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FOOTBALL – Arsenal – Sheffield United : Chris Wilder hopes to have Jack O’Connell back

Dean Henderson was called up to the senior England squad for the first time last October

Image: Dean Henderson is back for Sheffield United

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder hopes to have Jack O’Connell back for the game at Bramall Lane. The central defender, whose attacking overlaps have been integral to the Blades’ success this season, has missed the opening three games of the restart – during which Wilder’s side have taken just one point – after picking up an impact injury in a training match.

Goalkeeper Dean Henderson will return after being ineligible to face parent club Manchester United in midweek, while another key member of Wilder’s back three, John Egan, is available after suspension. Arsenal have confirmed that forward Gabriel Martinelli will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery on a knee injury

While Martinelli will miss Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final clash, his fellow Brazilian David Luiz is available for selection having served a two-match ban for his red card in the defeat at Manchester City and has since signed a new one-year deal at the club. Matteo Guendouzi is back in the Arsenal squad after being dropped for the win over Southampton with boss Mikel Arteta describing the decision as “squad management”.

Meanwhile, Cedric Soares could make his Arsenal debut having recovered from a facial injury. The 29-year-old made his loan move from Southampton permanent on Tuesday despite having not featured for Arsenal since making the initial switch in January. However, a lack of game-time means it is more likely the Portugal international will make his bow in next week’s Premier League clash with bottom club Norwich.

Opta stats

  • Sheffield United and Arsenal last faced in the FA Cup back in March 2005 in a fifth-round replay; after a goalless draw, the Gunners won 4-2 on penalties at Bramall Lane.
  • Arsenal have won just one of their last eight away matches against Sheffield United in all competitions (D4 L3), a 3-0 win in October 2007 in the League Cup.
  • Sheffield United last played in an FA Cup quarter-final in 2013-14 as a League One side, winning 2-0 against Charlton Athletic to progress to that season’s semi-final, where they lost 5-3 to Hull City.
  • Arsenal have progressed from 13 of their last 15 FA Cup quarter-final matches, losing in this run in 2010-11 against Man Utd and 2015-16 against Watford.
  • Sheffield United’s six FA Cup goals this season have been scored by different players (Robinson, Clarke, Besic, Norwood, McGoldrick, Sharp); they last had more scorers in a season back in 2013-14 (nine).
  • Arsenal have gone on to win the FA Cup in three of the six seasons they’ve knocked out Sheffield United (1935-36, 2002-03 and 2004-05).
  • This is Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder’s 35th match as a manager in the FA Cup proper but only his second against a Premier League side – the Blades lost 1-0 to Leicester City in the fifth round in 2017-18.
  • Eddie Nketiah has scored in all four of his domestic cup appearances this season for Leeds United and Arsenal, netting four goals. In his career, Nketiah has scored six goals in eight domestic cup games (FA/League Cup), averaging a goal every 83 minutes.

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