The Fifth Round of the FA Cup is nearly in the books after Arsenal avoided a ‘Burnley’ by beating non-league Sutton in a comfortable outing at Gander Green Lane.
If Arsene Wenger does leave Arsenal at the end of the season, don’t be surprised if he leaves with a record-tying sixth FA Cup win.
The longest serving manager in world football came into the Fifth Round tie against non-league Sutton off the back of a 5-1 slamming in front of 75,000 fans at the Allianz Arena in Munich. Sutton had been beaten in front of 650 fans at Guiseley.
That defeat was Sutton’s third on the spin, conceding ten goals in the process. Arsenal had lost three of their last four conceding 12. But I don’t know why I am even typing about form. This was Rocky Balboa vs. Ivan Drago, David vs. Goliath, Hulk Hogan vs. The Brooklyn Brawler.
There was a gap of 105-places between them, and even Lincoln City was 16 places higher than their non-league compadres. But the stadium was packed to the rafters, with Sutton fans hoping to see a repeat of the 1989 FA Cup win over Coventry City. And there was hope, thanks to that outstanding display by Lincoln against Burnley at Turfmoor.
But despite Sutton having a few chances in the second half, it was a relatively comfortable evening for Arsenal. Lucas Perez started ahead of Alexis Sanchez and said his thank you with the opening goal in the 27th minute. The game had been a little stale up until that point. Perez drilling the ball towards goal from the right-hand side of the park, and Theo Walcott unsighted the Sutton keeper giving him no chance.
Walcott was captaining the side for the night, and he ended the tie in the 55th minute when he got on the end of a cross by Perez to score his 100th goal for the club. Sutton had chances to get back into the game when Jamie Collins headed over the bar from five yards out, and Sutton’s FA Cup talisman, Roarie Deacon nearly snapped the crossbar with a humdinger of a shot from outside the box.
But, the Sutton dream dies for another year.
Arsenal will do it all again in the quarter-finals when they host non-league Lincoln with Danny Cowley’s side hoping to become the first non-league team to make it to the Semi-Finals since before the Titanic sank.