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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 December 2006, 19:11 GMT
Sheff Utd 1-0 Arsenal
Sheff Utd scorer Christian Nade
Nade put the Blades in front just before half-time
Christian Nade got the winning goal as Sheffield United ended 2006 with a shock victory over a poor Arsenal side.

Nade got the better of Kolo Toure before sidefooting past an onrushing Jens Lehmann just before half-time.

United had to survive over half an hour with midfielder Phil Jagielka in goal after Paddy Kenny went off injured.

But Arsenal failed to seriously test the emergency stopper until late on when he pulled off a spectacular save to deny Robin van Persie.

Free-signing Nade was all set to be the Blades unlikely hero with his first Premiership goal until Jagielka's spell between the sticks.

Until then it was a poor way to bring down the curtain on the footballing year, but perhaps not surprising considering both clubs had suffered through illness and injuries in the build-up to the game and were forced to ring the changes.

In spite of this Arsenal started the game as they finished the win at Watford and repeatedly opened up United in the opening 10 minutes.

Tomas Rosicky saw a shot saved by a flying Kenny and then Julio Baptista was given the freedom of the Blades' box.

But the Brazilian was let down by a poor first touch that gave Nick Montgomery time to get back and throw himself into a goal-saving tackle that left Baptista frustrated and in some pain.

Gilberto Silva should have extended his recent scoring streak to four in as many games when he lost his marker at the back post, but headed into the ground and over the bar.

But Arsenal's dominance was not to last as they struggled to get their passing game going on a difficult pitch hosting its second game in five days.

Alan Quinn should have done better than fire straight at Lehmann when he was left free in the box and at the other end Jeremie Aliadiere brought another routine save out of Kenny.

Jagielka (right) takes over from Kenny
Jagielka (right) took over from Kenny in goal
The half was brought to life late on when Sheffield United took a shock lead.

An Arsenal move broke down and when Quinn played the ball into Nade's feet Toure gambled and was left chasing a French shadow when he dummied the ball and ran on to sidefoot past the onrushing Lehmann.

Arsenal have been the Premiership's best second-half performers this season.

And their task was given a helping hand when Kenny was forced off after seemingly pulling a thigh muscle taking a goalkick.

With no substitute keeper on the bench Jagielka was forced to don the gloves.

Quinn had a couple of quick chances to bolster their lead before United settled for defending on mass.

Arsenal soon threw on Cesc Fabregas but his main contribution was an ugly late tackle on Quinn that earned him a yellow card that means he will be suspended for the FA Cup tie against Liverpool.

It took over 20 minutes for Arsenal to test Jagielka and he responded with a spectacular tip over the bar from a close-range Van Persie strike.

Arsenal ran out of ideas and Jagielka - helped by a heroic defensive effort - was able to see out the five minutes of added-on time without having to make a save.

The Blades move up to 15th in the table with their first league win over Arsenal - who end the year in fifth place - in over 33 years.

  • Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock:
    "It was probably the proudest moment since I became a manager, with the crowd and the atmosphere.

    "They have injuries but we were decimated as well but I thought we deserved to win it.

    "A lot of the players came in and I don't worry about them, we always put everything in. We won tackles, the goal was super and the crowd were brilliant. It was a great result.

    "I like having an extra forward on the bench. I didn't panic when he (Jagielka) went in goal, he doesn't get worried and neither do I. It's the only chance he's got of being man-of-the-match."

  • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:
    "It was a very physical game and tricky because of the pitch but we battled hard and gave everything.

    "It didn't go for us with the early chances and they then stopped the game and did it well.

    "Overall I feel we were a bit unlucky - they showed great spirit and so did we. We were strong enough to win the game but it didn't go for us and it's hard to take."

    Sheff Utd: Kenny (Tonge 61), Kozluk, Morgan, Jagielka, Armstrong, Gillespie, Montgomery, Leigertwood (Davis 27), Alan Quinn, Nade (Hulse 70), Kazim-Richards.
    Subs Not Used: Webber, Law.

    Booked: Morgan, Hulse.

    Goals: Nade 41.

    Arsenal: Lehmann, Hoyte (Fabregas 64), Toure, Senderos, Clichy, Julio Baptista, Silva, Rosicky (Denilson 83), Flamini, Van Persie, Aliadiere.
    Subs Not Used: Almunia, Lauren, Song Billong.

    Booked: Rosicky, Van Persie, Fabregas.

    Att: 32,086.

    Ref: L Mason (Lancashire).

    Saturday's Premiership photos
    30 Dec 06 |  Football


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