Play in England is suspended until April 30 at the very earliest but FA Cup fever has taken over and, for this afternoon at least, the crunch quarter-final tie will be played – at least in our own heads. Here’s how the tie *could* have unfolded in ‘real’ time.
Sheffield United v Arsenal - how it COULD have happened
Last updated: Sunday, 22 March, 2020, 15:50
- Blades looking to reach semi-finals of FA Cup for first time since 2014
- Old FA Cup foes Arsenal are in town
- Chris Wilder brings back David McGoldrick for the Blades
First real chance
for the Blades sees McGoldrick and Mousset combine and the Frenchman is sent free, but he can't get enough purchase on his shot and Leno is out quickly to save with his legs. A good sign for the Blades, though, as Mousset leaves Luiz trailing in his path
and the roar around Bramall Lane tells its own story as Billy Sharp, the boyhood Blade, books United's place in the FA Cup semi-finals with a remarkable late strike against Arsenal. It wasn't his best but he won't care and neither does Chris Wilder as he gives his skipper a giant bear-hug on the centre circle. What a moment in the history of this club and in a season that no-one will ever remember! 'We're going to Wembley' sing the Blades fans who I'm sure will drink in every moment tonight! See you at Wembley...!!
Just seconds left at the Lane
and there are more than a few nervous looks around the press box here... Sander Berge is on to help protect United's lead at the expense of Lys Mousset, who's ran his blood to water here for the cause
GOAAAAAL BLADES! SJHDHDDDHDHDHD
Oh my word! Limbs everywhere at Bramall Lane as Billy Sharp scores a typical Billy Sharp goal, feeding off scraps in the six yard box and causing pandemonium inside this ground! It's surely the winner with just five minutes remaining, and United are within touching distance of the FA Cup semi-final!! What a moment for the boyhood Blade... it's United 2, Arsenal 1!!
Seven minutes to go
and United are still knocking on the door while also staying wary of Arsenal's threats on the break... Arsenal are now trying to use the pace of Pepe over the top but Baldock has dealt well with that so far
Blades go close
as a driving run from Fleck sees his shot blocked by Luiz before it's recycled to the right and Baldock's cross is taken off Sharp's toe by Mustafi... what a moment that would have been
Dean Henderson guesses right and stands his ground as Ozil tries a cheeky Panenka penalty and looks a complete plum as the ball rolls straight into Henderson's grateful grasp! What a let off for the Blades and yet more drama in this classic cup tie at the Lane!
PENALTY to Arsenal
Oh no. One of the only times they've been out of their own half since United scored and O'Connell is harshly penalised for tripping Pepe... it goes to VAR but there's contact there and the ref's original decision stands. United's players can't believe what's happened here but Ozil has the chance to put Arsenal back ahead, against the run of play...
And it's Xhaka who sees red for petulantly kicking the ball away after being penalised for a soft challenge on Baldock - he boots the ball into the hoardings in frustration and is shown his second yellow card! What a way to let your team down when they're right up against it at Bramall Lane... his manager is furious as he walks straight down the tunnel, and United have bene given another lift here!
Bramall Lane is now
absolutely buzzing after that stunner from Norwood and the Blades can sense blood, looking to overrun Arsenal as the crowd - and their manager down on the touchline in front of us - wills them on. Luiz is forced to defend to prevent Sharp tapping home a cross from the left, and Sokratis does well to snuff out a dangerous looking throughball aimed for Mousset