Arsenal will be without their captain and striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when they welcome Sheffield United to the Emirates on Saturday. The Gabon international will serve a three-game ban following his red card against Crystal Palace last weekend.
The striker was sent off following a VAR intervention for a dangerous challenge on Crystal Palace midfielder Max Meyer during Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park. Arsenal, however, appealed the red card but the FA rejected the appeal. Aubameyang’s 14 Premier League goals account for just under 50 percent of Arsenal’s overall total goals this season.
Mikel Arteta’s side are finding their groove again and winning games at the Emirates. The Gunners have won two of their five matches under the Spaniard and remain 11 points behind fourth-place Chelsea. Arsenal will be looking for revenge against Chris Wilder’s side after the Blades sealed victory at Bramall Lane back in October.
Despite their inconsistencies, only four points separate Arsenal from sixth-placed Sheffield United, who are enjoying a fantastic first season back in the top flight. Meanwhile, Arteta would be without three defenders, with Calum Chambers ruled out for the rest of the season, and full-backs Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac struggling with injuries.
Speaking to reporters on Friday ahead of the match against Sheffield United, Arteta has challenged his players to step up and cover for their captain over the next few weeks.
He said: “Auba has been around, he was very sad after the game. “He was disappointed that he left the team with 10 men. It’s an action that is completely accidental in my opinion.
“He’s been superb under me, he’s trained really well, he’s working so hard. He’s scoring goals and has probably been the most important player on the team. So to lose him, obviously, is really bad news for us.”
He added: “Players have to step up. You know, when one of your big players is not there, they have to take responsibility. I’m sure when they’re not playing, they want a chance and they talk. It’s time to talk on the pitch, not outside.”
Also, speaking to reporters ahead of their trip to the Emirates, Wilder said he is looking for a remarkable double over the Gunners. Wilder added that he still expects a stern test despite Aubameyang not playing.
He said: “There might be a few questions about where they are in the transition, it was the same when we played Manchester United, but it’s still Arsenal.
“It’s still (Alexandre) Lacazette, (Mesut) Ozil, (Nicolas) Pepe and all the players that they’ve got, so it’s an extremely tough proposition.”
Date: Saturday 18 January
Venue: The Emirates Stadium, London
Kick-off time: 3pm (UK time)
Head to head (H2H) history and results
- Arsenal wins: 48
- Sheffield United wins: 40
- Draws: 26
|Arsenal||Leno; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Saka; Guendouzi, Xhaka, Pepe; Ozil Martinelli, Lacazette.|
|Sheffield United||Henderson; Basham, Egan, O’Connell; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens; McBurnie, McGoldrick.|