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Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield United: Player Ratings as Nicolas Pepe inspires Gunners to hard-fought victory | Premier League 2020-21

Arsenal managed an important victory against Sheffield United
Arsenal managed an important victory against Sheffield United
ANALYST
Modified 04 Oct 2020, 21:35 IST
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Arsenal pipped Sheffield United to a 2-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium earlier today after goals from Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe guided Mikel Arteta's side back to winning ways. Sheffield United frustrated the Gunners for most of the game and will be disappointed with the defeat.

Arsenal benefitted from a few smart substitutions in the second half and scored both their goals in a five-minute period as Nicolas Pepe and Hector Bellerin combined well on the right flank. The Blades scored their first goal of the season with a David McGoldrick wonder-strike but are yet to win their first point in the Premier League this season.

Arsenal predictably dominated the ball in the opening stages of the game but did have a tense moment in the fifth minute when Oliver Burke stole the ball from David Luiz. Bernd Leno, however, was on hand to produce a crucial clearance.

The Gunners struggled to create chances in the first half with only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looking to make something happen at the Emirates Stadium. Sheffield United defended with a deep block and easily dealt with crosses from Arsenal's wide players.

Bukayo Saka scored an excellent goal
Bukayo Saka scored an excellent goal

Arsenal finally broke the deadlock at the hour-mark after a brilliantly worked move involving Aubameyang and Hector Bellerin saw Bukayo Saka score a well-placed header to give the Gunners the lead. Nicolas Pepe sprinkled salt into Sheffield United's wounds only minutes later with a magnificent individual goal that changed the complexion of the game.

David McGoldrick stepped up to the plate and gave Chris Wilder's side a glimmer of hope with an excellent finish late in the second half. Arsenal dug deep to see the game out towards the end of the game and came away from the fixture with a crucial three points.


Arsenal Player Ratings

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Bernd Leno had a good game
Bernd Leno had a good game

Bernd Leno - 6.5/10

Bernd Leno had a sharp game in the first half and rushed out of his box to prevent Oliver Burke from having a clear sight at the goal in the opening stages of the game. The Arsenal shot-stopper did not have much to do for the rest of the game and was blameless for McGoldrick's goal.

David Luiz - 6/10

David Luiz had a nervy start to the game and nearly cost Arsenal a goal within five minutes of the kick-off. The Brazilian defender did improve in the second half but will have to be careful as the season progresses.

Gabriel Magalhaes - 7/10

Gabriel Magalhaes adds a palpable element of solidity to the Arsenal back-line and would have made an excellent impression on Mikel Arteta with his performance today. The centre-back was comfortable on the ball and is set for an extended stay in the Arsenal defence.

Kieran Tierney - 6.5/10

Kieran Tierney was rarely troubled defensively and found himself in advanced positions on the left flank. The Scottish full-back attempted several crosses into the area but did not make much of an impact in the final third.

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Hector Bellerin had a hand in both goals
Hector Bellerin had a hand in both goals

Hector Bellerin - 7.5/10

Hector Bellerin looked positive in the first half and his probing runs finally bore fruit in the build-up to the opening goal. The Spaniard also bagged his second assist of the game for Nicolas Pepe's strike and will be happy with his performance.

Bukayo Saka - 7.5/10

Bukayo Saka had some bright moments in the first half and was a livewire in the second. The young English prodigy showed plenty of maturity to take his opportunity and celebrated his England call-up with a well-taken goal.

Mohamed Elneny - 6.5/10

Mohamed Elneny started ahead of Granit Xhaka in Arsenal's midfield and his presence allowed Ceballos to express himself throughout the game. The Egyptian was tidy with his passing and continues to grow under Mikel Arteta.

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Dani Ceballos - 7/10

Dani Ceballos was one of the few standout players for Arsenal in the first half and bossed the game in the midfield. The Spaniard used his exceptional ball-retention skills to dictate the Gunners' play and was faultless with his passing.

Willian - 5.5/10

Willian had a disappointing game by his standards and failed to create anything of note on the left flank. The Brazilian winger misplaced many of his passes and will need to improve to keep his place in the starting eleven.

Edward Nketiah - 5.5/10

Edward Nketiah was not particularly comfortable in the first half but did manage to make a few good runs to split Sheffield United's defence. The youngster failed to trouble Aaron Ramsdale, however, and was replaced by Nicolas Pepe before the hour-mark.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - 7/10

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was one of Arsenal's only threats in the first half and did take a few shots that worried Aaron Ramsdale. The Arsenal captain did not get on to the scoresheet today but was involved in most of the Gunners' attacking routines in the final third.


Substitutes

Nicolas Pepe had an excellent game
Nicolas Pepe had an excellent game
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Nicolas Pepe - 7.5/10

Nicolas Pepe injected life into Arsenal's play after his introduction and gave an excellent account of himself today. The Frenchman displayed extraordinary technique and poise for his goal and is likely to play an important role for Arsenal this season.

Granit Xhaka - 6/10

Granit Xhaka was introduced as a late substitute and did not have enough time to make an impact on the game.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles - 6/10

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was introduced to add a defensive aspect to Arsenal's play as the Gunners looked to defend their lead late in the game.


Also Read: Top 10 attacking trios in football history

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Published 04 Oct 2020, 21:35 IST
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