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Match Reports

Arsenal 1-1 Blades - report

18 January 2020

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John Fleck late goal earnt the Blades a deserved point at the Emirates Stadium.

United finished strongly in a much improved second-half display and the Scotsman's strike cancelled Gabriel Martinelli's opener on the stroke of half-time to net another valuable draw on the road for the Blades.

For the clash in the capital, boss Wilder made one change, with Mousset returning to starting XI in place of McGoldrick, who missed out with a minor foot injury.

The first action of note saw Mousset run purposefully at Luiz before being eased off the ball, at the other end, Henderson was equally to Pepe's effort at the back post. Moments later, Norwood was booked for his first challenge of the game on Lacazette.

United's pressing was forcing Arsenal to surrender possession in their own half, but from a Stevens cross, Mousset, who was unmarked, header over the bar from a promising position.

The hosts had the first chance on 13 minutes, Lacazette held off the attentions of Egan before finding the advancing Pepe, but thankfully for the Blades Martinelli's effort at the back post was wide of the target.

The Blades were having a fair share of possession and territory, although Pepe and Martinelli combined to fashion another chance, but the latter fired wide of the near post. United's shape was frustrating the home side and their supporters, although Basham amongst others were needed to produce crucial interceptions as the like of Ozil and Lacazette threatened.

But United's resistance was eventually broken right on the stroke of half-time. Saka's deflected cross looped over a couple of Blades defenders and MARTINELLI was ideally placed to add the finishing touch from close range, a harsh end to an otherwise encouraging first period.

Early in the second half, Baldock was booked following a trio of quick fouls, the last of which saw him halt the progress of Saka. But United were soon on the attack and somehow, a low cross from Stevens evaded everyone, despite an overload in the box, including Egan. Mousset was replaced by Sharp and only a crucial interception on the line by Xhaka denied McBurnie from Fleck's inswinging corner.

The game ticked past the hour mark, but still it was the Blades forcing the issue in search of restoring parity, although from a promising position, Lundstram volleyed over the bar. When Arsenal broke at pace through Pepe there were some concern for the Blades as VAR checked a potential penalty but replays clearly showed there was no connection from O'Connell's challenge. Lacazette's last contribution saw him fire a free kick over the bar from 20 yards out.

With 14 minutes remaining, Besic replaced Basham, United's final change. And those positive switches reaped their rewards shortly afterwards, as FLECK fired home at the back post, after Sharp had fought hard to keep Robinson's deep cross alive, a goal which sent the away end into bedlam.

The clock was ticking down, but the Blades were going in search of winner, as McBurnie drew a foul from Luiz, but Nketiah cleared Fleck's inviting delivery. United continued to be the ones attacking as the game enter three minutes of added time, but McBurnie's effort was blocked, before Besic drew a save from Leno after Xhaka had been booked for a foul on Baldock down the right.

Referee Dean's final whistle in his 500th Premier League game sent United's travelling fans into a song as the Blades deserved added another point to the tally on the road.

Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, David Luiz, Saka, Torreira, Xhaka, Pepe, Ozil, Martinelli, Lacazette (Nketiah 74).
Unused: Martinez, Holding, Bellerin, Guendouzi, Willock, Ceballos.

Blades: Henderson, Baldock, Stevens, Fleck, O'Connell, Basham (Besic 76), Lundstram (Robinson 67), McBurnie, Egan, Norwood, Mousset (Sharp 56)
Unused: Jagielka, K. Freeman, Verrips, Osborn, Besic.

As it happened...

We're underway!

Safety first from John Egan who heads into the stand with Nicolas Pepe in hot pursuit. Attacking throw for Arsenal which is cleared by the Blades. 0-0.

Surging run from Lys Mousset has the Arsenal defence back-pedalling but in the end he is seen off just inside the area.

At the other end Pepe strikes an effort into the ground and comfortably into arms of Henderson.

First yellow goes to Ollie Norwood for a challenge on Alexandre Lacazette.

First McBurnie attempts to break into the area, the ball comes loose to Stevens who gets to the by-line. His cross is put behind for a corner which is floated to the back post where it is kept alive, but eventually cleared by Arsenal. 0-0.

Bursting run again by Stevens who whips in a good early cross, but Mousset flashes his header over. Good chance. 0-0.

Deep corner from Fleck is headed into the mix by Jack O'Connell. It falls kindly for Mousset who steers his header over. The flag had already been raised for offside. 0-0.

Good start this from United. Two more testing crosses from the left and right. Arsenal on the back foot clear. 0-0.

Good link up play between Stevens and Fleck ends with a dangerous low cross from the latter which Arsenal hack away at full stretch. 0-0.

First chance for Arsenal and an example of their danger.

Lacazette with a pass in behind Stevens, Pepe chases in behind and stands up the cross towards Martinelli who scuffs his effort wide. 0-0.

Break in play as McBurnie needs treatment after taking an inadvertent whack from Xhaka.

Swift break by Arsenal again as Pepe sprints forward and slips a pass into Martinelli who fires wide of the near post. 0-0.

Arsenal picking up a little now.

A dangerous looking cross into the near post flicks off Norwood and goes behind for a corner.

David Luiz rises to meet Pepe's cross but United clear. 0-0.

Some great football by United worked from the halfway line down the left where Fleck and Stevens again link up. O'Connell on the overlap then sees his cross deflected clear towards Norwood 25 yards out who fires high and wide. 0-0.

Torreira with a long range strike which takes an awkward dip in front of Henderson but he makes a comfortable save. 0-0.

Torreira having treatment so we have a break in play. 0-0.

Jack O'Connell tries his luck from distance but his shot is well wide. 0-0.

Arsenal threaten another break but United quickly flood back in big numbers to deprive the hosts any opportunities. 0-0.

Basham with a very important interception as Arsenal attempt a through ball for Lacazette. 0-0.

Goal for Arsenal.

Came from nowhere. A deflected cross flicked up off George Baldock and looped kindly into the path of Martinelli who nets from close range.

Half time

Arsenal 1 - 0 Blades

United looked comfortable for long periods of the half but the hosts snatch the lead just before the break through Martinelli.

We're back underway here at the Emirates.

Cool stuff from Leno who dummies his kick with McBurnie closing in, but he's successful and clears downfield.

Just a warning for Baldock after he catches Saka in the face and gives away a free-kick.

Another foul on Saka by Baldock and it is a yellow this time.

Chance for United as Fleck drives forward slips the ball into Stevens, his low cross narrowly misses the outstretched foot of Mousset and Leno claims.

Change for United as Mousset is replaced by Billy Sharp.

Fleck with a corner missed by the 'keeper, McBurnie wins the header but Arsenal block from just off the goalline by Xhaka.

Dangerous break into the right of the area by Pepe, he stands a cross into the area but it is met by O'Connell who importantly heads clear.

Norwood corner is whipped into the six-yard area, Arsenal head clear only as far as Lundstram lurking on the edge of the area but he fires over with a first time shot.

Second change for United as Lundstram is replaced by Callum Robinson.

Big shout for a penalty after a potential trip by O'Connell on Pepe, initially waved away and the decision is upheld after a VAR check.

Arsenal free-kick right on the edge of the area after a push by Robinson.

Lacazette takes it but swings his effort over.

Arsenal change. Eddie Nketiah on for Lacazette.

Final sub for United as Basham is replaced by Mo Besic.

Norwood with a teasing centre which looked set for Sharp until a last ditched clearance.

From the resulting corner McBurnie's header was straight at Leno.


Fleck with a fantastic finish into the ground and into the net after Robinson's cross was kept alive by Sharp who caused problems in the area. 1-1.

David Luiz with a foul on McBurnie.

Fleck's free-kick into the near post area is cleared. 1-1.

Martinelli's cross is deflected behind but United clear the resulting corner. 1-1.

Close! McBurnie's shot was arrowing into the net but for a brilliant last ditch block. 1-1.

Three added minutes

Xhaka into the book for a late challenge on Baldock.

Norwood's free-kick headed clear to Besic who belts a shot towards goal which is held by Leno. 1-1.

Martinelli wins a corner at the by-line.

Ozil delivers, header comes in from Mustafi, into the ground, and into the arms of Henderson. 1-1.

Arsenal 1 - 1 Blades

Fleck's terrific effort in the second half gives United a deserved point after Martinelli gave Arsenal the lead just before the break.

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