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[Ratings] Arsenal 1-1 Sheff Utd: Saka & Martinelli impress as VAR screws Arsenal again

By on January 8, 2020

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Arsenal were denied a stonewall penalty as we let slip another lead to draw 1-1 with Sheffield United at the Emirates this afternoon.

It was a relatively even first half but we managed to open the scoring shortly before half-time when Gabriel Martinelli ghosted in to tap home from a Bukayo Saka cross in the 45th minute. Arsenal controlled things after the break and should have been awarded a penalty midway through the second half when Nicolas Pepe was upended in the box. No surprises Mike Dean waived it away but even the VAR [Martin Atkinson] failed to pull Dean up on his obvious error.

A glaring mistake that predictably cost Arsenal as Sheffield United snatched an equaliser in the 83rd minute when John Fleck fired home via another deflection to make it 1-1. Arsenal couldn’t find a late winner so we had to settle for another draw. We weren’t at our best going forward but we got ahead and should have had the opportunity to put the game to bed from the penalty spot. But once again, shocking referring and a lack of intervention from VAR cost us more points – not for the first time this season!

Arsenal are now left sitting 10th in the table and 10 points adrift of fourth placed Chelsea so it’s going to take a miracle to qualify for the Champions League this season. We’re currently 4/1 to finish in the top four with the bookmakers and it’s difficult to see us turning things around. Therefore, anyone placing a bet on Arsenal finishing fourth should use a Ladbrokes promo code to claim a free bet or welcome bonus and not risk their hard earned money, as it would be like throwing money down the drain!

Here are my ratings:

Leno  6/10 | Didn’t have too much to do in terms of shot-stopping and was unlucky for the goal but was fortunate to get away with a flap when Xhaka cleared off the line.

Maitland-Niles  7/10 | Another solid outing at right-back. Comfortable on the ball and wasn’t caused too many problems. Could possibly have got forward more often and maybe should have closed down more for the equaliser.

Mustafi  6.5/10 | Shaky start to the game but settled into things and actually put-in a decent performance.

Luiz  7/10 | Read the game well and kept United at bay for much of the game. Did well up against McBurnie.

Saka  8/10 | Excellent performance from the youngster at left-back. Assisted the Arsenal goal with a deflected cross and put in another superb delivery in the second half. Didn’t stop running all game and was solid in defence.

Torreira  7/10 | A very useful shield in-front of the back four as he broke up the Sheffield United attacks and kept things simple on the ball.

Xhaka  7/10 | Did well to clear a header off the line to keep it at 1-0 and was tidy in possession. Instigated attacks from deep but could maybe have been a bit more adventurous with his passing range.

Pepe  7.5/10 | A real dangerman down the left wing. Drove at the Blades’ defence numerous times, causing plenty of problems, and should have won a penalty. No surprises Mike Dean and Martin Atkinson on VAR didn’t give it, the corrupt w**kers.

Ozil  6/10 | A pretty quiet afternoon for Mesut. Showed a few nice touches but his final ball/pass was poor and he needed to do more to break United down and create a few clear-cut chances.

Martinelli  8/10 | A superstar in the making. Showed great movement to find space to poke home the opening goal from close range. Worked hard to help out Saka at the back and was always a threat. Another terrific performance.

Lacazette  6/10 | Goal drought continues and he didn’t even go close today as he had one shot [free-kick] on goal. Dropped deep to get involved and worked hard but really needs to get himself in the box and be a goal threat again.

Subs

Nketiah   5/10 | No real impact after replacing Laca late on.

Watch the Pepe penalty incident below:

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