We all expected Arsenal to beat the non-League side Sutton United last night, but it was hardly a walkover as the hosts gave as good as they got and made Arsenal fight for every ball. Even Arsene Wenger was impressed and said his team had to be at their best to win a quarter-final place against another non-League side, Lincoln.
Le Prof was asked if he was just happy with getting the job done. “Yes,” he said. “against a side that was astonishing. It is basically division five and they are 17th out of 24. I will never go down there [to manage] because it is too difficult!”
And was he surprised how well Sutton played? “Yes, by the speed of their game, the fact they never stopped going until the end and compared to 20 years ago these teams are fit now and can play at the pace of the Premier League. Maybe [in the past] they collapsed in the last 20 minutes, that [era] is finished.
“They kept going and we were never really in a position where we could really afford to have a little breather in the game. We had to keep our focus, and I must give credit to my players who were professional and kept their focus, if we had come here in a relaxed mood we would have gone out tonight because Sutton produced quality.”
So it was a good training exercise for a few of our peripheral players, although it was still a very strong side considering our opponents. Now we have a 12 day rest before the serious stuff starts again with our crucial trip to Anfield to come. This game could have a big effect in the race for the Top Four as they are just one point behind us in 5th. Let’s hope the Gunners can find their form again before that game….