Mousset strike seals Sheffield United victory over Arsenal
Premier League, Bramall Lane: Sheffield United 1 (Mousset 30) Arsenal 0
Lys Mousset's strike on the half-hour was enough to give Sheffield United a narrow 1-0 win over a below-par Arsenal.
Mousset capitalised on some slack Arsenal defending to give the home side the lead on his first league start for the Blades since signing in the summer.
Arsenal dominated possession, but they could not break down the Premier League's joint most resolute defence, who saw out a second home win for the Blades with ease.
The result means Arsenal missed the chance to go third, with fans heading back south with an all too familiar feeling of seeing their team out-fought.
Sheffield United's Luke Freeman and George Baldock celebrate after the matchReuters
With no Mesut Ozil in the squad once more, Arsenal struggled to create any real openings of note in the early stages, before Sead Kolasinac fed the ball across for Nicolas Pepe, but the Arsenal forward could not connect from point-blank range midway through the opening period.
That miss proved costly as Mousset pounced to break the deadlock. Arsenal’s defenders did not cover themselves in glory as Jack O’Connell climbed above three yellow shirts to knock the ball down for Mousset to score his second of the season.
Dani Ceballos had the best chance of the half but could not connect properly, as Arsenal put in a limp performance on the road, with that stout defensive display seeing the hosts home.
At what point does Unai Emery actually play his best side? Arsenal’s defence has had a makeshift look to it for a while now as Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and new signing Kieran Tierney have battled back from injury, but all three are fit, and still they remain on the sidelines, as the Gunners’ rearguard continues to ship goals. Then how long can Ozil stand being omitted from the matchday squad? After a performance devoid of creativity, would one of the Premier League’s all-time top providers not have made a difference?
Granit Xhaka has a shotReuters
MAN OF THE MATCH
Chris Basham (Sheffield United). It could have been any of the Blades’ defenders really, but Basham’s crucial interceptions at key moments edged it for him. It is not easy task to keep a striker of Aubameyang’s quality quiet, but Basham did so in a composed manner.
22’ - CHANCE! Huge opportunity for Arsenal on the counter. Pepe starts the move, Kolasinac races down the left, feeds the ball into the middle for Pepe, but the Gunners forward cannot connect, six yards out. Any touch and it is a goal.
30’ - GOOOOOAAAALLLLLL!!!!!! Sheffield United 1-0 Arsenal. Lys Mousset taps home to send the home fans into raptures. On his first league start for the Blades, Mousset scores a simple goal, but Arsenal's defenders do not cover themselves in glory. O'Connell gets above three Arsenal defenders, nods the ball down for Mousset, who sticks out a right leg and finds the net.
37’ - NO PENALTY! Bukayo Saka darts into the penalty area, goes down looking for the penalty, but referee Dean brandishes the booking for simulation! Arsenal are furious.
61’ - MISS! Clipped cross from Saka finds Ceballos, who arrives late in the box but he cannot connect properly and Henderson makes an easy save.
Since the start of last season, Arsenal have been shown more cards for diving than any other Premier League team (7).
Arsenal have conceded 22 Premier League goals from set-pieces since the start of last season (inc. pens); only Watford (25) and Everton (24) have conceded more.
Arsenal have kept just two clean sheets in their last 14 Premier League games.
Lys Mousset has two goals in six PL apps this season, one more than he registered in 24 games for Bournemouth in 2018-19 - only one of those 24 games was as a starter, however