Sutton United host Arsenal in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday night.
Sutton have been on a magical run in the FA Cup having knocked out the likes of AFC Wimbledon and Leeds United and have been one of the stories of the season. The Non League side will be hoping to continue their fine run when they host Arsenal at Gander Green Lane.
The U’s are not in the best form in the National League and are currently placed 17th, having suffered three consecutive defeats. But, manager Paul Doswell rested 7 of his players in their last fixture in order to keep them fresh for tonight’s fixture.
Arsenal will also have to contend with an unusual pitch as Sutton use an all-weather plastic pitch, something Wenger talked about extensively ahead of the game. The Gunners will also have to deal with Sutton’s fans, who will no doubt be piling on the pressure from start to finish.
Arsene Wenger has been playing a mixture of youth and experience throughout the Gunners run in the FA Cup this season and is likely to stick with the same approach. Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozill are due for a rest and are highly unlikely to start the fixture.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Jeff Reine-Adelaide have been impressive when given a chance in this tournament and will probably be given a chance to impress once more, with Matiland-Niles taking a central midfield berth while Reine-Adelaide could either feature in the No. 10 position or on the left wing.
Laurent Koscielny will not feature as the Frenchman limped off against Bayern Munich – which was followed by Arsenal’s collapse from 1-1 to 5-1 – and Wenger will definitely not risk him exacerbating any injuries especially given the pitch.
Danny Welbeck has also been left out of the squad over concerns that the pitch could lead to yet another injury. Given that the Englishman has only just returned, he instead played 70 minutes for Arsenal’s U23s last night and confirmed that the pitch was not a good idea for him.
Glad to get 70 minutes today to build up my match fitness. Plastic pitch at Sutton isn’t the best idea at the moment. #COYG
— Danny Welbeck (@DannyWelbeck) February 19, 2017
Lucas Perez is in line for a start as the Spaniard has regularly featured in the FA Cup this season. Perez has found it hard to break into the first team and Arsene Wenger will be eager to give the Spaniard some much-needed minutes.
David Ospina will also likely start ahead of Petr Cech, while Rob Holding will also feature in the place of Laurent Koscielny. Although Granit Xhaka is now available for selection, Mohamed Elneny is expected to start in midfield.