Chelsea. They would continue this respectable top-six trend by getting a good game vs. ourselves.
There also is some past history between our clubs – the 1996 3rd round FA Cup defeat to them was a pivotal point in that season. And possibly was a minor point in the downfall of then manager Bruce Rioch. Let’s not forget club legend Kanu’s “goal” in the FA Cup in 1999, and David Seaman’s wonder-save in the 2003 FA Cup semi-final at Old Trafford.
Sheff. Utd knows that we can be weak in midfield and defence, and they will look to get in our faces and expose our faults.
This won’t be an easy game at all, and we need to be up for it both tactically and mentally.
United will be hoping for the same old Arsenal – that is the weak and soft Arsenal.
We need to move beyond this and be a different Arsenal. A steelier and more studier one, unlike our away form since the 16/17 season.
United would be looking to sustain themselves in the Premier League, and would a good result here would make them more assured of this.
They would be looking for the same old Arsenal. we need to expunge (or smelt down – to continue the metallic metaphor…) the “same old Arsenal”.
It’s about time we got back to our good away form of previous years. We know where we are failing away from home. But we have, supposedly, a better side now. And a head coach who is tactically adaptable. For most of the past twenty years, we used to get 7 to 8 away wins per season, at the least. Our recent poor away form has been, along with bad defending, the reason we’ve not got top four and thus Champions League football.
I’m wanting this game to be a benchmark and a line in the sand, where we can expel the negativity of the past few years away and make a new beginning.
This is a litmus test to see if we can shake our away day malaise of recent years.
The “banter spectacle” has been on Man United and Spurs lately. But they and the media would love to turn the tables on us, should we not get the desired result here. Let’s NOT let this happen – since we shouldn’t usurp the woes and trials of United and Spurs concerning media coverage.
It’s really time for Tierney to start. He has had time to recover and regroup, and he needs to play regularly now.
Holding and Bellerin had longer-term injuries, and may need more time to come back. Though Lacazette could return, and he could provide a more physical and dynamic edge up top.
What’s more, is that we need no defensive errors. All of our defenders, even the new ones like Tierney, need to be on point. Luiz was on club duty in Rwanda, and visited some gorillas in the forest. He needs to be less “ape” in his defending, as do all of our other players.
Sheffield United would have studied our games, such as the Spurs, Villa, Watford and even Bournemouth win, and seen that we can be got at if needed. So we cannot take this lightly and have to be resolute throughout.
If not, then we may not win. But if we can, and we can utilise our superior quality, we can strike get the win here.
The formation here may seem a bit odd. But then I feel we need to dominate the midfield, since they will be resolute, and look to press and contain us. They may go under the premise that “they don’t like it up ’em!” We need to counter that, hence the midfield diamond.
Pepe will play in a slightly free/loose role and supported by Auba up top, with Ceballos in the number 8 role. Xhaka is a long-range passer by trade, but then he is adept at matching others’ physicality. Torreira needs to be less advanced than normal here, and Guendouzi needs to rely on his strength on holding onto the ball and linking the midfield and attack.
And to re-iterate no more defensive errors. Luiz has done well in recent games, but has warranted much of the criticism towards him. A player of his tenure and success should know better, in my view. This may be a game that Sokratis would relish, in that Sheffield United will look to get at us.
Sheff. United 1-2 Arsenal
The Blades would not lie down, and it’s a mistake to assume they’ll be easy. But hopefully, we can rust them, and from this point forward be a higher grade of alloy then what they can offer.
I see no reason why cannot get 10 away wins this season. We certainly should be getting closer to the top-six away record, which we were some way off last season.
Let’s start a new away day dawn – by clearing off the rust and build a new away day forge.