EPL: Sheffield United 0-3 Arsenal
Arsenal grabbed a much-needed win at Bramall Lane on Sunday, defeating Sheffield United 3-0 with Alexandre Lacazette and Gabriel Martinelli finding the net.
The Gunners climb to ninth place in the Premier League table, four points behind Tottenham Hotspur in seventh place. Sheffield United remain rock bottom, 18 points from safety with seven games to go.
Arsenal started the game on the front foot, with Bukayo Saka coming close with a rising shot early on. David McGoldrick responded for Sheffield United soon after, shooting wide when in a promising position in the box.
The Gunners looked the likelier side to score for the rest of the half, with Aaron Ramsdale nearly giving them a goal. The opening goal came in the 33rd minute, a classic Arsenal goal full of one-touch football.
Alexandre Lacazette began the move, with Bukayo Saka’s first-time return flicked deliciously into Lacazette’s path by Dani Ceballos. The Frenchman curled the ball into the bottom corner to continue his goal-scoring form and give Arsenal a 1-0 lead going into the break.
Sheffield United labored once the second half began, trying their best to come back into the game. The Blades supplied their own killing blow in the 72nd minute, with Nicolas Pepe pouncing on Jon Lundstram’s lazy square pass.
The Ivorian drove into the box and forced an excellent save from Ramsdale, but Gabriel Martinelli was on hand to tap the ball into an empty net from the follow-up.
The game ended as a contest in the 86th minute, after Thomas Partey produced an ingenious turn to evade his marker and slid a beautifully weighted through-ball to Alexandre Lacazette. The Frenchman made no mistake, burying the ball into the bottom corner to make it 3-0.
One of the few bright spots in a dreadful Arsenal season, it was not much of a surprise to see Alexandre Lacazette find the net once again. The Frenchman turned in a typically hard-working performance, and was on hand to score at the end of a beautiful Arsenal move.
Lacazette netted his 50th goal in the Premier League for Arsenal late on, with the Frenchman achieving the milestone in his 124th appearance for the Gunners. 13 of those 50 have come this season, with Lacazette’s best return coming in his first season for Arsenal – 14 goals.
It’s perhaps a bit strange that Arsenal will apparently entertain offers for Lacazette this summer, especially with questions surrounding the motivation and form of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Frenchman is certainly doing his selling price no harm.
Sheffield United are 18 points behind seventeenth-placed Newcastle United, with only seven games left to play, so their relegation is all but confirmed. Having sacked Chris Wilder, it’s clear that the Blades are just treading water at the moment.
Paul Heckingbottom may have taken heart from the opening 30 minutes as Arsenal were limited in their chances, but the lack of quality and motivation in Sheffield United’s players soon shone through. It was a far cry from the high octane performances the Blades displayed last season when they defeated Arsenal at home.
The Blades have to start thinking about life in the Championship, and fixing the second worst defense and the worst attack in the league ought to be clear avenues for improvement. On the back of tonight’s display though, it seems quite an impossible task.
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