Arsenal will look to truly ignite the Mikel Arteta era when they host Sheffield United on Saturday.
The Gunners have certainly upped their performance levels since the former midfielder took his place in the dugout, but have still only managed just two wins from his five games in charge so far.
But if they think victory will come easily against Sheffield United, they are gravely mistaken — the Blades currently sit sixth in the Premier League table, four points and four places above the Gunners after beating West Ham 1-0 last time out.
Can Arteta inspire the Gunners to victory or will Chris Wilder’s Blades keep up their European charge? Read on for our preview, predictions, team news and more.
When is Arsenal vs Sheffield United and where can I watch live?
Competition: Premier League
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Date: Saturday, 18 January 2019
Kick-off: 3:00 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): N/A
Last five meetings: Arsenal vs Sheffield United
21 Oct 2019: Sheffield United 1-0 Arsenal (Premier League)
23 Sep 2008: Arsenal 6-0 Sheffield United (League Cup)
31 Oct 2007: Sheffield United 0-3 Arsenal (League Cup)
30 Dec 2006: Sheffield United 1-0 Arsenal (Premier League)
23 Sep 2006: Arsenal 3-0 Sheffield United (Premier League)
Aggregate Score: Arsenal (LWWLW) 12-2 Sheffield United (WLLWL)
Ones to watch
Arsenal: Alexandre Lacazette
With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang suspended, the goalscoring burden for Arsenal will fall firmly at the feet of Alexandre Lacazette.
The Frenchman’s overall contribution to the Gunners’ build-up play continues to be invaluable but five goals in 15 Premier League appearances is nowhere near enough for a player of his quality.
If Arsenal are to quickly climb the table, Lacazette will need to rediscover his golden touch.
Key stat: Lacazette is without a goal in his last six Arsenal appearances across all competitions.
Sheffield United: John Fleck
Few players have contributed more to Sheffield United’s stunning Premier League return than John Fleck.
The Scottish midfielder injects Wilder’s side with the perfect blend of defensive industry and attacking ingenuity, breaking up opposition attacks with just as much effectiveness as he spearheads his own.
If the Blades are to take a result from north London, Fleck will play a key role.
Key stat: Fleck ranks second at Sheffield United in terms of chances created (29), dribbles completed (27) and assists (2) in the Premier League this season.
Arsenal will be without captain Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang for the visit of Sheffield United after the Gabonese forward was sent off against Crystal Palace.
Lucas Torreira, Calum Chambers and Kieran Tierney are all injured while Hector Bellerin is a doubt.
Predicted XI: Leno; Maitland-Niles, Luiz, Sokratis, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Guendouzi; Pepe, Ozil, Martinelli; Lacazette.
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Wilder continues to have good fortune with regards to injuries, with reserve ‘keepers Simon Moore and Michael Verrips the only doubts for Saturday’s game.
Predicted XI: Henderson; Basham, Egan, O’Connell; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens; McBurnie, Mousset.
The Gunners still aren’t setting the world alight, but the performance levels have certainly improved under Arteta and a strong run of results feels just around the corner.
Sheffield United will be a robust test and continue to look at home in the Premier League but Arsenal should seal only their seventh win of the season here.
Scoreline prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Sheffield United
Check out more of Squawka’s Premier League predictions here.