Maybe Crayola should sponsor us – since we’re being drawn as much as their crayons.
The vibe in some quarters was that we were poor here.
I agree it wasn’t stellar.
But then – without any real bias attached – I don’t’ think Sheffield United had many major chances. They did get behind our defence a few times, but then their shots were either over the bar or things Leno handled capably.
This isn’t to knock Sheffield United, though – they are above us in the table and are doing very well on their return to the Premier League.
What cost us here, ultimately, was another defensive lapse in a critical point of the game. This happened vs. Chelsea and we couldn’t hold on like we did vs. Man United.
The first half had a reasonable pattern – the Blades tried to get behind and had the ball in our final third initially but not with any major chances.
We then stepped it up in the latter second half, with Pepe, Lacazette, and Martinelli going close.
Martinelli scored with a point-blank drive following a Saka cross.
We were not stellar, as aforementioned, but then we were passing the ball well towards the end of the half and warranted our lead.
The second half saw a similar pattern, though the Blades were rusty in their passing and didn’t really have major chances.
The equaliser from Fleck saw Maitland-Niles deflect a shot in from Fleck, and overall it was bittersweet.
I feel hard done by, personally, since I feel we did enough to win. We were not clinical enough, and whilst United had more shots on goal, I feel we had more clear chances.
These though were some points that stood out for me here:
Laca has had some, shall we say, prominent points emerge in his personal life.
Is this affecting his form? Who knows? Players are human. And they too have issues that can affect them.
But all the same – he has been poor lately.
I don’t think he’s a bad player at all. He and Firmino at Liverpool are the two best players of their type in the league – reminiscent of Bergkamp or Cantona in strikers who score goals but also drop deep and connect play from the number 10/8 positions.
Laca needs to step up and soon, and he may not be playing with his buddy Mr. Captain Auba when he returns from suspension. This is one of the worst peformances we’ve seen from Laca in his Arsenal career. Arguably THE worst.
Our German World Cup winner had a weak game. He tried to pass and move in the opening parts, but reverted to his pre-Arteta form.
Is Ozil the way forward? In my view, no. We need a creative force who is more mobile, and not many teams play with number tens these days. Liverpool and City don’t. Even Spurs don’t all the time.
I’m not being harsh on Ozil here – but he would silence many of the critics if he was more consistent.
Mustafi had a video on Arsenal’s Youtube, where he opened up on social media abuse amidst his less than able performances.
Today though, he wasn’t bad. There was a case in the first half, where he took the time to marshall the ball out for a goal kick but was caught by the United attacker.
Other than that though, he was stable.
It’s his sporadic play, as much as his publicised gaffes, that make him not at the level we need.
Despite some initial errors, he has looked very stable lately.
He marshalled the defence well, and kept out many United crosses and shots.
It’s up to him to keep it up, as our defence overall has had less apparent mistakes.
I’ve seen some say Pepe was poor here. I don’t agree. It wasn’t his best performance, granted.
But he did bring the ball well, and take on his last man.
it seems it was a part of our game plan. Many of our players were looking to get the ball in Pepe’s channel, and he set up some chances in the first half, and almost won a penalty.
Was it a pen? I can see why both Dean and the VAR fellow thought it wasn’t. To use the cliche though “I’ve seen them given…”
But this is Pepe’s game – he needs the ball to his feet to run at players. He is akin in many ways to Son, Salah, Mane or Mahrez, in that they all need the same game to exploit space and run at players.
He scored our goal – and his runs and movement were top notch.
Mr. Captain most likely posting from home – even said similar on his Twitter account:
He is one of our top scorers, and can be a big player in years to come.
Xhaka had a reasonable game, and has rehabilitated well after his indiscretion at home to Crystal Palace.
I feel we’re playing more to his strengths as a deep-lying playmaker, and perhaps Torreira is the best midfield partner for him.
Arteta – The line-up was OK though I feel we continued the hard-work and pressing we’ve seen in the last few games since he arrived. 6/10.
What let us down here was not concentrating for ninety minutes, and not being progressive enough in the second half.
Man of the match
Despite being the most inexperienced of our summer signings, he’s looked the best. Pound for pound, perhaps one of the best PL signings this season full-stop.