• Sunday, December 03, 2023
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Arsenal vs Sheffield United: Nketiah bags hat-trick as Gunners shoot down Blades

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It was a carnival of goals at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday as England forward Eddie Nketiah scored his first Premier League hat-trick as Arsenal dispatched bottom-placed Sheffield United to move two points of Premier League leaders Tottenham.

The 24-year-old former Chelsea youth player opened the scoring with a fine finish in the 28th minute of play and then added Arsenal’s lead 22 minutes later before completing a treble in 58 minutes to take his league goals tally to five

Fabio Vieira scored a late penalty after the video assistant referee (VAR) adjudged Oliver Norwood to have fouled him inside the area.

Takehiro Tomiyasu got on the end of a flick from Mohamed Elneny and poked home from a corner in stoppage time.

Gunners manager Mikel Arteta made five changes for the visit of the Blades and it was Nketiah – in for the injured Gabriel Jesus – who proved the difference and ended a memorable afternoon wearing the captain’s armband.

Arteta handed rests to a handful of players during the second half, including Ben White and Gabriel Martinelli, while Gabriel Magalhaes was another saved from the XI.

Read also Struggling Sheffield face tough Arsenal test

Substitutes Fabio Vieira and Takehiro Tomiyasu wrapped up the points late with a penalty and a close-range finish on an afternoon where Arsenal’s fringe players took centre stage.

Martin Odegaard dropped to the bench in the most eye-catching of Arteta’s alterations, which also saw Emile Smith Rowe make his first league start since May 2022.

The victory took Arsenal to second place, two points behind leaders and north London rivals Tottenham, as Arteta’s men remained unbeaten after ten league games.

For the Blades, this was a galling afternoon where – once their resolute defence was breached for the first goal just before the half-hour mark – the writing was on the wall.

Arsenal will now look to win at West Ham in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, while the Blades will try to pick up their first Premier League win of the season at home to Wolves next Saturday.