UEFA Champions League

Arsenal-Sheffield United Preview

Mikel Arteta was pleased with Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang's reaction to being dropped for Arsenal's Europa League clash with Slavia Prague.

Arsenal captain Aubameyang was benched for Thursday's match at Emirates Stadium, and was only brought on in the 78th minute with the score at 0-0.

He made an impact by teeing up Nicolas Pepe for what looked set to be an Arsenal winner, only for Slavia to equalise in stoppage time.

Alexandre Lacazette and Bukayo Saka both spurned chances that Aubameyang may have converted, but Arteta stood by his decision.

"I think the players I selected stepped in and gave absolutely everything," he said.

"When I made the substitutions I felt it was the right time to do so. Whether I should have done it earlier or not, who knows?

"When he came on he showed the right attitude. I cannot talk with everybody individually every week, but we try to be as transparent as possible."

Aubameyang may be in line to return to the fold against Sheffield United on Sunday, as Arsenal aim to get back on track in the Premier League after a 3-0 defeat to Liverpool.

Paul Heckingbottom has lost all three of his games in charge of the Blades since taking over from Chris Wilder, though the interim boss outlined his admiration for two of Europe's biggest teams.

"They were overachievers," Heckingbottom explained when asked why he had studied the tactics of Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid.

"I had an opportunity to study a German team, so it was them. People would ask why not Bayern Munich? But I thought Dortmund were overachieving. They were out-competing and out-performing.

"You do take bits from that experience with you. Culture is a big one. That hunger, how do you develop that hunger? That's a big one."

Sheffield United - Enda Stevens

After a spell out through injury, defender Stevens returned as a substitute in the 2-1 defeat to Leeds United last time out, and as the Blades look to end the season with some pride intact, their centre-back will likely be a key figure.

Arsenal - Nicolas Pepe

Pepe's goal against Slavia took him to nine for the season in all competitions. Arsenal's club record signing has never hit the heights he did during his time at Lille, though has shown his quality in flashes and will be hoping to retain his place in the XI.

•Eight of Alexandre Lacazette's 11 Premier League goals for Arsenal this season have come away from home - just nine of his first 37 in the competition across three seasons had come on the road.

•The Blades are the lowest scorers in the Premier League this season, netting just 17 goals in their 30 games. They have only scored more than once in a match on three occasions this term, with two of those coming against Manchester United (also 2-1 vs West Brom).

•Arsenal have played more Premier League matches at Bramall Lane without winning than at any other ground (4). Their last away top-flight win at Sheffield United was in April 1991, winning 2-0 with goals from Kevin Campbell and Alan Smith.

•Arsenal have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last nine Premier League games. Only twice have they had a longer run without a shutout in the competition - 11 games between Dec 2017-Mar 2018 and 11 games between Dec 2001-Feb 2002.

•Fifteen of Sheffield United's 24 Premier League defeats this season have been by a single goal - no side has lost more games by a one-goal margin in a single campaign in the competition's history.

Updated April 9, 2021

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