The Daily Telegraph - Business : 2020-06-29

Sport : 12 : 4

Sport

4 The Daily Telegraph Monday 29 June 2020 *** Total Football Another crazy afternoon for the Gunners Arsenal back at Wembley as Ceballos strike masks defensive shortcomin­gs The good... Midfielder Dani Ceballos celebrates after grabbing a 91st-minute winner for Arsenal By Jason Burt chief football correspond­ent have to improve in many department­s, a lot, and have to respect the process,” the head coach said. Some of the older players appear out of touch with “the process”. The question is – how bold will Arteta be? The future lies in Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Kieran Tierney, who is finally fit and produced his best performanc­e for Arsenal. Arteta is hoping Nicolas Pepe is also part of the programme and it was encouragin­g from the 25-year-old, who scored the firsthalf penalty. “I think he has made a click,” Arteta said. “He has realised what he needs to do for the team when we don’t have the ball and then you can see what he can do when he does have the ball.” He left out Mesut Ozil, apparently because of a back injury, and the exiled Matteo Guendouzi, and although David Luiz returned, he limped off with an ankle injury. It was interestin­g to see Lacazette hand the captain’s armband to Granit Xhaka when he was substitute­d. Defensivel­y, Arsenal remain an accident waiting to happen. Still, they reached a 30th FA Cup semi-final and this competitio­n has been a lifeline for them over recent years – they have won it four times since they were last champions. “We are back to Wembley,” Arteta said. “We played four away games after coronaviru­s and hopefully we can get momentum now.” Sheffield United had also had an away sequence before this tie, which has left Wilder feeling sore, partly because he knows if any team have suffered from the absence of fans, then it is his overachiev­ers. “It was more of a Sheffield United display,” he said and that was right. Oli McBurnie had a header ruled out for offside, as did John Egan, with Chris Basham missing from another close-range header. It was Basham who conceded the penalty, catching Lacazette. “Rash from Bash,” Wilder conceded before adding: “You don’t need to give an invitation for those boys to go over. Maybe it’s natural for those sort of players. It’s not for me or my players. There was contact.” That Arsenal were unable to control the game after that owed as much to their shortcomin­gs as it did to United rallying, especially as Wilder conceded that some players were lacking confidence – “which happens when you lose two games 3-0”. The problem for Arsenal appears to be slightly different: good players who believe in themselves a little too much. Still, it says something when Arteta can turn to a midfielder on loan from Real Madrid, in Ceballos, to cleverly beat Dean Henderson at his near post. Arsenal did not spend £72 million on Pepe or sign Ceballos for a run in the FA Cup to be the height of their ambition. But in a chaotic season it will do for now. “It is a great opportunit­y to try to win a title and play in Europe,” Arteta said. at Bramall Lane Sheffield United Arsenal McGoldrick 87 Pepe 25 pen, Ceballos 90+1 If there was a vignette of what Mikel Arteta has to do at Arsenal it was captured in a frantic four-minute spell at the end of this FA Cup quarter-final. They were fortunate to beat Sheffield United, and Arteta knew it, with the home side’s equaliser a travesty of defending: Rob Holding missed a header, Sead Kolasinac panicked and drove a clearance against Shkodran Mustafi, and David McGoldrick hooked home. Arsenal were then indebted to goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who blocked a Billy Sharp shot, before they broke away and scored from a smart, rapid counter-attack through substitute Dani Ceballos. There was a momentary fist-pump from Arteta before he turned to put on Sokratis to shore up that panicky defence – only to find the centrehalf rooted to his seat and certainly not ready for action. Arteta did not hold back in what he thought. It was Arsenal encapsulat­ed: a team of exciting, young attacking talent – with a propensity to shoot themselves in the foot. They got away with it here. United conceded a penalty, with their manager Chris Wilder unhappy at how Alexandre Lacazette reacted to win it, had two “goals” disallowed for offside and dominated for long periods. Arteta knows the task. “We still have a massive gap to fill in. We The bag... Left-back Kieran Tierney, who has been tipped as a future Arsenal captain, shows he still has the common touch as he arrives at Bramall Lane with his possession­s in a supermarke­t bag The 30 club Arteta’s side join United in making Cup history 16 occasions and have lifted the Cup a record 13 times. This is also the fourth time in the last seven seasons Arsenal have won through to the last four – the other years were 2014, 2015 and 2017 when they went on to lift the Cup on each occasion. Arsenal’s victory against Sheffield United means Mikel Arteta’s men have taken the club to the FA Cup semi-finals for the 30th time in their history, which is a record they share with Manchester United. Arsenal have gone on to the final at Wembley on Sure-footed Shaw becomes Solskjaer’s ‘go-to’ guy By Jim White started Saturday’s sixth-round tie against a stubborn, determined Norwich City with a side who showed eight changes from the one who had played in the previous league game. And, as is almost equally normal in such circumstan­ces, the cavalry was required as the eight newcomers, rusty after their lengthy lockdown layoff, showed little of the fluency their colleagues had shown against Sheffield United in the midweek Premier League fixture. Making history, Solskjaer sent on six substitute­s to rescue things after his second string had conspicuou­sly failed, wilting in the face of a Norwich team for whom Todd Cantwell sparkled. And even then, his refreshed, rebooted side only just found enough in the locker to make it over the line with seconds to spare. But what was odd about Solskjaer’s rotation strategy was this: the three first-choice players who had started the game stayed on the pitch even as the substitute­s’ board went into meltdown. Bruno Fernandes, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw played 120 minutes of gruelling, draining, late- June football. Which suggested one of two things: either the idea that players need the protection from exhaustion that rotation brings does not apply to them; or Solskjaer simply dare not risk not starting with them. In the case of Fernandes, who has quickly become the team’s creative heartbeat, and Maguire, its defensive conscience (and here the match-winning goalscorer), it is not hard to suggest that may well be the case. But to cast Shaw as undroppabl­e seems an unlikely descriptio­n of a player who, in his six years at the club, has rarely reached the levels of his illustriou­s left-back predecesso­rs such as Denis Irwin, Tony Dunne and Patrice Evra. Nor does he appear to have benefited from the post-Fernandes- Norwich City Manchester United Cantwell 75 Ighalo 51, Maguire 118 After extra time. 1-1 at 90min As has become a managerial convention in the FA Cup, Manchester United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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