FA Cup Preview: Arsenal vs Sutton

Arsene Wenger has set his sights on the quarter-finals of the FA Cup ahead of Arsenal’s fifth round tie with National League side Sutton United on Monday.

Wenger has often used the cup competitions to give game-time to his fringe players, and says the midweek 5-1 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich won't affect his team selection.

The Frenchman, whose future at the club is the source of much speculation, will go someway to getting the club's fans back on his side with a comprehensive win on Monday.

While Arsenal are still in contention for the Premier League title, in fourth place on the standings, the FA Cup represents the side's best chance of silverware this season.

And heading into the fixture, Wenger insisted he is taking the famous competition very seriously.

He told the club's official website: "I always had in my head that it was a very important game.

"In my head I have had a team that will start and play there, for a week or 10 days now. That result we had at Bayern Munich will not influence that selection.

"The FA Cup is one of our targets. It's the next game and for us to bounce back after the game we just had, it becomes a very important game. But it always was, in my head."

While Arsenal defeated Preston North End and Southampton to set up this match, Sutton, who currently occupy 17th place in the National League, have overcome Dartford, Cheltenham Town, AFC Wimbledon and Leeds United for the chance to face the 12-time FA Cup winners.

Sutton United manager Paul Doswell knows his side are up against it regardless of who Arsenal play on the day, but admits he would rather not have to face a team full of stars.

He said: "There's two ways of looking at it. You either get the likes of [Mesut] Ozil and [Alexis] Sanchez and [Olivier] Giroud – and you can just keep naming them – in which case we would lose the game comfortably but the lads would get the experience of having played a Premier League giant.

"If you see Ozil and Sanchez on the team sheet our chance doesn't come beyond nought. Or you go the other way and you play a team of under-23s that are still internationals mixed in with one or two of their squad players, and that gives us that one percent chance that we'd be after."

In team news, Sutton have former Arsenal midfielder Craig Eastmond back after he completed a three-game ban. But Ben Jefford, Jack Jebb and Craig Dundas are all cup-tied.

Arsenal, meanwhile, will have to do without centre-back Laurent Koscielny, who has injured a hamstring.

Comments