EPL: Arsenal deliver KO punch

Updated: Jun 29, 2020, 07:29 IST | AFP | Sheffield (UK)

Dani Ceballos's late winner helps Arsenal edge out Sheffield United 2-1 to seal semi-final spot

Arsenal's Dani Ceballos wheels away in celebration after scoring against Sheffield United during their FA Cup quarter-final tie yesterday. Pic/PTI
Arsenal's Dani Ceballos wheels away in celebration after scoring against Sheffield United during their FA Cup quarter-final tie yesterday. Pic/PTI

Dani Ceballos fired Arsenal into the FA Cup semi-finals as the Spaniard’s stoppage-time strike clinched a dramatic 2-1 win at Sheffield United on Sunday. Mikel Arteta’s side rode their luck after surviving a second-half barrage from the Blades at Bramall Lane.

Nicolas Pepe put Arsenal ahead with a first-half penalty after Chris Basham fouled Alexandre Lacazette. David McGoldrick equalised with three minutes left, but on-loan Real Madrid midfielder Ceballos settled a hard-fought quarter-final in the final moments. Arsenal join Manchester United in the Last-4. Arteta was Arsenal’s captain when they won the FA Cup final against Hull in 2014.

Silverware in sight
And the Gunners boss remains on course to get his hands on the silverware again as Arsenal look to win the competition for a 14th time. After losing their first two matches, Arsenal, who beat Southampton in midweek, have now won two in a row. The Blades have gone winless in their four matches since the season restarted.

Arteta made five changes, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Eddie Nketiah among those left out. There was no place for Matteo Guendouzi again after the Arsenal midfielder’s role in the brawl against Brighton, while Mesut Ozil was also absent from the Gunners squad. David Luiz was back in Arsenal’s defence after serving a suspension for the red card he picked up during a disastrous substitute appearance in the defeat at Manchester City last week.

Unconvincing start
Despite their unconvincing start, Arsenal grabbed the lead in the 25th minute. Basham’s challenge on Lacazette looked innocuous, but he caught the Arsenal striker just inside the area and Paul Tierney awarded a penalty. Ivory Coast winger Pepe stepped up to beat Dean Henderson from the spot.

Arsenal were undone by a terrible defending in the 87th minute. Sead Kolasinac made a mess of clearing Robinson’s throw, smashing it into Mustafi and McGoldrick pounced to beat Martinez with a close-range finish. Arsenal had the perfect response. When Pepe was tackled by Enda Stevens, Ceballos seized the ball and drilled past Henderson’s to keep Arsenal’s silverware hopes alive.

Dani Ceballos scored his first goal in 18 appearances for Arsenal

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