Sheffield United are warned about their latest meeting with Arsenal
Tomorrow’s visit to Arsenal will prove a much tougher assignment than October’s match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has warned his players, after noting the impact Mikel Arteta has made since taking charge of the Londoners.
The three-time Premier League winners were beaten 1-0 by United when they travelled to South Yorkshire three months ago.
But with Arteta replacing Unai Emery at the helm before Christmas, Wilder has been impressed by the change in their attitude and approach following the Basque’s appointment.
Admitting he followed his opposite number’s career closely during a spell on Manchester City’s coaching staff, Wilder said: “Mikel, you can just see his desire. Even when he was an assistant manager it was shining through.
“I’m sure they’ll finish the season strong and be a force when the manager has had a full pre-season.
“Are their players playing for their futures? I would be asking that, if I was Mikel: Who wants to stay at this football club?
“Hopefully we can kickstart our away record again, which has taken a couple of hits recently but that’s understandable.”
Previously unbeaten on the road in 18 outings, United head to north London hoping to avoid a third straight away defeat following losses to City at Liverpool.
But after responding to those set-backs by claiming a narrow win over West Ham last week, they have prepared for the fixture ranked sixth in the table.
Lys Mousset, who scored the only goal of the game when the two clubs last met, could be recalled in attack although Oli McBurnie will hope to retain his place alongside David McGoldrick.
McBurnie’s fourth of the season proved enough to dispatch David Moyes’ side, although Wilder has a history of rotating his forward options.
“Everyone came through okay,” he said. “There’s no issues after West Ham.”
“Statistically, we’ve looked at them (Arsenal) and they are doing more,” Wilder added. “They’re more difficult to break down, they’re tougher, but they’ve still got the flair players they always have. Like Manchester United, they might be in transition. But it’s still Arsenal away at the Emirates.
“Whoever they bring in, they are going to be world class players.”