Sheffield United v Arsenal tips: Blades to battle at Bramall Lane

Paul Higham expects it to be tense and scrappy affair at Bramall Lane with a chance of goals and cards being served up.

Gunners in no man's land

Arsenal are stuck in a no man's land in the Premier League, with perhaps the only thing left to play for domestically being Mikel Arteta's job.

It's so strange as at times they've shown character in coming from behind to beat Spurs and recovering from 3-0 down to draw with West Ham - yet they've been limp and rudderless when battered by Liverpool.

A late Slavia Prague goal means they're up against it in the Europa League and their only real route to success this season. Arteta got away with a so-so overall record thanks to winning the FA Cup last season, if he fails to lift a trophy at the end of this campaign there'll be no hiding place.

Facing the league's bottom side could be just the tonic, or it could be a huge blow for Arteta's future.

Blades playing for pride

In contrast to Arsenal, at least Sheffield United are consistent with seven defeats in their last eight seeing them prop up the league and sitting 15 points from safety - in effect they're down and just waiting for it to be confirmed.

Paul Heckingbottom got a decent, hard-working performance out of them in their 2-1 loss at Leeds last week, and if they can apply themselves in the same way they could provide Arsenal with some real problems.

The Blades have a few injury worries but seem to be finally playing for pride - and in some cases possible transfers to remain in the Premier League next season.

They've actually beaten Arsenal in their last two league meetings at Bramall Lane and are unbeaten in all four contests in the Premier League in the Steel City (W2 D2).

Gunners big favourites but can't keep clean sheets

Arsenal are huge 1.57 favourites for victory with the struggling Blades a whopping 6.0 to earn just their fifth win of the season - the draw is priced at 4.0 but comes with a warning that Bramall Lane has only seen one league stalemate all season.

That price on Arsenal are some short odds for a side without a win at Bramall Lane since 1991, and for a team who have conceded three goals in their last two league games. The Blades have bagged just 10 goals at home all season but even they'll fancy a goal going on Arsenal's recent struggles.

The Gunners have had real problems keeping clean sheets, having conceded in their last 14 games in all competitions - and that makes 2.0 on both teams to score here worth taking.

Arsenal are the type of team that could put a few past the Blades, but even though United are rock bottom they haven't been blown away too much, and 15 of their 24 defeats have been by just the single goal. That's a Premier League record.

Counting cards in scrappy encounter

So, I'm happier to rely on the lowest scorers in the league bagging a goal than I am about backing Arsenal to beat the league's bottom side - that just about sums up Arsenal this season.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if they were held to a draw or even worse.

2.1 shot Alexandre Lacazette is the stand-out candidate in the goalscoring market, with eight of his 11 Premier League goals for Arsenal this season having come away from home.

Cards are more likely than goals though - eight yellows were shown in this fixture last season - and while Sheffield United top the bookings charts, Arsenal top the red card standings this season.

John Lundstram is 3.75 to be booked for the third game running. He's had eight bookings this season and joins Hector Bellerin 4.5 at the top of the yellow card standings in the league.

Our old favourite Granit Xhaka may only have six bookings in the Premier League, but four of those have come in the last eight games and with this set to be a scrap the conditions could be ideal for his name to be taken again at 3.4.

Opta stat

This will be Sheffield United's 24th consecutive Premier League game starting the day bottom of the table - only six teams have ever had a longer such run in the competition, most recently Aston Villa in 2015-16 (28 games).

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