Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder reveals the tweaks Mikel Arteta has made at Arsenal that will make Gunners a tougher proposition at the Emirates this weekend

Chris Wilder admits he is braced for a tougher test against Arsenal this weekend with Mikel Arteta in charge of the Premier League giants.
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Wilder led Sheffield United to a 1-0 victory over the Gunners earlier in the season at Bramall Lane, when Lys Mousset scored the winner.

Unai Emery was sacked as Arsenal boss soon after, and later highlighted the United defeat as one of the turning points in his reign at the Emirates.

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And Wilder expects an even tougher examination for his side against Arteta’s side – even in the absence of their top scorer, the suspended Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta: Tess Derry/PA Wire.Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta: Tess Derry/PA Wire.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta: Tess Derry/PA Wire.

“It’ll be a lot tougher, with the bounce of a new manager – especially one as respected as Mikel, with the work he’s done,” Wilder said.

“We've looked statistically at their game and they’ve upped in many areas, in terms of duels won and distances covered. And in the games we’ve watched since Mikel took charge, they look more structured and difficult to break down.

“But they also still have the flair players you’d expect them to have. No matter if they are in a transition or not, or where they are in that process, it’s still Arsenal; they still have the likes of [Alexandre] Lacazette and [Mesut] Ozil. So it’ll be an extremely tough test.”

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Gunners skipper Aubameyang is banned for three games after his red card against Crystal Palace, for a foul on Max Meyer.

Arsenal appealed the decision, but it was upheld.

“Whoever they bring in in his place is going to be a world-class footballer,” replied Wilder, when asked if Aubameyang’s absence is another boost for his side.

“They have some really good young players too and whatever team they play, it’s going to be a really strong one.”