Arsenal will travel to Bramall Lane on Sunday as they take on Sheffield United in the quarterfinal of the FA Cup. The 2-0 win over Southampton in midweek will undoubtedly serve as a confidence booster as the Gunners look to create a winning momentum ahead of their Premier League clash against Norwich City next week.
Sheffield United, however, have been one of the worst-performing teams in England since the return. They have lost two of their three matches, including a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Newcastle United. The Blades lost their last game by the same margin against Manchester United. But, knocking Arsenal out of the FA Cup could put them back on track this weekend.
Sheffield United Vs Arsenal Tactical Preview
Chris Wilder’s men have lacked any sort of order or discipline in the past few matches. But, the Sheffield United manager is unlikely to make any tactical changes and will be looking to catch Arsenal out with their high press. Fullbacks could play a key role as the hosts look to utilise the Gunners’ lack of defensive prowess from the wider areas of the pitch. A 3-5-2 is in the order, with Oliver McBurnie and Billy Sharp leading the line.
Arsenal could retain their four-man backline this weekend despite Sheffield United’s contrasting formation. Although Mikel Arteta is set to ring in the changes, the idea will be same, with Bukayo Saka looking to penetrate the opposition line with his movements. At the same time, the right-back could operate in a deeper role. The Gunners are expected to start with a 4-4-2.
The return of John Egan and Dean Henderson should serve as a massive boost for Wilder heading into this fixture. However, John O’Connell is still unlikely to make the team while Lys Mousset could return to the bench. Meanwhile, there might be a complete overhaul in the midfield department, with Mohamed Besic, in particular, set to receive a start.
Predicted XI: Dean Henderson; Chris Basham, Phil Jagielka, John Egan; George Baldock, Sander Berge, Mohamed Besic, Luke Freeman, Ben Osborn; Billy Sharp, Oliver McBurnie.
Arsenal will be boosted by the return of David Luiz from suspension this weekend. Meanwhile, young players like Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles could all receive rare starts while the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding might be rested.
Predicted XI: Emiliano Martinez; Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz, Sead Kolasinac; Reiss Nelson, Matteo Guendouzi, Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka; Eddie Nketiah, Alexandre Lacazette.
Henderson’s presence between the sticks could surely be crucial for Sheffield United. The young goalkeeper missed the last game as he was ineligible to play against his parent club Manchester United. His quick reflexes and confident goalkeeping will be tested against an Arsenal side looking to dominate the Sheffield United backline.
For Arsenal, Nketiah made quite an impact with his performance against Southampton last time out. His presence could be equally important this time around as the north London giants look to breach the Sheffield United defence. Another strong performance on Sunday could certainly boost Nketiah’s chances of toppling Lacazette next season.
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