Lincoln Preview: FA Cup Offers Arsenal A Great Escape!

Lincoln City arrive at the Emirates this evening, sacrificial lambs for the FA Cup slaughter. Their chances in the normal course of events, would be described as “slim and none – and slim just left town”. Well, slim just returned.

The nation, the BBC and the ‘Romance of the FA Cup’ demanded that this tie take place on a crisp afternoon at Sincil Bank. Football’s fates decreed otherwise and the media-friendly Crowley brothers bring their players to north London for what ought to be a footballing lesson.

Listen, I know everyone wants us to lose but it is inconceivable that Arsenal won’t win. The quality of even our second string players is enough to ensure that we win, most likely in a similar manner to the last round at Sutton. No disrespect to the Imps but defeat tonight ought to see heads roll before the post-match interviews have taken place.

Leaders of the National League, Lincoln have captured the imagination of the nation with their cup run. They have exploited the fashion for the ‘big’ clubs to play weakened teams in the competition and their work-rate in doing so has been admirable. The bloody noses issued along the way are something which ought to make every club take notice.

Today underlines their biggest problem progress is made, second strings become progressively better. Arguably, the Arsenal second string is a harder team to face than the first XI. This lot have yet to throw in the towel for any match. Indeed, the club is waiting anxiously for the results of UEFA’s drug testers with concerns that the players all took ‘Spice’ as they waited for Laurent Koscielny to leave the pitch on Tuesday night.

Best Days

While the second string is most likely to take the field this evening, there’s a strong case for making the first XI play. They are in a run of horrendous results, with five defeats in six games. Each of those matches raises unanswered questions about the current regime. It isn’t just the players, the whole set-up is under scrutiny; preparation, abilities and/or mental strength, tactics, Wenger’s decision-making.

Arsène admitted that he gambled on Tuesday and we ended up on the wrong end of an extremely damaging thrashing. I don’t understand why he chose to chase a “one in a million” chance; it was footballing suicide and the actions of a desperate man.

Projecting PSG’s collapse in the Camp Nou onto Bayern is fundamentally flawed in one crucial respect: we’re no Barcelona. While the first hour was encouraging, it was far from devastating for the Germans. One-down, they still had plenty of opportunities to score and the over-riding sense is that they hadn’t got out of second gear.

With just today and West Bromwich Albion before the international break, the training ground can’t be much fun at the moment. The pall of defeat hangs over the squad and some relief has to be breathed into the air. Two victories could make Colney a better time to return to after a fortnight with their national teams. It won’t change anyone’s mind about staying or going; those decisions are already made.

Top Man

The sub-plot of the manager’s future is inextricably linked to every match we play with a second protest before today’s match. Until the air is cleared by the club’s announcement over his future, this ‘drama’ will continue to play out.

There’s a real sense that the board and manager are content to pay nothing more than lip service to the issue. Perhaps they are hoping it will fizzle out and go away as it did last season?

Unless there are three major shocks, the last four will feature the top three and Arsenal. I have no doubt that Arsène will field the ‘usual’ FA Cup side this evening. For some players, it may be their last first-team game of the season; surely the semi-final see the strongest XI?

Martinez; Maitland-Niles, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Gibbs; Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Walcott, Iwobi, Reine-Adelaide; Perez

Dad’s Jukebox

Later this morning, Times of our Lives reaches 1995 on Dad’s Jukebox. Keep an eye on the comments section and the right sidebar for the updates.

Enjoy the match wherever

140 thoughts on “Lincoln Preview: FA Cup Offers Arsenal A Great Escape!

  1. Great cross from Ozil, Giroud misses the shot. Worked back to him nicely by Bellerin and he can’t miss that one.

    Game over.

    Would be nice to see them get a consolation goal late on.

  2. Ramsey please stop trying that fucking flick it never comes off (okay 1 time for that goal but no other time.

    Own goal for #3

  3. Amazing how confidence makes such a difference to our play and how fragile we are.

    Tails are up now that we are scoring.

    Might have to turn the sound down. Chris Sutton is starting to annoy me.

  4. A much better second half. Seemed to realise we were a PL team. If we had carried on playing like we had for most of the first half we could have actually lost it. Finally clicking, albeit against a Non-League team.

  5. Sutton talks some real crap. Ozil won’t have being shoved to the ground too often? Why? Top flight teams don’t foul?

    Cracker from Alexis.

  6. Really good goal by Sanchez.

    Full credit to Lincoln for the first half but the 2nd half they looked a tired lot and Arsene showed their class more than anything.

  7. Ramsey gets his goal. Sanchez and Ozil combining again.

    No need to smash it, just walk it in and celebrate.

  8. First half of the task is pretty much done and a trip to Wembley is set up. A win against West Brom and Wenger will be getting his crayon out.

  9. Great support from the Lincoln fans. Can’t fault the effort of a Non-League club coming up against a top four PL team.

  10. Many people on many blogs commenting how poor the Arsenal were in the 1st half, yet went into halftime 1-0 to the Gunners. Knew the second half Arsenal would push forward. Blew them to the weeds.
    Next…

  11. Aaron,

    Comfortable in the end but I wouldn’t crow too much, it’s a bit like Conor McGregor punching out a six year old.

  12. Love it. BT Sport are televising a Lincoln match on 25th March. A bit more cash in the coffers for them. Will have to spend some money in the summer if they get promoted to the League.

  13. Sorry Cech the season wont “look different in a few weeks”, don’t worry Theo’s knows “how good we are…..”
    All aboard the total bozo train.
    The players are as deluded as the manager, we just beat Lincoln ffs.

  14. Wavey,

    I do like the way that they play, more like a higher league side. I think that they’d do okay in League 2, and good luck to them.

  15. we have the mental strength of a wet flannel. I’ve given up hope now of anything other than the status quo that we have seen for so long. this season has been the total pits. its just the same thing, we have a little run beating the weaklins, come up against a toughey and get our arse kicked then we lose our confidence and go into a corner. it then takes a while until we can thump some other small fry until we can come out of the cupboard and get back some confidence to beat other small sides until we come up to another big team. its just tedious beyond belief now. How can professional sportsmen be so mentally feeble?

  16. so we have a 25 minute spell against a side that were in 1st gear and a bit of “wengerball” v a load of plasterers and this has got wenger and his loyal band of merry men happy again. Bob was right the bar just gets lowered all the time.

  17. Well played second half and nothing to complain about today. I am still relatively confident that we will find enough mental strength to pull together enough points to hold on to 4th place. I was surprised Arsene used his strongest team today. He certainly recognizes that its going to be difficult to sell the new contract to the fans and top 4 and positive results in the FA cup are the only things he has left to help make his case. Unfortunately there are still 3-4 other big teams in this competition and winning the cup is a long shot at best.

  18. Bill,

    After the game Wenger said: “The team was unjustifiably criticized for our last game against Bayern Munich because we had an outstanding game.”

    That statement either demonstrates his arrogance, or the delusional state he’s in. Arrogance that he thinks Arsenal fans are stupid enough to believe him, or delusions that what he said is true. I’ve no doubt he’ll sign up again.

  19. Bill,

    4th place is a trophy and the FA cup semi-final at Wembley is a final. It must be, it’s even got final in the name.

  20. Bill,

    I think that it’s become clear that he has no intention of going anywhere – this after Lincoln:

    “Let’s not talk about me too much because that has happened a lot recently. I have shown in my life that I try to serve this club with complete commitment and I will do that as long as I am here. How long? I don’t know at the moment. I have shown a lot of loyalty and my preference is here.

    “I focus on my job. I always do that. I let other people judge my performances. I always did that, I am not too much worried about the rest. I am just focused on the next game.”

    The ‘loyalty’ card has become boring, loyalty is a two way street, we could have fired him years ago. As for other people judging him we know the only people able to ‘judge him’ in effect are the board who have a contract on the table, and he knows that very well too.

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