Hector Bellerin and Bukayo Saka were the difference makers as Arsenal sealed a narrow 2-1 win over Sheffield United on Sunday.

Arsenal’s emphatic start to the season continues following a convincing 2-1 win over Sheffield United, at the Emirates on Sunday. It was their third win in four matches, with the Gunners flying high on the top end of the table.

Facing a struggling Sheffield United side, Arsenal looked the better side for the majority of this game, dominating possession and trying to create chances while their opposition was more than willing to sit back and rely on counter-attacks.

Chris Wilder’s method worked, to an extent, as the home side found it really difficult to break down the Sheffield backline as the first half ended goalless. However, Arsenal eventually found their opener when a great cross from Hector Bellerin found Bukayo Saka, just around the hour mark as the youngster headed home comfortably.

It was followed by a sumptuous strike from substitute Nicolas Pepe minutes later, doubling the advantage for Mikel Arteta’s side, although an equally stunning goal from David McGoldrick saw a nervy end to the game for the hosts, who somehow managed to retain their slender one-goal lead.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Arsenal players in their win over Sheffield United on Sunday.

Bernd Leno: 6.5/10

In a game where he had very little to do, Bernd Leno will be disappointed with himself for failing to preserve his clean sheet. In truth, however, the German had no chance to save McGoldrick’s accurate finish in the second half. The German did come out of his line to make a good clearance to deny Oliver Burke an early opportunity, though.

Hector Bellerin: 8/10

Hector Bellerin’s impressive run of form this season continues as the right-back produced yet another good performance against Sheffield United. The Spaniard made life difficult for the Sheffield defenders with his forays down the flank and was always willing to take on players. It was his cross that found Saka for the opener.

David Luiz: 7/10

David Luiz lost sight of Burke, who could have capitalised on his mistake had it not been for Leno clearing the ball up. It was the only real blip in an otherwise solid performance from the Brazilian, who remained strong and helped Arsenal keep Sheffield United at bay.

Gabriel Magalhaes: 7.5/10

Gabriel Magalhaes looks to have fit in nicely at Arsenal, producing yet another solid defensive effort. The ex-Lille star never appeared tentative in possession and showcased his excellent range of passing. His imposing frame was also crucial in helping Arsenal deal with the threat of McGoldrick.

Kieran Tierney: 7/10

Kieran Tierney had a relatively quiet game given his lofty standards. The Scot didn’t have to defend match and almost operated as a traditional full-back. Tried to open up the opposing backline with his crosses but those were cleared up by the likes of John Egan and Chris Basham.

Mohamed Elneny: 7.5/10

Mohamed Elneny was the engine in the Arsenal midfield, offering a reliable presence throughout the middle of the park and even in half-spaces. The Egyptian international covered a lot of ground, notably dropping deeper to act as an auxiliary right-sided centre-back, at times. He has been a fantastic component in Arteta’s setup this season.

Dani Ceballos: 7.5/10

Dani Ceballos was the one that kept the Arsenal midfield ticking with his lively movements and remarkable work-rate. He never looked troubled in possession, carrying the ball across the middle of the park. The Spaniard also showcased a brilliant range of passing, often switching the play when he needed to before making way for Granit Xhaka late in the game.

Bukayo Saka: 8/10

Bukayo Saka was a vital cog in the Arsenal attack in this fixture. The youngster played a key role by linking up with his teammates on the left-hand channel, unsettling the Sheffield United defence with his movement down the byline. It didn’t make a whole lot of impact but the winger did end up scoring the all-important opener.

Willian: 5/10

Willian had a relatively quiet evening when compared to other Arsenal attackers. The Brazilian tried to cause havoc in the opposing defence but lacked the quality, as well as the penetration. He must quickly regain his form if he is to remain a first-team regular for Arsenal this season.

Eddie Nketiah: 5/10

This was simply not the right game for Eddie Nketiah, who was often outmuscled and isolated by the three imposing Sheffield United centre-backs. He was a victim of Arsenal’s cross-oriented approach, with the youngster lacking the physical and aerial prowess to make himself a target man inside the box. Taken off early in the second half.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 7.5/10

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the most active Arsenal attacker in a first half that saw very little chances. He made two attempts on goal and was equally influential in the second half, combining well with Saka on the left flank. The Gabonese international was unfortunate not to find the back of the net, though.

Not at his best (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
No goal for Auba. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)


Nicolas Pepe: 7.5/10

Nicolas Pepe managed to pull out that moment of magic after a long time, with his solo run seeing him score an exquisite goal to seal Arsenal’s second. The Ivorian tried to make things happen on the right flank and was much more influential than Willian.

Granit Xhaka: N/A

Granit Xhaka finally came on, replacing Ceballos during the final ten minutes of the game. He did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles N/A

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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