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Sheffield United 0-6 Arsenal: Player ratings as first half blitz earns Gunners crushing win

Sheffield United 0-6 Arsenal: Player ratings as first half blitz earns Gunners crushing win

Arsenal showed the gulf in class between the top and bottom of the Premier League as they sauntered to another thumping away win, this time at Sheffield United on Monday night.

Looking to respond to wins for title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City over the weekend, the Gunners were devastating in attack but aided by some woeful home defending as they took a 5-0 lead into half-time at Bramall Lane.

Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli, Kai Havertz and Declan Rice all struck in the opening 45 minutes, alongside Jayden Bogle’s own goal, before Ben White’s 58th-minute effort concluded the scoring.

How the game unfolded

A raucous Bramall Lane crowd hinted at a more difficult night’s work for Arsenal, but instead the early signs pointed towards a long evening for the hosts. Bukayo Saka sent an early warning, having an effort cannon back off the crossbar, and minutes later the visitors had the opener their play warranted.

A slick move ended with Rice cutting back to Odegaard, who steered in his sixth Premier League goal of the season.

The home noise quickly turned to a resigned hush, but the spirits of Blades supporters would get even worse during an embarrassing first-half display from Chris Wilder’s outfit.

Things started getting ugly when Bogle turned Saka’s cross into his own net in the 13th minute, and mere moments later it was 3-0 as Arsenal cut through United with ease. Jakub Kiwior galloped forward and found Martinelli, whose strike flew beyond goalkeeper Ivo Grbic.

The Gunners have produced devastating and clinical performances at the start of 2024, thrashing the likes of Burnley, West Ham and Newcastle of late, but the chance to set some all-time records beckoned as the hosts continue to flounder pathetically in the face of the relentless visiting attacks.

The fourth goal arrived courtesy of Havertz in just the 25th minute. Half-hearted appeals for a foul on Anel Ahmedhodzic went unheard as Martinelli found the Germany international, who crunched a convincing finish into the far corner.

It was Rice’s turn to join in on all the fun with his side’s fifth strike before half-time, once again benefitting from a pull-back as Saka provided from the byline.

That goal made Arsenal the second team to score at least five goals in three successive top-flight away matches, with only Burnley previously achieving the feat back in September 1961. It also meant the Gunners, Brighton and Aston Villa have all netted more at Bramall Lane than Sheffield United this year.

Arsenal fans were made to wait 13 minutes for the first goal of the second half, with Arteta taking the chance to protect Saka with a half-time substitution.

It was White, a more unfamiliar source of goals, who cracked in the sixth. Havertz controlled a long ball over the top and set it back to the right-back, whose pile-driver couldn’t be stopped by the increasingly redundant Grbic.

Changes in the final half-hour punctured Arsenal’s rhythm somewhat with no more goals arriving after White’s strike, but that did little to save face for the embarrassed hosts.

United remain entrenched in the bottom three with little hope of escaping the drop, while Arsenal will continue their title charge this Saturday against Brentford.

It was a horror show for Sheffield United / Michael Regan/GettyImages

GK: Ivo Grbic – 3/10 – Was left to kick the ball out of his own net time and time again.

RB: Jayden Bogle – 3/10 – Somewhat unlucky to boot in an own goal but part of a really bad back four early on.

CB: Anel Ahmedhodzic – 2/10 – The captain showed a staggering lack of leadership at the back in an awful display.

CB: Jack Robinson – 4/10 – Made what might have been a crucial clearance on another day early on, but was then caught out over and over again.

LB: Auston Trusty – 4/10 – Got rinsed over and over by Saka against his former club.

CM: Tom Davies – 4/10 – Displayed a pretty nice haircut – the latest of an ever-expanding range this season – but did little in a footballing sense.

CM: Vinicius Souza – 4/10 – Was left chasing shadows in midfield.

CM: Oliver Norwood – 3/10 – Started the game, saw his side go 3-0 down, subbed off in the 17th minute.

AM: Gustavo Hamer – 4/10 – Left similarly at sea against Arsenal’s well-oiled machine.

AM: James McAtee – 5/10 – Substituted at half-time, having taken his side’s only shot in the opening 45 minutes.

ST: Oli McBurnie – 5/10 – Mainly had a watching brief from the halfway line with little opportunity to put himself about in Arsenal’s box.


SUB: Ben Osborn (17′ for Norwood) – 5/10 – “Yeah, cheers, gaffer!” is all we can imagine Osborn told Wilder for subbing him on in the 17th minute.

SUB: William Osula (46′ for Davies) – 5/10

SUB: Andre Brooks (46′ for McBurnie) – 6/10

SUB: George Baldock (46′ for McAtee) – 5/10

SUB: Ollie Arblaster (64′ for Ahmedhodzic) – 5/10

Subs not used: Ben Brereton Diaz, Sydie Peck, Yasser Larouci, Wes Foderingham (GK)


Chris Wilder – 2/10 – Wilder’s choice to play four in defence backfired terribly and it was soon too late to do anything once the floodgates opened.

There were too many fantastic performers to count for Arsenal / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

GK: David Raya – 7/10 – Had very little to do in a one-sided contest.

RB: Ben White – 8/10 – Delivered dangerous balls into the box all evening, having little issues in defence, and banged in the sixth goal.

CB: William Saliba – 8/10 – Saliba and centre-back partner Gabriel often find themselves on the scoresheet in these thumping wins, but that wasn’t the case on Monday night. Needless to say, he had few issues dealing with the hosts’ attackers.

CB: Gabriel Magalhaes – 8/10 – Was similarly untroubled at the back, constantly recovering possession whenever it briefly evaded the visitors.

LB: Jakub Kiwior – 7/10 – Looked a little more comfortable at left-back here than in previous outings and bagged an assist, teeing up Martinelli’s goal.

CM: Martin Odegaard – 8/10 – Set the thumping win in motion by opening the scoring and continued to poke holes in the hosts’ defence all evening.

CM: Jorginho – 7/10 – About as easy a game as he could have hoped for, Jorginho popped the ball around quickly in the face of little pressure.

CM: Declan Rice – 9/10 – Continues to show his worth as an attacking force as well as a dictator in midfield, converting well from Saka’s cut-back.

RW: Bukayo Saka – 8/10 – Came close to opening the scoring and got to the byline over and over again, setting up Rice’s goal before coming off at half-time.

ST: Kai Havertz – 9/10 – Took his goal wonderfully well, thrashing it into the far corner, and chased down a long ball before setting up White.

LW: Gabriel Martinelli – 9/10 – Was given a lot of respect on the break and made the most of it with a goal and an assist in the first half. Had to hobble off in the second period.


SUB: Fabio Vieira (46′ for Saka) – 6/10 – A good game for Vieira to return from injury. Neat and tidy without adding to the scoresheet.

SUB: Gabriel Jesus (64′ for Martinelli) – 6/10

SUB: Thomas Partey (65′ for Jorginho) – 6/10

SUB: Cedric Soares (65′ for White) – 6/10

SUB: Leandro Trossard (74′ for Rice) – 5/10

Subs not used: Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe, Aaron Ramsdale (GK)


Mikel Arteta – 8/10 – Saw his side deliver another incredible display in front of goal against a totally clueless bunch of opponents. Will be happy with another chunky boost to Arsenal’s goal difference.

Player of the match: Kai Havertz (Arsenal)


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