Sheffield United look to end their losing start to the new season as they visit Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Super Sunday in one match of a mid-afternoon Super Sunday double header.
Victory could return Arsenal to the top four even if only for a few hours at minimum, whereas Sheffield Utd could climb out of the relegation zone with a point if they draw and West Brom lose at Southampton earlier in day.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos is expected to return in defence for Arsenal after recovering from a calf injury.
Shkodran Mustafi (hamstring), Emile Smith Rowe (shoulder), Pablo Mari (ankle), Calum Chambers and Gabriel Martinelli (both knee) remain ruled out.
Sheffield Utd will be without Jack O’Connell for rest of season due to a serious knee injury.
Lys Mousset (toe) and Simon Moore (finger) remain absent.
- Arsenal are unbeaten in six of eight previous Premier League meetings against Sheffield United (W2, D4, L2), with all four draws finishing in 1-1 results.
- Sheffield Utd are winless in four previous trips to Arsenal (D2, L2), although there is a pattern of 1-1 draws either side of 3-0 defeats.
- Neither team have been awarded a penalty in eight previous Premier League meetings.
- Sheffield Utd’s Oli McBurnie has lost 18 aerial battles in three appearances this season, of which he appeared as a substitute in two league matches.
- Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos has played a joint league-high of three through balls in three opening matches alongside Everton’s James Rodriguez.
There seems to be a pattern to Premier League meeting between these teams at Arsenal’s ground in which the Gunners win 3-0 then draw 1-1 in their next home meeting against Sheffield United, which is a potential omen coming into this game after the pair drew 1-1 here in January as the Blades went unbeaten against all London based teams in the league last season.
Focusing on the present and Arsenal have made a great start aside from their 3-1 defeat at Liverpool last Monday which wasn’t too surprising given their poor away record at Anfield in the league, yet is a defeat which has probably benefitted them coming into this game after dumping the Reds out of the Carabao Cup on penalties on Thursday.
Sheffield Utd meanwhile put in a strong performance against Leeds last time which is full of positives despite suffering a late defeat to a superb Patrick Bamford header, so will be coming here confident of continuing their bounce back after a slow start to the season and have the motivation boost of having avoided defeat against every London team last season.
This therefore should be a cracking match because Arsenal will go for it given their superior quality but Chris Wilder’s Blades will dig in and I can see that pattern of results ending here, although Arsenal should have enough to get the win.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield United
Result: Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield United