Sheffield United 0-6 Arsenal: Gunners hit six as Blades remain on course for Championship return

Languishing at the bottom of the Premier League standings and staring at an immediate return to the EFL Championship next season, Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder acted authoritatively by restoring joint-top goalscorer Oli McBurnie to the Blades’ lineup following the striker’s full recovery from injury.

Meanwhile, Arsenal come into the game unchanged from their 4-1 victory against Newcastle United last weekend – knowing a victory would take them to within two points of league leaders Liverpool.

SHU: Grbić; Trusty, Ahmedhodžić, Robinson; Bogle, Norwood, Hamer, Davies, Souza; McBurnie, McAtee

ARS: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior; Ødegaard, Jorginho, Rice; Havertz, Saka, Martinelli

Having staggeringly found the back of the net 11 times in their last two Premier League matches, Arsenal flew out of the away dressing room at Bramall Lane as the in-form Bukayo Saka’s strike beat Ivo Grbić, but not the crossbar.

However, nothing, including the woodwork, could stop the visitors from taking the lead only three minutes later, as captain fantastic Martin Ødegaard culminated a classy team move in and around the penalty area by confidently firing into the corner of the net.

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It would not take very long for things to go from bad to worse for the hosts, as shortly before the quarter-hour mark, Jayden Bogle inadvertently turned Saka’s delicious delivery into the danger zone ball into his own net.

Unbelievably, the ball was back in the net again less than two minutes later as Gabriel Martinelli’s deflected effort left a now beleaguered Grbić with no chance.

Kai Havertz emphatically put the game to bed in the 25th minute with the German international scoring for the third successive Premier League game via a brilliantly-struck finish.

Arsenal concluded their five-star first-half performance close to referee Samuel Barrott’s whistle for half-time, as Declan Rice – despite being slightly off balance – got his name onto the scoresheet by driving the ball into the far region of the net to end a forgettable 45 minutes for Sheffield United.

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Despite the withdrawal of Saka during the interval, Arsenal netted a sixth in Sheffield in the 58th minute as Ben White unleashed a thunderous effort from inside the area that flew past the outstretched dive of Grbić.

However, an unforgettable evening for Mikel Arteta’s side was slightly dampened shortly after the hour-mark as Gabriel Martinelli had to be assisted by two of the Gunners’ medical staff from the pitch with what looked like a problematic injury.

Thankfully for the blunted Blades, Grbić was on hand to prevent the scoreline from getting close to looking like a cricket score as he instinctively pushed Gabriel Jesus’ effort behind for a corner close to the conclusion of the second half.

Ultimately, that concluded Arsenal’s merciless escapades in front of goal, as the comprehensive rout moved the Gunners to within shooting distance of Liverpool. Meanwhile, Sheffield United become the first-ever side in the history of the English Football League to end up on the losing side in three successive home matches by a five-goal margin.