Dani Ceballos’ 91st-minute winner took Arsenal through to the FA Cup semi-finals at Sheffield United’s expense and hope for silverware in a season when they haven’t been anywhere near their best.
The loanee from Real Madrid slotted home a low, angled drive to win the tie in dramatic fashion after David McGoldrick’s equaliser for the Blades a few minutes earlier looked to have ensured extra time at Bramall Lane.
Arsenal took the lead in the first half through a Nicolas Pepe’s penalty after Alexandre Lacazette was fouled in the box by Chris Basham. The forward calmly slotted home to mark his eighth goal of the season.
But before then, Sheffield had a goal ruled out by the VAR when it found the scorer, John Lundstram, in an offside position leading to the goal.
The home side also had another effort chalked off in the second half when John Egan poked the ball in after McGoldrick had strayed beyond the last defender.
There was further bad news for Lundstram and Sheffield United with the midfielder having to be substituted before the break because of a shoulder injury.
Arsenal also failed to make it through the game unscathed, with center-back David Luiz – who had only just returned from suspension – limping out to increase their already lengthy injury list.
Can Arsenal land a silverware this season?
Arsenal might have a shot at winning a silverware this season with the FA Cup in sight as they have made it to the last four of the competition.
They have also won it three times in the six seasons prior to this, the latest coming in 2017.
The FA Cup has provided a shining light for Arsenal during a period that has seen them fail to replicate the consistent title challenges of Arsene Wenger’s first 10 seasons in charge.
Winning the FA Cup also offers the Gunners’ most likely route back into Europe, after just one win from their three league games since the restart left them ninth in the Premier League and struggling to cling to the coattails of some of the in-form sides above them.
They still have Machester United, Chelsea and Manchester City to contend with as we approach the draws for the last 4 in the competition.
Stats and Facts from the game
- Sheffield United have lost three matches in a row in all competitions for only the second time since Chris Wilder’s appointment in 2016, also doing so in December 2017
- Arsenal have now won seven of their last 10 matches in all competitions (L3), as many as they managed across the previous 27 matches beforehand (W7 D14 L6)
- Sheffield United have fallen at the quarter-final stage of the FA Cup for the first time since 2004 and the 11th time overall – the exact same number of eliminations as arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday have endured at this stage
- Arsenal’s opener – Nicolas Pepe’s penalty – was the Gunners’ first FA Cup goal from the spot since current boss Mikel Arteta netted against Everton in a 2013-14 quarter-final tie – a campaign in which they went on to win the competition
- Arsenal have progressed to the FA Cup semi-finals for the 30th time, which is a joint-record alongside Manchester United
- Nicolas Pepe’s opener was his 16th goal involvement for Arsenal this season in all competitions (eight goals, eight assists), with only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (21) having a hand in more for the Gunners in 2019-20
- Both of David McGoldrick’s two goals for Sheffield United in all competitions this season have been scored in the FA Cup (from four shots); he is yet to score in 23 Premier League appearances, having attempted 37 shots in that competition this season
- Dani Ceballos’ winner (90:37) – the Gunners’ only shot on target in the second half – was Arsenal’s latest FA Cup goal since Alexis Sanchez (100:06) scored a 101st-minute winner against Manchester City in the semi-finals in April 2017