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Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield United
There’s something ‘George Graham like’ about Arsenal just now. It’s not always pretty, but it’s certainly becoming more and more effective.
That commodity is something Arsenal needed and one Mikel Arteta has installed with decent effect.
Having grappled with an awkward Sheffield United side for over an hour, England rookie, Bukayo Saka headed home Hector Bellerin’s centre to break the monotony. Then within minutes, Nicolas Pepe finished an altogether more ‘Arsenal like’ goal – firing low into the corner of Aaron Ramsdale’s net following a deluge of passes not unlike those gleaned during the first half of the Wenger era.
The two goals were chalk and cheese but another example of how the North Londoners have learned that there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
David McGoldrick’s late strike sparked a late revival from a Blades side still searching for their first Premier League points of the campaign. But in truth, anything other than three points for the home side would have been an injustice over the balance of the contest.
Arteta touched on the Gunners doggedness as well as where improvement is required: “What I liked today is that we adapted to a very different scenario that we faced in the last two games against Liverpool, it was a completely different game,” the Spaniard explained.
“I am happy we played the game that we had to. We had the right patience, we created the right moments in the game when a lot of spaces started to open up towards the second half and scored two great goals.
“When that happens we need to improve to score the third one and then the game is gone. In the Premier League, the first time they got near our box they scored a goal and then you have to hang in there and I don’t want to suffer as much because I love my voice.”
Following the international break, Arsenal return to Premier League action on Saturday, October 17 when they travel to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City (5:30pm)
Arsenal: Leno, dos Santos Magalhães, David Luiz, Tierney, Bellerín, Elneny, Ceballos (Xhaka 81’), Saka (Maitland-Niles 87’), Willian, Nketiah (Pépé 58’), Aubameyang Subs not used: Lacazette, Rúnarsson, Holding, Willock
Sheffield United: Ramsdale, Basham (Sharp 76’), Egan, Robinson, Baldock, Lundstram, Berge, Osborn (Fleck 63’), Stevens, McGoldrick, Burke (McBurnie 56’) Subs not used: Lowe, Norwood, Foderingham, Ampadu
Referee: Lee Mason
Assistants: Mark Scholes and Timothy Wood
Fourth Official: Robert Jones
VAR: Andre Marriner
Assistant VAR: Peter Kirkup