Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta described his side’s 6-0 thrashing of Sheffield United as “a great night” as they climbed to within two points of leaders Liverpool.

The Gunners dominated from start to finish against a Blades team who looked well beaten after Martin Odegaard, Jayden Bogle’s own goal and Gabriel Martinelli had put them 3-0 behind inside 13 minutes.

Kai Havertz and Declan Rice put the irrepressible Londoners 5-0 ahead at half-time and Ben White crashed home their sixth before the hour mark.

Arteta, whose side’s seventh straight league victory saw them become the first English league side to win three consecutive away games by five or more goals, said: “It was a great night.

“The way we started made a difference. We were really aggressive and positive and we showed real quality in the final third to take the game into a great position for us.

“Then we maintained the rhythm, maintained the hunger and I love that about the team.”

Arsenal struck their fifth goal in the 39th minute, the earliest an away side has had a five-goal margin in Premier League history.

But Arteta warned his side they cannot afford to drop any points between now and the end of the season if they are to pip Liverpool and Manchester City to the title.

“The fact that we’re scoring many goals and not conceding is a great sign, but it’s about winning every game now,” the Spaniard said.

“That’s the demands these two teams have set over the past few years and that’s the task ahead of us.”

Arteta confirmed Bukayo Saka was withdrawn at half-time due to illness, while Martinelli was replaced by Gabriel Jesus in the 64th minute after cutting his foot.

“We need to wait and see how it is,” added Arteta on Martinelli’s setback, which was the only downside to the evening.

The Blades, 11 points adrift at the bottom of the table, are the first side in the top four tiers of English football to concede five or more goals in four successive home games in all competitions.

They have now shipped 72 goals in 26 league matches this season and boss Chris Wilder, who returned for his second spell in charge in December, admitted a lot of his players were “broken and damaged”.

Wilder said: “It’s been a painful season, a real painful one before me and through my period.

Sheffield United scoreboard
Sheffield United were left to reflect on a heavy defeat (Danny Lawson/PA).

“There’s a lot of broken and damaged players out there because this is what the league can do to you, especially when you’re off it and they’re on it. When you don’t close the gap they make it look huge.”

Wilder said he may now turn to youth for the remainder of the season – Oliver Arblaster made his Premier League debut off the bench against the Gunners – but insisted his side would not be throwing in the towel.

“What you’ll notice and see a little bit more now is the introduction of the younger players because I thought we were better when they came on,” Wilder added.

“(Andre) Brooks coming on, (Will) Osula and especially Arblaster coming on, that might be a route now.”