It’s pretty hard to find any optimism this season if you’re a Sheffield United supporter.
The results, performances, off-field antics and boardroom wars have ensured this has been a miserable season for Blades fans. After the highs of last year, it’s certainly been one of the more bone crunching bumps back to earth Unitedites have experienced in recent years.
Chris Wilder’s departure is just the icing on a very bad tasting cake for Blades fans, who will be fearing yet another Premier League defeat against Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal team tomorrow.
But, could there be some cause for optimism for United fans ahead of the game? Could we in fact be coming up against a team who are having their own mini crisis and are there for the taking?
With the Gunners having injuries in key areas and big players spitting their dummies out, there’re certainly harder games for United to have at Bramall Lane this weekend.
Tierney and Luiz huge losses, while Aubameyang looks a shadow
Any time you can get a small win or advantage in a Premier League game, you’ll take it. Whether that be someone in the opposition XI you perceive to be a weak link, or a team woefully out of sorts, you have to capitalise at this level.
And that’s what United need to do tomorrow if they’re to add to their miserable total of 14 Premier League points.
While the Blades have their own injury worries and internal issues (we’re looking at you John Lundstram), it’s safe to say Arsenal aren’t exactly flying high themselves.
The Gunners sit a lowly 10th in the table and could be even lower depending on how Leeds get on against Manchester City today.
Further, they’re also missing key players. Kieran Tierney is out of the foreseeable future, while experienced central defender David Luiz is also missing from the squad. That’s in addition to the likes of Bukayo Saka only just coming back from injury, and Martin Odegaard also being likely to miss the trip to Bramall Lane.
Finally, Arsenal’s talisman and high-earning superstar, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, is woefully out of form and looks a shadow of the striker he has been over the last few seasons.
The Blades have a decent record against the Gunners. A Lys Mousset winner was enough at the Lane last year, while John Fleck netted us a draw in the away leg. Even this season, United could have got something.
Maybe, then, just maybe, the Blades could spring a surprise this weekend against an Arsenal team that is firmly on the ropes.