MX23RW : Thursday, August 5 00:30:59| >> :120:7027:7027:
Jan 18, 2020 at 3pm UK at Emirates Stadium
Attendance: 60,310
Sheff UtdSheffield United
FT(HT: 1-0)
Fleck (83')

Preview: Arsenal vs. Sheffield United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's clash between Arsenal and Sheffield United at the Emirates Stadium, including team news, predictions and head-to-head records.

Arsenal welcome Sheffield United to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday in the Premier League, with the Gunners looking to make up ground on their rivals ahead of them.

The Blades are currently four points clear of Mikel Arteta's side in the table and beat the North London club 1-0 in the reverse fixture at Bramall Lane in October.

Match preview

Lys Mousset celebrates scoring for Sheffield United against Arsenal on October 21, 2019© Reuters

Arsenal have improved in recent weeks under new coach Arteta, but their results have not seen a dramatic upturn as of yet.

The Gunners remain 10th in the table and are now 11 points adrift of the top four.

On the other hand, Chris Wilder's team have maintained their early season form and are continuing to surprise teams up and down the league.

The Blades sit sixth going into this match and can go fifth for 24 hours at least with a win at the Emirates.

United have picked up 10 points from their last six games, which is three more than the seven Arsenal have amassed, with that six-game run including visits to the Etihad Stadium and Anfield.

Wilder's selection has been remarkably consistent throughout the season, with his forwards the only players that he has chosen to rotate regularly.

Reiss Nelson scores for Arsenal on January 6, 2020© Reuters

Lys Mousset proved the match winner when the two sides met earlier this season, but the former Northampton boss opted for David McGoldrick and Oli McBurnie in their win over West Ham United last time out.

Arteta too has been consistent in his selection, but is without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for this match, with the Gabon international serving the first part of his three-game suspension following the red card he picked up against Crystal Palace.

This will give the Spaniard a selection headache, which will only be worsened by injury problems throughout the squad.

With the Gunners still just seven points clear of the relegation zone, they need to start picking up points and, given their poor away form over the past few seasons, home matches against newly-promoted opposition will be seen as must-wins.

The North London club have won just twice away from home this season, while they have picked up four wins at home.

Sheffield United's Leon Clarke celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on January 5, 2020© Reuters

Arsenal can leapfrog a few teams ahead of them with a win depending on how results go elsewhere and, with Manchester United travelling to Anfield on Sunday, they will be hopeful of gaining ground on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

Tactically it also promises to be an interesting match up, with Arteta's five-up formation meeting Wilder's overlapping centre-back system.

United played very deep in the reverse fixture after picking up an early goal and will likely cede possession against an Arsenal side that has been dominant in that statistic in recent weeks.

However, the Blades will still hope to hurt Arsenal in wide areas, where the home side may have to rely on 18-year-old winger Bukayo Saka at left-back.

Wilder's side have won three times away from Bramall Lane this season, but have only lost twice.

Arsenal competition form: LDDLWD
Arsenal form (all competitions): DDLWWD

Sheffield United competition form: WWDLLW
Sheffield United form (all competitions): WDLLWW

Team News

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sees red on January 11, 2020© Reuters

Arsenal are without Aubameyang due to his suspension, but also have Sead Kolasinac, Lucas Torreira and Hector Bellerin facing late fitness tests.

Kolasinac and Torreira both picked up knocks at Selhurst Park, while Bellerin is still returning from a relapse in his recovery from an ACL injury he picked up in early 2019.

Elsewhere, Calum Chambers and Kieran Tierney are both out with long-term issues.

The Blades, on the other hand, have no fresh doubts ahead of the match at the Emirates.

Simon Moore and Michael Verrips are both closing in on a return but probably will not feature on Saturday.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Leno; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Saka; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Pepe, Ozil, Martinelli; Lacazette

Sheffield United possible starting lineup:
Henderson; Basham, Egan, O'Connell; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens; McGoldrick, McBurnie

Head To Head

Sheffield United came out on top when the two sides last faced off, with a Mousset goal giving the Blades victory at Bramall Lane.

This was the first time these clubs have faced each other since 2008, when Arsenal beat United 6-0 at the Emirates in the EFL Cup.

In their most recent Premier League meeting at the Emirates, Arsenal won 3-0, although Neil Warnock's side did win the reverse fixture 1-0 at Bramall Lane.

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We say: Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield United

Arsenal have had one of their poorest starts to a season in recent years, but with Arteta at the helm they should just have enough to see off Wilder's side. Having said that, it is set to be a fascinating tactical battle and do not rule out the Blades causing the Gunners problems.

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Thursday's key events

· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
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· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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