Sheff Utd: Henderson, Basham, Egan, O’Connell, Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens, McGoldrick, Mousset. Subs: Luke Freeman, McBurnie, Sharp, Robinson, Jagielka, Moore, Besic.
Arsenal: Leno, Chambers, Papastathopoulos, Luiz, Kolasinac, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Pepe, Willock, Saka, Aubameyang. Subs: Tierney, Ceballos, Lacazette, Torreira, Holding, Martinez, Martinelli.
Referee: Mike Dean!
Lacazette is back on the bench for Arsenal. Mesut Ozil is nowhere to be seen, once again.
Back in a few minutes with more buildup …
Monday night football! And a tussle that should be bracingly fun, even if I can’t promise you a goalkeeping cameo from Phil Jagielka this time around. Nobody quite knows what we’re going to get from either of these two sides but, at a snapping and snarling Bramall Lane under the lights, I’ve a feeling it is going to be good.
But who for, overall? Arsenal are accidentally doing quite well and will return to third if they win, and still four points clear of Crisis Club Tottenham if they draw. Do they convince you? Of course they don’t, and they don’t convince me either, but they’ve picked up that winning knack largely because they have a matchwinner – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – who is better than almost anyone else in the league. If Unai Emery could just refine the rest of it, who’s to say they can’t finish the season back in those hallowed Champions League spots?
The Blades might want a hand in that conversation, for tonight at least. Remember how they rattled Liverpool? Arsenal seem eminently rattle-able and there’s no doubt Chris Wilder’s side play some delightfully intense, intelligent, insistent football whose style and quality still aren’t appreciated quite as much as they should be. If they’re on it tonight then you’ll hear the strains of “Greasy Chip Butty” as far away as Leeds. The more they can take points from games like this, the less likely they are to face a relegation battle. I fancy they won’t have to worry about that, when push comes to show.
So let’s strap in and enjoy. Send in your emails, tweets and goodness knows what else – and we’ll hold each other’s hands through the madness.