Football Features

Bramall Lane curse is real: Five things learned from Sheffield United 1-0 Arsenal

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 22:05, 21 October 2019

Arsenal endured another miserable away day in the Premier League as Sheffield United inflicted a 1-0 defeat on them at Bramall Lane.

Unai Emery’s men had been on a five-game unbeaten streak heading into Monday evening’s showdown but they came unstuck as The Blades returned to winning ways.

Lys Mousset, making his first Premier League start under Chris Wilder ultimately decided the contest ten minutes before the first half ended, and by holding out for all three points this marked a third win since playing back in English football’s top division.

With the dust beginning to settle, here are five things we learned from this encounter…

1. Winless streak continues

Bramall Lane remains the final frontier for Arsenal in the Premier League. Going into tonight’s game they’ve played more times at this stadium without registering a victory. Before this evening their last top division victory came in April 1991: one defeat and three draws would subsequently follow.

Unai Emery was hoping to deny five missed wins on the bounce; however the footballing gods had other ideas, a second defeat in this part of the Steel City had further consequences. Success here would have extended Arsenal’s winning streak in Yorkshire to eight successive Premier League games won in God’s Own County, nevertheless seven-in-a-row is the longest winning run by an away side in the county across English top-flight history.

2. Aubadependencia

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is on course to go down as one of Arsene Wenger’s greatest signings for the Gunners if he hasn’t already made that impressive list which is no doubt headed by his spiritual predecessor Thierry Henry.

The 30-year-old Gabonese marksman is living up to his incredible goalscoring reputation but it seems whenever he doesn’t score on the road Arsenal struggle to pick up all three points. He’s responsible for 80% of their Premier League away goals this season (4/5), with Lucas Torreira scoring the other at Anfield.

3. No first half famine

Sheffield United are not what you’d call serial goalscorers. Heading into matchday nine The Blades, who have bagged seven goals, only managed to outscore three clubs – Watford (4), Newcastle United (5) and Everton (6) – with all but one of those strikes (Yerry Mina’s own goal in the 2-0 win at Goodison Park last month) coming in the first 45 minutes.

It comes as no surprise to find out their efforts in the first 45 minutes is the poorest return of any Premier League side so far this season. That trend didn’t continue tonight as Lys Mousset, making his first start for The Blades netted goal number one at Bramall Lane, which put them in front on the half hour mark.

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4. My kingdom for a clean sheet on the road

Arsenal have not exactly been the best of travellers in the Premier League under Unai Emery who have lost as much times as they’ve won on the road. Aside from chalking up positive results the Gunners continue to be susceptible at the back and even against a modest opposition like Sheffield United you weren’t going to back them to keep a clean sheet.

That feeling came to fruition in the 30th minute when Mousset broke the deadlock meaning they’ve kept one clean sheet in their opening five away league trips this season. In fact, with Emery at the helm, Arsenal have only managed two shutouts in 24 away games. A poor return for a club desperate to rekindle their glory days.

5. Dean and Ljungberg reacquainted

Freddie Ljungberg was a great servant for Arsenal during an illustrious playing career that saw him run up and down the left flank like nobody’s business. He’s since returned to the club which made him a household name, acting as Emery’s right hand man, and one key role the Swede has been playing is guiding exciting young winger Bukayo Saka who recently described Ljungberg as the best coach he’s worked under. Both, though, would be involved in one of the game’s flashpoints.

Saka racing through into the Sheffield United penalty area went down and thinking he’d be awarded a penalty, referee Mike Dean instead branded a yellow card in his path, deeming the youngster had gone down too easily, which infruited Ljungberg who also received a booking of his own – which happened to be the first time since 2006 that he’d been cautioned by Dean in a Premier League game. Crazy.