Sheffield United vs Arsenal
Sunday’s Premier League action drew to a close at Bramall Lane, as Sheffield United hosted Arsenal.
The Gunners headed into the clash with little left to play for on the domestic front.
This came with Mikel Arteta’s side sitting 10 points off the top-six, and 13 points adrift of the top-four.
As a result, clinching Europa League glory appears to represent Arsenal’s only realistic shot at securing European football for next season.
Sheffield United, on the other hand, began the day sitting dead bottom of the English top-flight, nailed on to be relegated over the coming weeks.
Despite the Blades’ dismal campaign to date, though, there was very little to separate the two sides during the opening exchanges this evening.
The game settled into a rather scrappy lull, with neither outfit having carved out any real chances.
The most notable action inside the opening half-hour came when Aaron Ramsdale smashed a goal kick right at Alexandre Lacazette. But, luckily for the Sheffield United goalkeeper, it deflected straight back to him.
Ramsdale, though, could do nothing to deny the Frenchman 33 minutes in.
Lacazette finished off a lovely free-flowing Gunners move, which saw Dani Ceballos’ cheeky flick slip the forward in:
Look at that passing 😍
An absolutely brilliant goal from Arsenal!
Alexandre Lacazette with the clinical finish for his 14th of the season. pic.twitter.com/vJdXXlmtSI
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 11, 2021
It is not Lacazette, though, who has secured the majority of the plaudits from the Arsenal faithful thus far this evening.
Instead, it is Gabriel Martinelli – who was handed his first start in the league since January on Sunday – who has impressed Gunners fans the most.
The 19-year-old added Arsenal’s second of the day 71 minutes in, tapping home the rebound following a Nicolas Pepe shot.
The Brazilian’s pace, power and drive have added a different element to Arsenal’s attack at Bramall Lane, with just some of the praise showered on him showcased below:
Martinelli is just a live wire. Never want to see Willian in the team again if Martinelli is available. Brings us an energy in that final third that is infectious.
— AFCAMDEN (@AFCAMDEN) April 11, 2021
Martinelli again has raised everyone up and made everyone push up higher to win the ball, he just has that dog in him
— 🉐 (@hftbIv2) April 11, 2021
Martinelli is brilliant. He’s done more in the first half than half the team has done all season.
— Indra Kullenberg (@IndraKullenberg) April 11, 2021
Ceballos brilliant today, Martinelli once again injects us with intensity and energy.
— Omer (@AFCOmer) April 11, 2021
Gabriel Martinelli is such a live wire… offers something completely different to what we have.
If he’s fit, he has to start. pic.twitter.com/u24SOia6DL
— AFTV (@AFTVMedia) April 11, 2021
Perhaps most noteworthy of all, though, is a statistic to have surfaced, surrounding Martinelli and Willian.
The oft-criticised Willian has been used quite frequently by Mikel Arteta this season, whilst Martinelli has hardly featured, despite generally looking positive when he does.
On the back of the first-half this evening, though, it was revealed that Martinelli, despite his lack of game-time, has now had more shots on target (3) than Willian in the Premier League this season (2) – a stat which will no doubt see Arsenal fans’ calls for Martinelli to be handed a more prominent role continue to mount.
The Brazilian’s shot tally is of course now at four after his goal, but the point still stands.
Gabriel Martinelli has now had more shots on target (3) than Willian in the Premier League this season (2).
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 11, 2021
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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