Football News

Eddie Nketiah registers first Premier League hat-trick as Arsenal thrash Sheffield United

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 17:00, 28 October 2023

Arsenal maintained their unbeaten Premier League start with a resounding 5-0 win over newly promoted Sheffield United at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.

Mikel Arteta’s men came into this latest round of fixtures alongside North London rivals Tottenham as the league’s sole undefeated sides, but crucially dropped points last time out at Chelsea, even if they rescued a point from the jaws of defeat.

Interestingly, this contest happened to be the latest into an English top-flight season (10th game) that an unbeaten team (Arsenal) and a winless team (Sheffield United) have faced since 1923/24, when unbeaten Cardiff drew 1-1 at home with winless Preston in their 11th game of the campaign.

Having made four chances from that Stamford Bridge stalemate, which illustrates their consistent team selection under the Spanish tactician as this was their most alterations from one match to another this season, the Gunners were in no mood and swiftly inflicted a ninth defeat on the rock-bottom Yorkshire outfit.

Donning the armband (first-time from kick-off), with Martin Ødegaard dropped, celebrated academy graduate Bukayo Saka led the charge. He wasn’t involved with Arsenal’s opener. Declan Rice teeing up Eddie Nketiah, deputising in Gabriel Jesus’ absence, for his third goal of the Premier League season.

Nketiah soon after the break doubled his tally. Wes Foderingham palmed Saka’s inswinging corner into Nketiah’s path and moments later he completed a first-ever Premier League hat-trick. A stunning long-range effort no goalkeeper was going to stop. He also became the first Englishman to achieve this feat for Arsenal since Theo Walcott against West Brom in May 2015.

Fábio Vieira, who came on for Emile Smith Rowe, would net a late penalty before Takehiro Tomiyasu (replacing Ben White) made it five deep into stoppage time further compounding an already dejected Blades side. A fifth straight loss but there are upcoming fixtures with fellow strugglers Bournemouth and Burnley which they should identify as getting their season going.

Although in the realm of fantasy football Nketiah’s second was attributed to a Saka the Gunners skipper missed equalling an impressive streak. He came into today’s showdown having either scored (four) or assisted (three) a goal in seven of his eight Premier League appearances this season, including his last six in a row.

Alexis Sánchez (April 2016) was the last Arsenal player to score or assist a goal in seven consecutive league games while the last Englishman to do so for the club was Ian Wright (November 1994).

Being a team player it won’t keep Saka up late all night. His team stay two behind Spurs, with defending champions Manchester City three behind, and next up for the Gunners is a stern examination at Newcastle United.