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Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Gunners can spoil Gander Green Lane party

Sutton's superb FA Cup run set to end

Sutton United's players celebrate their win over Leeds
1 of 1

FA Cup fifth round
BBC1, 7.55pm Monday

Lincoln have shown fellow National League outfit Sutton how it is possible to overcome Premier League opposition but United are set to fall short in their FA Cup fifth-round clash against Arsenal at Gander Green Lane.

If anything, Lincoln's 1-0 win at Burnley on Saturday will have concentrated Arsenal's minds on avoiding a similar huge embarrassment and a professional Gunners performance should be enough for a comfortable 90 minutes.

Arsenal are predictably short in the match odds and a better way of supporting them could come in the Asian handicap where a two-goal line has been set.

Punters who back the favourites will have their stakes returned should the Gunners land a two-goal triumph and anything less than that would have to be considered a failure for Arsene Wenger's side.

Wenger is on the ropes following Wednesday's painful 5-1 thrashing at Bayern Munich in the Champions League but there is no Lewandowski, Robben or Thiago turning out in this FA Cup tie to unduly concern Arsenal's shell-shocked superstars.

The most difficult aspect could be adapting to Sutton's artificial 3G pitch, although it could also be argued it should suit Arsenal's superior technical talents and is a much better situation than arriving at a non-league team in February to be greeted by a quagmire. 

It's a brilliant achievement from Paul Doswell's team to get this far having eliminated Forest Green, Dartford, Cheltenham, AFC Wimbledon and Leeds to reach this stage.

Roarie Deacon, who started off as a youngster at Arsenal, has been one of their FA Cup headline-grabbers and there is midfield experience in the likes of Nicky Bailey and Craig Eastmond, another who came through the ranks in north London.

However, it needed a last-gasp Deacon goal to overcome Cheltenham, Wimbledon were 1-0 up before having Paul Robinson sent off after 15 minutes and Leeds were made to pay for selecting a virtual second-string line-up missing most of their influential performers.

A Jamie Collins penalty saw off the Sky Bet Championship reserves but Wenger has said he will pick a "normal team" which is still likely to include internationals such as Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud even if the Frenchman fields some of his back-ups.

Using Sutton's recent form - a 5-0 loss to Boreham Wood, 3-0 at Solihull Moors and 2-1 at Guiseley - as a guide is about as useful as a chocolate teapot because they were obviously distracted by the approach of this tie and all three matches were on the road.  

Sutton do their best work at Gander Green Lane, where they have accumulated 30 of their 36 National League points, but Arsenal should have little trouble spoiling the party.

Arsenal -2 on handicap
1pt 21-20 Betway

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Team news
Sutton United
Paul Doswell is hoping to have everyone fit but Ben Jefford, Jack Jebb and Craig Dundas are cup-tied.

Laurent Koscielny needs to be assessed, while Lucas Perez, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla are injured.

Key stat
Arsenal have won 17 of their last 19 FA Cup ties


It has been a brilliant achievement from Paul Doswell's team to get this far by eliminating Forest Green, Dartford, Cheltenham, AFC Wimbledon and Leeds
E.W. Terms
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