Sutton manager concedes only chance is against Arsenal U23s

Date published: Sunday 19th February 2017 4:35 - Oli Fisher

Sutton manager Paul Doswell has admitted he fears a battering from Arsenal unless Arsene Wenger rests key players.

Arsenal will travel to Sutton on Monday night for the concluding fixture of a fifth round which has already seen several upsets.

Lincoln, also in the National League, booked their spot in the quarter-finals with a giant-killing 1-0 victory over top-flight Burnley while League One Millwall knocked out Premier League champions Leicester.

In the last round, Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were among the Arsenal starters against Southampton as the Gunners cruised to a 5-0 victory.

And Doswell, despite Arsenal’s recent slump in results, has written off his team’s chances if Wenger fields a similar starting line-up on Monday.

“If he plays the team that beat Southampton 5-0 in the last round, then that would hammer us,” said Doswell.

“I think if you see Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez on the team sheet, our chance doesn’t come beyond nought. But if they put another team out then it does get up to the ones and two per cents.

“Our only chance is if he puts out an Under-23 reserve side out because National League sides can compete against academy players. Then we would have a real chance.”

Wenger’s under-fire Arsenal team head to Gander Green Lane just five days after their miserable second-half showing against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, which resulted in a 5-1 loss.

And Doswell, who will present Wenger with a £300 bottle of red wine on Monday, believes a draw against Arsenal will rank among the greatest shocks in the world’s oldest club competition.

“The best result for the players would be a 0-0,” added Doswell. “If we were to get a draw and we could get back to the Emirates Stadium it would be one of the biggest results in the cup’s history and for the players.

“I think half of my team support Arsenal, so the chance for them to go to the Emirates and just have a great day out would be their preferred result.”


Familiar faces

Sutton United: Make FA Cup 5th round

Four Arsenal academy graduates now play for Sutton after failing to make the grade at the Premier League club.

Craig Eastmond will return from a three-match ban to face his old team while Roarie Deacon is also set to line-up against his former employers. Jack Jebb, however, is cup tied and Jeffrey Monakana is injured.

“There is a responsibility on clubs like us in this community to get lads in that are 16, 17, 18 and 19 and not feeling like they are worthless,” Doswell said.

“It is a very difficult path mentally for a lot of the kids who are coming out of academies to get their head around what has happened.

“It does lead to some bad situations and we are a little beacon of light at the moment.

“But life is all about the money and the only way we can make this happen is if we get as much out of the FA Cup run as we possibly can. We won’t waste a penny.”

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