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Arsenal demolishes Sheffield United in latest statement win in EPL title bid

Arsenal Declan Rice - The Canadian Press

SHEFFIELD, England (AP) — Arsenal delivered another statement win in its English Premier League title challenge by thrashing last-placed Sheffield United 6-0 to stay in touch with Liverpool and Manchester City on Monday.

Some home fans left their seats and were seen heading to the exits inside Bramall Lane after 25 minutes when Kai Havertz made it 4-0, adding to strikes from Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli either side of an own-goal by Jayden Bogle.

With supporters in the away end singing “We’re gonna score in a minute,” Declan Rice slotted home a fifth in the 39th minute. It meant Arsenal scored five goals in three straight away league games — after West Ham (6-0) and Burnley (5-0) — and tied the record for most goals scored in the first half of a league game.

The visitors weren’t finished there, with right back Ben White becoming the sixth different scorer when lashing a left-foot shot into the far corner in the 58th.

At that stage, Arsenal looked a good bet to threaten the most goals scored by a team in a league game and the competition’s biggest margin of victory, with three clubs — Liverpool, Leicester and Manchester United (twice) — having won 9-0 down the years.

However, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta’s decision to make a raft of substitutions — including removing Bukayo Saka at halftime and others like Rice and Jorginho later on — broke his team’s rhythm and Sheffield United’s players could breathe slightly easier.

Still, it was a good night for Arsenal’s goal difference, which is now far superior to that of Liverpool and Man City. Arsenal stayed in third place, two points behind Liverpool and a point adrift of City, and has won seven straight games in the league.

“A great performance and a big result for us again with the amount of goals we scored and the clean sheet," Arteta said. “The team shows signs of wanting more. That's very positive.”

The only negative on the night was the sight of Martinelli being helped off with a right ankle injury in the 64th.

Arteta said Martinelli sustained a cut, while Saka was removed because he was feeling sick.

Arsenal could climb into first place — if only briefly — by beating Brentford on Saturday, ahead of Liverpool hosting Man City on Sunday.

“The energy is really good at the moment," Arteta said. “When you are winning, everything is easier. We have to maintain momentum now.”

Sheffield United, which has already lost 8-0 to Newcastle and 5-0 to Brighton at home this season, stayed in last place, 11 points adrift of safety with 11 games remaining in its first season back in the top-flight.

“It’s a painful season — the boys are a damaged group of players,” said Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder, whose team has conceded 72 goals in 27 games. “It's a long season and we’ve taken some big hits.”

Wilder said he might start giving some of his squad's younger players a chance with the team's survival prospects looking bleak.


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