I am sure that one of the main reasons behind these particular comments from Arsene Wenger was to ensure that the Arsenal players do not fall into the age old trap of assuming that, because the opposition is from the lower leagues and everyone expects them to lose, we only have to turn up to claim victory.
That way lies potential disaster so the boss will be doing what he can to ensure that the team he sends out today to face non-league Lincoln City will be properly focused and ready to put in the effort required to avoid an FA cup giant killing.
The fact the Red Imps from Lincoln got through to the quarter-final against Arsenal by winning away at Premier League Burnley gives the Frenchman the perfect example and he was quick to reming his players of that remarkable result in the preview of the game on the Arsenal website. He is clearly worried about us taking this game for granted and increasing the already heavy pressure on his own shoulders.
Wenger said, “Of course we are under pressure. I’ve been in the FA Cup long enough to know that the odds of a favourite has nothing to do with league position. You have to turn up and perform against any team in England, otherwise you are in trouble. I personally believe that we are ready to be focused and turn up with a huge, huge motivation, or we will have a bad surprise.
“Lincoln have an audacious attitude and they are not scared to express their talent. They play in a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 system. They are absolutely dangerous with every ball and they have mastered what they do very well. They have a direct game, but they are very good on second balls too, and also technically, when they win the ball back. It’s a team who knows exactly what to do and they do it well.
“They are top of the National League and they have that recent history which is very positive. What is in favour for them is that they have done it against Burnley, so that would have certainly lifted their confidence more. That’s why we really have to be on our toes and ready to start in a strong way.”
It is not just the fact that Lincoln beat an EPL club to get here though, because Turf Moor is one of the toughest places to go and many big clubs have come away from there with nothing, so will this reminder from Wenger be enough to keep our team on the ball?