Arsenal crushed Sheffield United on Saturday by a scoreline of 5-0. The Gunners were fueled in the match by a hat trick from center forward Eddie Nketiah. It was the England international’s second ever three-goal game for the club and first in Premier League play.

The Gunners started the match with multiple changes to their team compared to a midweek matchup with Sevilla. Star striker Gabriel Jesus was completely left out of the squad due to a muscle injury. Manager Mikel Arteta also placed Martin Odegaard, Gabriel, Jorginho, and Takehiro Tomiyasu on the bench. In their places, Emile Smith Rowe, Jakub Kiwior, Kai Havertz, and Oleksandr Zinchenko earned starting spots for the club.

The hosts started the match, quite predictably, on the front foot. Despite the changed lineup, Arsenal dominated possession and played some slick passes in the early stages of the game. While the Gunners looked solid early, they couldn’t quite break down Sheffield United’s defense. In fact, the only shot recorded by the hosts in the opening 20 minutes of the match was blocked before it could reach Wes Foderingham in goal.

Nketiah grabs opening goal to get Arsenal going en-route to hat trick

Nevertheless, Nketiah finally put Arsenal ahead in the 28th minute after a glorious touch and finish beyond the goalkeeper. Declan Rice picked up an assist for the goal by sending a low cross into the box towards his teammate. Nketiah collected the ball, neatly bypassed a Blades defender, and slotted a shot easily by a diving Foderingham. It was the first attempt on target in the match by either side.

Arsenal continued to pour the pressure on the visitors in the latter stages of the opening period. Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe both had solid chances to add to their club’s lead, but neither could send a shot by Foderingham. As a result, the Gunners entered the halftime break with just a one-goal lead.

Striker completes hat trick with two second-half scores

Nevertheless, it took less than five minutes for Nketiah to double Arsenal’s lead in the second half. Foderingham essentially fumbled a deep cross into his box from a corner kick. The ball then fell straight to the scorer from just a few yards away from goal. Nketiah emphatically placed a powerful shot into the top far corner of the net. There was a relatively short VAR review for a possible infraction by Ben White, but the goal was ultimately rightly allowed.

Paul Heckingbottom is facing an incredibly bleak future as Sheffield United manager
Paul Heckingbottom is facing an incredibly bleak future as Sheffield United manager

Paul Heckingbottom is facing an incredibly bleak future as Sheffield United manager

Nketiah then completed his hat trick in the 58th minute with an absolutely stunning strike from distance. Smith Rowe found the striker in a little bit of space just outside of the Sheffield box. The England international collected the ball, turned slightly, and sent an incredible shot into the back of the net. Foderingham made an attempt to save the shot, but the ball was perfectly placed.

Substitutes add finishing touches on Arsenal’s victory

The hosts were then awarded a penalty kick with just a few minutes remaining on the clock. Despite the decision not initially being given on the pitch, replays showed substitute Fabio Vieira was taken down inside the box by Oliver Norwood. Although Nketiah grabbed the ball to seemingly take the spot kick, he eventually gave the ball to Vieira. The Portuguese playmaker stepped up and simply slotted a shot by Foderingham.

Tomiyasu finished things off for the hosts with a goal six minutes into added time. The defender latched onto a loose ball inside Sheffield’s box from a corner kick. It was the Japanese full back’s first ever goal for the club in his 50th Premier League appearance.

The win takes the Gunners up to second in the top flight table for the moment. Manchester City could eventually jump their rivals with a win by at least four goals on Sunday. Sheffield United, on the other hand, remain bottom of the league with just one point so far this season.

Photo credits: IMAGO / PA Images : IMAGO / Pro Sports Images