Arsenal desperately need a big win; it’s time to trust Lucas
Match Preview: Arsenal vs. Lincoln – FA Cup – 11.03.2017
What has happened to Arsenal? By and large they used to be a team you could trust to get a result in most matches. Anyone used to betting on the pools or reading up on Cheltenham 2018 tips would tell you there are certain things you can trust like a particular trainer or jockey getting a placed horse or Arsenal getting enough results to finish in the top four. However, 5 defeats in 7 matches for the Gunners is looking like their biggest crisis of Arsène Wenger’s tenure.
Out of the title race, humiliated in the Champions League and staring at their toughest Wembley opponents for years should they make it past Lincoln today. Should they progress to the semis then a top four rival is likely to block their way to the final. It should be noted that contrary to popular belief Arsenal didn’t have easy runs to the finals in 2014 and 2015 but then again they’ve not been two matches away from a final in such bad form before.
Arsenal is being tipped to drop out of the top four and for once it looks like the annual prediction is actually going to come true. The Gunners need to string some form together and quickly. Lincoln will have nothing to lose playing Arsenal which makes them dangerous. Seventy-seven league places separate the two but these games are what the neutral public live for – the giant-killings and so-called magic of the cup.
Arsenal will be without Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck who have been struck down with the sickness bug going around the club. Mesut Özil faces a late fitness test having also been sick recently. Wenger may choose to stick with the same team that started against Bayern Munich, who for the best part of 54 minutes were a match for the German giants.
A performance of that magnitude should sweep the Imps aside with ease however what happened in the final 40 minutes at the Emirates was so humiliating for the Gunners they may go into this game with a lethargy and losing mentality. It might be worth making a few changes to freshen things up such as giving Lucas the game time he deserves.
Should Lucas start I believe he’ll put in yet another winning performance and will hope that this one doesn’t go ignored by the manager when he picks his team for West Brom.
Arsenal (from): Cech, Ospina, Martinez, Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Gibbs, Maitland-Niles, Coquelin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Özil, Walcott, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Lucas, Alexis, Giroud.
“I think I’ve shown since I’m here that first of all I love this club, that I’m loyal to this club and that I make the right decisions for this club” – Arsène Wenger
Last 3 Meetings
- Lincoln City 1-0 Arsenal (06.03.1915)
- Arsenal 1-1 Lincoln City (31.08.1914)
- Lincoln City 5-2 Arsenal (21.02.1914)
Lincoln have been given permission to include on-loan Aston Villa left-back Riccardo Calder and Doncaster goalkeeper Ross Etheridge in their squad. Forward Lee Angol, who marked his debut with a hat-trick against Braintree in midweek, and Midfielder Josh Ginnelly are cup-tied having played for Peterborough and Walsall respectively in earlier rounds.
- The sides have not met in a competitive fixture since 1915 and this will be the first encounter in the FA Cup.
- The 26 previous games between the sides all came in the second tier, with Arsenal winning 13 times and Lincoln claiming six victories.
- The Imps have never won away to Arsenal, losing 10 and drawing three of 13 matches.
- Arsenal have only lost one FA Cup tie against a lower league club under Arsene Wenger – against Blackburn, of the Championship, in the fifth round in 2013.
- The last non-league team to play in an FA Cup semi-final were Swindon in 1912.
- The last time the Gunners lost to non-league opposition in the FA Cup was in 1911, when – as Woolwich Arsenal – they lost in round two to Swindon of the Southern League.
- Lincoln are the first non-league side to reach the last eight of the FA Cup since 1914 – when QPR (of the Southern League) were beaten at what was then called the fourth round (it was the equivalent of the quarter-finals).
- Arsenal have reached this stage of the FA Cup 12 times under Arsene Wenger, progressing to the semi-finals on 10 occasions.
- The Imps scored with their only shot on target against Burnley in the last round.
- The Gunners have won 18 of their last 20 matches in the FA Cup (D1, L1).
- Theo Walcott has scored six times in his last four FA Cup appearances – although his last FA Cup goal at the Emirates was in January 2012 against Aston Villa.
- The last time a non-league team eliminated two top-flight sides in a single FA Cup campaign was in 1914, when Millwall knocked out Chelsea and Bradford City.
- Lincoln have lost just two of their last of their last 24 games in all competitions (W19, D3).
- Courtesy of Opta & BBC Sport.
Arsenal need a massive win to quell the fans’ ire. Anything less than 4 or 5 nil will be considered by many to be a poor performance.
Thanks for reading! Please comment on this post, subscribe by email, share with friends and follow me on twitter (@thedanielcowan). Please check out the official NLIR Facebook page http://facebook.com/northlondonisredblog for news, views, freebies and more.
Don’t forget to tune into the funniest Arsenal podcast around “Goonersphere Podcast“
Advertise your business here! Click here for details .