Arsenal 1-1 Sheffield United: Gunners let lead slip to drop points at home
PUBLISHED: 16:55 18 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:55 18 January 2020
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Not for the first time this season, Arsenal let a lead slip at home to drop a valuable two points as they drew 1-1 with Sheffield United at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon.
Gabriel Martinelli put the Gunners ahead with a close-range finish on the stroke of half-time, but there would be late heartbreak for the hosts as Joh Fleck's volley levelled the score and saw the spoils shared.
Mikel Arteta was forced into three changes from the side that draw with Crystal Palace as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (suspended), Sead Kolasinac (injured) and Sokratis (illness) were replaced by Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Shkodran Mustafi.
The Blades made a bright start as they looked to press forward early, with Lys Mousset going close when he headed an Enda Stevens cross over the bar on eight minutes.
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Despite a dominant start from the visitors, Arsenal had a good chance on 13 minutes as captain Alexandre Lacazette did well to free Nicolas Pepe, whose cross to Martinelli was volley just wide by the Brazilian.
Martinelli would go close again on with 21 minutes on the clock as Pepe's driving run and cutting pass ended with the youngster flashing a shot past the post as Arteta's men grew into the game.
The 18-year-old looked the most likely man in red and white to score, and he did just that on the stroke of half-time to open the scoring.
Neat play in and around the Sheffield United penalty area ended with Saka being freed down the left, and his low cross took a hefty deflection straight into the path of Martinelli who tapped home from close range to send Arsenal into the break ahead.
In a second half of few chances, the Gunners did well to control the game and hold firm against any Blades pressure as the away side pressed for a leveller.
But, with 83 minutes on the clock Arteta's men finally crumbled as they failed to clear a ball into the box and Fleck's downward volley bounced off the turf, beating a helpless Bernd Leno.