Sheffield United 1 Arsenal 2

McGoldrick 87, Pepe pen 25, Ceballos 90+1

Arsenal secured safe passage to the FA Cup semi-finals through substitute Dani Ceballos’ late winner over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. Pepe had given the Gunners the lead from the penalty spot when Alexandre Lacazette was fouled by Chris Basham, the Ivorian beating Henderson to his left from twelve yards.

Under intense second half pressure, the Blades drew level through David McGoldrick who stabbed home when as Arsenal’s defence dithered, and not for the first time in the match. Arsenal looked good going forward in parts, but remained susceptible to the long throw in and the deep cross.

Twice the Gunners earlier thought they’d gone behind, firstly when John Lundstram pounced to head home from a corner. The defending? There wasn’t any of note. That continued to let off number two. John Egan thought he’d scored after another defensive disaster class, but again the offside flag was raised.

When the Blades levelled through McGoldrick on 87 minutes, the game seemed to have swung in favour of the home side. Extra time looked ominous, but that scenario took a dramatic turn deep into stoppage times. On a rapid break, Ainsley Maitland-Niles found the advanced Pepe deep on the right. As Arsenal’s record signing was held up, Ceballos made up ground to pick up the loose ball deep on the right before calmly firing low past Dean Henderson for Arsenal’s winner.

The Gunners now have a Wembley semi-final date against Manchester City, with Chelsea facing Manchester United in the other semi-final.

David Luiz suffered a second half injury, pulling up having seen the ball out. His replacement Rob Holding had another robust outing alongside Shkodran Mustafi. Holding was up for getting his head to the ball, and his bravery definitely warrants further inclusion. As the Gunners secured their record 30th FA Cup semi-final, Mikel Arteta is eying lifting the trophy he won as an Arsenal player in 2014 in the 3-2 win over Hull City.

The Gunners head coach praised Pepe’s contribution in a game where his side had to hang in.

“I’m very excited about what he can bring [in the future] and what he’s bringing to the team this season,” said Arteta. “I think he’s made a click and I think he realises what he needs to do for the team when we don’t have the ball,” said Arteta.

Pepe has eight goals and eight assists following his penalty against Sheffield United, only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has better numbers.

“I’m so pleased today, you’ve seen his defensive actions were incredible with what he’s doing, and then with the ball he gives us that creativity and flair that we need and big teams need. He’s always unpredictable with what can happen when he’s got the ball at his feet, so I think he’s [heading] in the right direction.”

After four consecutive games on the road, Arsenal return to the Emirates for the first time since lockdown on Wednesday in their Premier League clash against Norwich City