This season’s FA Cup has already thrown up a couple of surprises – could Monday night’s clash between Sutton United and Arsenal see another?
With Manchester City struggling to score against Championship side Huddersfield Town on Saturday, forcing the tie to a replay; National League side Lincoln City beating Burnley (1-0) and Millwall knocking out last season’s Premier League Champions Leicester, it feels as if anything could happen in the next round.
Although the usual suspects, Spurs, Manchester United and Chelsea have all progressed through with relative ease, there’ll be some tasty clashes in the sixth round, including a huge game between United and Chelsea, as well as Spurs v Millwall.
One of the top teams still to play their fifth round clash, however, is Arsenal, who play National League Sutton United on Monday night.
Having previously knocked out Leeds, Sutton appear to have the magic of the FA Cup behind them and go into the match with nothing to lose. In fact, FA cup betting odds put them at just 23/1 to beat the Gunners.
However, the pressure appears to be on Arsenal, who aren’t in the best form having lost 5-1 away to Bayern Munich in the Champions League midweek.
Arsene Wenger is expected to field a strong team after admitting that the FA Cup is one of Arsenal’s targets this season. Although obviously some youngsters may also get the nod.
When asked what kind of team he’ll play, he said, “A normal team… I gave [some youngsters] a chance [at Southampton] because I think they deserved to play and have a good opportunity to come in for players who usually play, and I think they have done well. One or two might have another chance to say that they can play in every single game now.”
A concern for most Arsenal fans is that captain Laurent Koscielny, who hurt his hamstring against Bayern, is likely to miss out, and Danny Welbeck played for Arsenal’s u23s against Leicester on Sunday and could therefore be left out in order to recover.
Sutton’s Craig Eastmond, who used to play for Arsenal and has just completed a three-match ban, returns for the clash, while Ben Jefford, Jack Jebb and Craig Dundas are all cup-tied.
Whoever wins the clash will face Lincoln in the next round before the semi-finals at Wembley.
Sutton v Arsenal kicks off at 7:55pm and can be watched live on BBC One.by