Was having a pretty comfortable time of it until Nketiah turned past Trusty and fired the home side ahead. His first real save of note was a good one, turning Martinelli’s well-struck shot behind, but he won’t look back on Nketiah’s second with much fondness as he flapped at a corner and could only palm it into the striker’s path. Despite a VAR check, with United claiming their goalkeeper was impeded by White, the goal stood
United started resoultely before Eddie Nketiah broke the deadlock just before the half-hour mark, with the young striker going on to complete his hat-trick before Fábio Vieira’s penalty, and a late goal from Takehiro Tomiyasu, capped another difficult day for United.
Defeat will increase talk about Heckingbottom’s future, with the Blades rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table and still looking for their first win of what is shaping up to be a pretty miserable season so far. Here’s how we rated the Blades’ players at the Emirates...
Kept his place despite the return of George Baldock to the squad and left his early mark on Martinelli with a late challenge that left the Arsenal man stricken on the turf. Booked later on for bringing down Trossard and his tough afternoon was ended when he made way for Baldock on his return from injury Made his return to the Emirates after leaving Arsenal in the summer but couldn’t do enough to prevent former teammate Nketiah from opening the scoring after a good touch and clever movement from Rice’s cross. Was up the task soon after with a great recovery tackle to snuff out the danger as Zinchenko was sent clear on goal, and showed good awareness to head clear an effort that may have crept in with Foderingham diving the other way Had to be alert early in the game to snuff out the danger after a deflected shot almost fell in the path of Kai Havertz. Did well soon after when Saka looked to fashion a bit of space Had a difficult task of marshalling Saka down the Arsenal right but stuck to his task well defensively. Tidy enough on the ball as well, if not anything spectacular His influence mostly limited to off the ball as United struggled to keep possession against their illustrious opponents. But blotted his copybook in the dying minutes as his lunging tackle caught Vieira rather than the ball and after a check that seemed to last an age, the referee awarded the penalty for 4-0 Sat in front of the defence and tried to offer them some sort of protection but it was always going to be a difficult ask against the likes of £100m star Rice, never mind Arsenal’s other attacking options. Earned extra credit for a lovely bit of skill into extra time that earned applause from the away end Made his full Premier League debut for the Blades and showed some promising moments when the Blades did have the ball down the left channel, but couldn’t put the stamp on the game he would have hoped when he heard the news he was starting. Made way for Osborn later in the game Plenty of industry, as shown by him darting back to help the defensive effort as Arsenal countered quickly, but not enough invention for the Blades’ liking. One early effort, that tried to catch Raya off his line from miles out but went horribly wrong, summed up the Blades’ afternoon attacking-wise. Could also have been closer to Rice for the cross for Arsenal’s opener Saw a decent amount of the ball, relative to United’s overall possession, down the right channel in the first half but was too easily dispossessed or shrugged off it. United needed more from their creative players to stand a chance of getting anything here but they didn’t get the ball often enough - and when they did, they couldn’t do anything with it. Replaced by Fleck Made his first start since last October with McBurnie absent through injury but couldn’t make his mark on the game, being left badly isolated up front on his own and starved of any sort of real service from those behind him. Came on for Brewster but didn’t have much impact Replaced Slimane and picked up a booking for a foul on Martinelli with one of his first actions of the game. Then put United in trouble looking to overplay deep in his own territory before Arsenal’s fourth Replaced Bogle on his return from injury in some rare positive news for the Blades Came on for McAtee with the game already up LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28: Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal on the ball whilst under pressure from Jayden Bogle of Sheffield United during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Sheffield United at Emirates Stadium on October 28, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)