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Preview: Sutton v Arsenal: trio ruled out, teenager starts + prediction
Arsenal will look to avoid the ultimate giant-killing when we take on Sutton United at Gander Green Lane this evening.
Our preparation for the game could hardly have gone worse after slumping to a humiliating 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena last week.
The loss means we’re almost certainly out of the Champions League for another year while we’re ten points adrift in the title race so the FA Cup is our only remaining hope of silverware [other than the ‘top four’ trophy of course].
With a quarter final against Lincoln City awaiting the winners of tonight’s tie, we have an excellent chance of progressing to the semi finals. We should probably just fold as a professional football club if we can’t see off two non-league teams.
The pressure is mounting on Arsene Wenger with a growing number of fans calling for the boss to step aside when his contract expires at the end of the season.
This game could be perfect for Wenger as it presents us with a great chance to secure a morale-boosting win, however, it’s also a nightmare for the boss as a shock defeat would make his position untenable.
Wenger is expected to make plenty of changes to the side that lost in Munich but I still think we’ll see an eleven full of international’s this evening with only a few youngsters involved.
Koscielny is out after suffering a hamstring injury last week so Holding should come in to the defence while Monreal is expected to replace Gibbs at left-back.
Ramsey and Cazorla remain injured while Welbeck played for the under-23’s on Sunday so won’t be risked on Sutton’s artificial pitch after only recently recovering from a knee injury.
Lucas Perez is set to miss out with a hamstring injury but 19-year-old Jeff Reine-Adelaide could start while Ainsley Maitland-Niles is also expected to be in the squad.
The likes of Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi and Ozil are expected to be rested but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sanchez on the bench tonight as he was involved in full training yesterday.
I’ve seen reports that Debuchy could be handed a rare start but I’d prefer to see Jenkinson given a run-out at right-back while I think Elneny is certain to start in midfield.
Walcott should also get a recall in attack while I’d go with Iwobi on the left as he needs a morale-boosting performance. With Welbeck and Perez unavailable, it looks like Giroud will be up top.
Sutton’s artificial pitch is going to be tricky for the players to adjust to and they will no doubt be right up for this game. This is their cup final, the biggest game in their history and the players will be out to impress with the world watching.
All the pressure is on Arsenal and we don’t usually cope very well under such circumstances. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a nervy opening 20 minutes but in the end our superior quality should prevail. I’m going with a 3-0 win, but we all know Arsenal will make life difficult for themselves somehow tonight.
Sutton 0-3 Arsenal