Arsenal 1-1 Sheffield United: 3 Talking Points | Premier League 2019-20
Despite a nervy start to the game, the Arsenal found themselves leading at the Emirates Stadium at the end of the first half. The goal came from 18-year-old Gabriel Martinelli, who has now scored nine goals across all competitions this season.
After the restart, Arsenal were utterly dominant as the North London outfit fought for every loose ball. The Blades were stifled of possession and at one point in time, Sheffield United had just 37% possession. No matter how hard the Arsenal youngsters tried to find the second goal, they failed to increase their lead and it was John Fleck who equalised for the visiting side in the 83rd minute of the match.
Here are the three talking points on the 1-1 draw between the Gunners and the Blades.
#3 VAR denies Nicolas Pepe a seemingly obvious penalty
When Unai Emery was in charge, Nicolas Pepe struggled to impress the fans. However, since Mikel Arteta has taken over the reins, the former Lille player is beginning to find his form and confidence.
As soon as Arsenal had possession against the Blades, Pepe could be seen darting forward as quickly as he could. His crossing, touches and body language also seemed much better than earlier as he kept posing the visitors' defence questions.
On one occasion, the 24-year-old was seemingly fouled in his opponent's box. In the immediate aftermath of the challenge, referee Mike Dean rejected Arsenal's calls for a penalty and the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) checked for a possible foul on Pepe. Surprisingly, no penalty awarded to the Gunners.
Thus, it was probably one of those days where Arsenal were once again undone by the VAR.
#2 Gabriel Martinelli steps up in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's absence
Arsenal are currently without their top-scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the striker received a straight red for a late challenge on Max Meyer. With the Gabonese striker serving the first of his three-match ban, the Arteta decided to include Martinelli in the starting eleven and that decision paid off.
After Alexandre Lacazette cleverly found Bukayo Saka on the left edge of the penalty box, the English youngster picked out Martinelli, albeit via a deflection. The Brazilian ran clear of his marker and tapped the ball into the net to dent Sheffield United's hopes of keeping a clean sheet.
With the goal, the 18-year-old Brazilian began believing in himself and had a couple of decent chances in the first few minutes of the second half. Martinelli certainly has a bright future ahead of him and in the event Aubameyang leaves this summer, the young forward has the potential to be Arsenal's next top-scorer.
#1 Arsenal's frustrating number of draws
For the Emirates faithful, the Gunners' tendency of indulging in too many draws is becoming increasingly frustrating with each passing week. To put things into perspective, no team has drawn more fixtures than the North London outfit, meaning that they've undone several promising situations.
In the current campaign, Chelsea have lost more games than Arteta's side. However, the Blues are 4th while Arsenal sit 10th in the league standings. The Gunners only have themselves to blame for being incapable of extending their lead and allowing their opponents to secure a comeback.
Once Arteta addresses this factor, Arsenal could find themselves higher up the table.Published 18 Jan 2020, 23:14 IST