Monday 30 December 2013
Christian Nade struck just before half-time to give Sheffield United a surprise victory over high-flying Arsenal.
Nade ran on to a pass from Alan Quinn and beat Kolo Toure before sidefooting the ball past Jens Lehmann into the net for his first Barclays Premier League goal. It was only United’s sixth league victory of the season and moved them two places up the table to 15th, five points clear of the relegation zone.
The win was even more impressive considering the Blades played more than half an hour with defender Phil Jagielka in goal following an injury to goalkeeper Paddy Kenny. Arsenal’s fifth away defeat dropped them two places to fifth in the table.
The Gunners had made the better start to the match with Kenny denying Tomas Rosicky and Gilberto Silva heading over the bar. But United worked their way into the match with Quinn firing straight at Lehmann before he was involved in their goal.
Kenny was forced off in the second half after appearing to pull a thigh muscle when taking a goal-kick. With no substitute goalkeeper on the bench, Jagielka went between the posts.
Arsenal failed to trouble Jagielka for more than 20 minutes but when they did, he proved up to the challenge by superbly tipping over a close-range effort from Robin van Persie.
United saw the game out after that to secure their first league win over Arsenal since 1973.
“It was probably the proudest moment since I became a manager, with the crowd and the atmosphere," United manager Neil Warnock said. "I like having an extra forward on the bench and didn’t panic when Jagielka went in goal – he doesn’t get worried and neither do I.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said: “It was a very physical game and tricky because of the pitch but we battled hard and gave everything. Overall we were a bit unlucky. We were strong enough to win the game but it didn’t go for us.”
Arsenal finished the season in fourth to secure the final UEFA Champions League place but United were relegated on goal difference in 18th place.