Arsenal’s FA Cup tie with Sutton should sensibly be moved to the Emirates

As I’m sure most of you will be aware, Arsenal have been drawn against National League side Sutton United in the 5th round of the FA Cup. It’s a lucrative tie for the South Londoners, who will surely recognise the fixture as the biggest in their club’s history. As for Arsenal, the Gunners will be desperate to not fall into embarrassing circumstances.

Excitement rippled both sets of fans when the draw was made, with Gunners thinking what an easy draw, whilst Sutton players, fans and officials all thought of the size of the match, the tv cameras and the money being generated. The fixture is sure to have the attention of the media, so much so that Sutton will want to take advantage of the financial opportunity that is in front of them.

FA Cup regulations means that the two opposing sides get to share the finances generated 45/45 from the fixture. The remaining 10% goes towards funding the FA. As the fixture is currently being held on Sutton’s artificial 3G pitch, with a ground that reported holds a capacity of around 5000, it means that financially, this isn’t going to be the greatest earner in the current round of the cup.

Sutton officials have therefore reportedly scheduled a meeting in which it will be discussed as to whether they should consider changing stadiums for the fixture, where more fans can attend and more finances can thus be generated. Under FA rules, a change of ground may be requested under pretences that there maybe a safety/security issue at the ground, if the particular hosting stadium is at risk. Sutton could therefore suggest that a low capacity of 5000 seats wouldn’t be entirely safe and secure, let alone practical for the number of people likely to attend.

According to the report, Sutton will consider asking Crystal Palace if they would be able to host the fixture at Selhurst Park instead, where a much larger capacity would be available to them. However personally i think if the ground is going to be changed, then surely it makes more sense to just switch the tie to be accommodated at the Emirates, rather than to have a third party club involved in an unrelated fixture. The Palace Stadium holds 26,000 Fans, whereas moving the tie to the Emirates will at least double that figure and would prove a massive windfall for Sutton. To put things in perspective, in the last round Leeds United were allocated just 750 tickets for the game..

I think many fans expect Arsenal to walk all over Sutton United when the two clubs meet. Obviously there is a vast difference in quality because we are seeing a major Premier League team coming up against a side that was only promoted to the National League last season. On paper, of course you expect Arsenal to win comfortably. But let’s not forget a few considerations we should take into account.

First of all the Gunners are likely to field a very weakened team in the next round. I find it extremely unlikely that Sutton’s defenders are going to come up against the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. I’d expect Wenger to name a few regular stars in the side, but I think the majority of names on the teamsheet will be those fringe players in the squad and those youngsters on the cusp of breaking into the first team. Therefore, although we can still expect the win, it’s not going to be a walk in the park like many fans have suggested.

Secondly, Sutton are going to be up for this fixture like no other game in their history. Sutton are used to facing fellow Non league and national league sides week in week out, not a club with the history of Arsenal FC. It’s a much bigger match for them than it is for us and we shouldn’t discredit Sutton before they have even kicked off.

In regards to the potential stadium move, as suggested earlier, if they are going to request a change of stadium, why not suggest a move to the Emirates? I’m sure that’s much more beneficial than to play the game at a nearby Selhurst Park which bears no reflection to the two sides meeting on this occasion.

Despite this the Sutton Chairman inplied that he would prefer the game to be played at their home ground. He said: “There are probably 4,250 reasons why we should play it at Gander Green Lane. Unless somebody tells us we are not then we most certainly would be.

‘We have called a meeting for on Wednesday evening, of the directors and management committee, and a number of things will be discussed then.

‘But there was not any thought on Monday night of staging it anywhere other than our home ground, on our artificial 3G surface.

‘We might (receive more gate money), but we’ve banged on a bit about the romance of the cup this season, so many people were disappointed when we drew AFC Wimbledon and the game was not live on television.

‘This is a volunteer-run club, they are part-time players and in our own small way we are very proud of our home ground and the prospect of Arsenal coming perhaps overtakes the fact that we could try to go to a neutral ground.”

It is all very good talking about the romance of the Cup and the 4250 home fans that could go to the game, but looking at it from a financial point of view, a move to the Emirates would give them money beyond their wildest dreams and surely sense will prevail in the end?

by AH


  1. NY_Gunner says:

    Makes sense…

  2. Dee@ease says:

    Writing about Sutton won’t change that we were shocking against Watford and we will never win the title or champions league with Wenger as manager

    1. NY_Gunner says:

      Whining about it won’t change anything either…

  3. Twig says:

    Yesterday’s game was an absolute must win. However if we beat Chelsea on Saturday we’ll just be 6 points away from the leaders. The question is can we do it???

    1. Dee@ease says:

      The answer is no we won’t do it,we are a team of bottlers who lose heavily in early kick off games and the last time we beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge RVP was still our captain and talisman

  4. Pablo Picaso says:

    What’s the use. Arsenal may as well lose that game as well. Every struggling team regains there form at the Emirates so we may as well play on the artificial turf away from home and we might have a better chance.

  5. stubill says:

    If the round holds 5000, then 5000 tickets will be sold! Where’s the security or health and safety reasons to move grounds?

    Secondly, if they were to ask for a change in venue, why request the Emirates and hand an even bigger advantage to Arsenal, despite the additional income? The game is bound to be televised, so that’ll be around another £250k to them.

    They should stay at their own ground, and make as much of it as they can, any other option will be an even bigger boost to Arsenal, and I still love the romance of these proper FA Cup games, minnows against the big clubs, who knows what can happen if they play at home.

  6. Justsoccerfan says:

    Beating Chelsea only good for other teams cos you really sure even after beating them we will suddenly become good. Please inconsistent is our mojo.

  7. Uzi Ozil says:

    It’s over.. Chelsea will win the league for some reasons

    1. I don’t see Chelsea losing three games.

    2. Even if they drop points, Arsenal will drop more points.

    3. The teams chasing Chelsea are so inconsistent. Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool. Manc were the favourite for the league before the leaves started but their defense and bravo are so bad.. They won’t won it.

    4. The old manu can chase this Chelsea team but not this current one. They will drop points as well.

    5. Chelsea can afford to lose points and will still be smiling because other teams esp Arsenal won’t capitalise.

    It is the bitter truth…..We can win them on Saturday and then drop points to a team in our next game. That’s the Arsenal we know..

  8. Wayne Barker says:

    I have been saying this since September , we have not been good enough. Just beating a team once 5,-0 or 4-0 doesn’t change anything. We are not in any title race, hell no team is in the title race. It’s Chelsea title to lose and trust me they have to do an arsenal to lose this and they won’t.

    Giroud scoring some goals has again proven to be a disaster, that guy is a fraud and should not be a striker for a club like arsenal but he is. We must beat Chelsea now, not for the title but to be in top 4 or we are in big trouble.

  9. Tatek Girma says:

    You are talking about the FA cup game against Sutton, who cares about it which is not our dream. As an Arsenal fan, I am very disappointed by the Watford defeat and may not be even satisfied with the win against Chelsea though it is difficult. Because, we are always poor when it matters most. What makes more difficult the Chelsea game is that it is a game to be performed at lunch time, which is not liked by most Arsenal players when we look at the past history. If Chelsea score first, then it will be a mountain to climb for Arsenal.

  10. gotanidea says:

    Chelsea might get this season’s Premiere League title. But if Arsenal can beat them in the next match, I would be happy, because at least we beat the champion twice! Arsenal can beat them if they use Sanchez in the central position, also if they don’t use Ozil, Ramsey and Giroud as starters.

    1. pmc says:

      Beating the champions twice is meaningless if you end up 10 points behind them at the end of the season like we did last season to Leicester, I would rather we win the matches that really count like last nights game against Watford, Liverpool did us a favour and we did not prepare properly for the game

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs