Mikel Arteta has given his Arsenal players a frank warning ahead of their clash with Sheffield United this weekend.
The new Gunners boss is looking to pick up a win against the Blades and prevent Chris Wilder’s men doing the double over his team.
Arteta has enjoyed mixed success since taking over at the Emirates. They did beat Manchester United at home but have also dropped points against the likes of Bournemouth.
And the Spaniard is warning his players not to take this weekend’s clash lightly, insisting he has been massively impressed with the Blades.
“It will be a very difficult test. I already warned the players today,” Arteta said (Arsenal official site).
“The solidarity in their team is incredible. How hard they work for each other and they have very clear principles – in attack and in defence, restarts of play, set-pieces – with what they want to do.”
Arteta will be well aware of what to expect from the Blades. His former team, Manchester City, only narrowly saw off the Premier League newcomers just a few weeks ago. The Arsenal boss may well, then, pick the brains of Pep Guardiola.
Arsenal were almost shellshocked the last time the teams met at Bramall Lane. That night, the Gunners failed to live with the hard work and pressure the Blades put them under.
Despite it being away from home, Chris Wilder will expect his men to deliver a similar showing.
That’s why Mikel Arteta is wanting his team at their best. He is fully aware that if the Gunners are off it, then Sheffield United will more than likely come away with something.
The tie is all set to be an open game and one which could well see goals. The Blades have been good on the counter-attack this season and have still only lost twice away.
However, both those losses came at City and Liverpool. It means Arteta and his team have plenty to think about.