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. Orson Kaert says:

    To lose this evening is unthinkable, I’ve tried but it really is unthinkable.

    That being the case I will only consider a victory, there are no replays from the quarter finals onwards, and an Arsenal win will be greeted with a big “so what!’

    Dare Wenger pick a weakened side? He certainly can’t put Ospina in goal, conceding ten in his last two games will knock any ‘keeper’s confidence. Martinez makes sense to me although it might add fuel to Cech’s little bonfire of discontent.

    For the rest, who the hell knows what Wenger will do, he probably doesn’t know himself.

  2. andy1886 says:

    Morning YW, Orson.

    I believe we’re on BT Sport today not the BBC, not that it matters. Regards ‘lip service’ the manager certainly does, as for the board in the form of Cheeky Mr Chips I’d say he doesn’t even bother with that. More like not so thinly veiled contempt for his ‘customers’.

    Fair play to those continuing the protest today, hopefully there will be a few ‘Kroenke Out’ banners as well as those directed at Arsene. I know he couldn’t care less but any chance to stick two fingers up at the parasite would be worth taking. If we’re lucky one of his former tenants he’s evicting will be a homicidal ex-veteran with his own ‘arsenal’ and a better idea of what to do with it.

    Anything less than a thrashing today and we’ll know that the downward spiral continues.

  3. YW says:

    Morning OK, Andy

    I was tempted to put something along the lines of ‘anything less than 5 is failure’ but we know this is 2 – 0.

  4. phe says:



    ———-Sanchez
    ———–Perez
    -Ozil—-Elneny—Walcott
    ————–Xhaka
    Gibbs–Kos–Mustafi—Bellerin
    ————Ospina

  5. Orson Kaert says:

    A real chance for Arsenal to make the record books today, if we can hold out until extra time and then be the first team in FA Cup history to bring on a fourth substitute, Wenger’s legacy will be secured.

  6. YW says:

    phe

    Ospina is apparently out after injuring himself against Bayern.

  7. phe says:

    YW,

    Thanks for the heads up. I feel sorry for the guy to be honest – At least he put in his best effort.

  8. andy1886 says:

    YW,

    Yup, my guess is that we’ll struggle early on, go one up mid way through the second half and then add a couple at the end to make it seem more comfortable than it really was.

    Wenger will of course proclaim it as proof of our fabled mental strength and that we are on the way back to glory, while wearing a knotted hanky on his head and a pencil up each nostril. Sir Chips will refer to ‘fickle fans’ but Stan will be too busy stroking a long haired white cat and sneering to care how many touchdown’s we scored today.

  9. Wavey says:

    Morning,

    Wins today and against West Brom followed by Wenger signing da ting.
    The BBC have an article about the Arsenal fans’ view of Wenger on the website. The first group of comments are from those who want him to stay followed by a group wanting him gone and some comments from those who want an end to the uncertainty. Wenger still has so much support from those who think he can do not wrong and there are too many fence sitters who are concerned about change means we will go backwards. Only a couple of hundred joined in the protest before the Bayern game and that suggests he is still receiving credit for his success in earlier years.
    As I asked before, if you take the hypothesis that Wenger left after the CL final in 2006, would another manager have been applauded by fans for achieving the same record as Wenger has since then?

  10. Wavey says:

    Could see us doing a Hull final against Lincoln. They are out of the blocks quicker than us and go 1 or even 2 up with us then grabbing a winner in extra time.

  11. Orson Kaert says:

    buckagh,

    Severe back pain, from picking the ball out of the net?

  12. Orson Kaert says:

    andy1886,

    Perhaps Silent Stan will shell out for a new net minder to replace Cech and Ospina in the summer.

  13. michael says:

    Wavey

    I don’t think anything will change with fan protest until there are banks of empty seats at the stadium, which means ticket holders not turning up or selling them. Therein lies the dilemma, to support the team but not the manager/ board. I don’t know the answer, even if there is one.

    I am certain they know this, and play it accordingly, why wouldn’t they? Hence no need to change anything as yet.

  14. C says:

    What if Arsene started Yaya, he did score last time he played 😉

  15. Wavey says:

    michael,

    That’s the thing. The ‘protest’ within the ground recently seems to have taken the form of fans not turning up for games. Empty seats, if they are already paid for, have no impact on the club’s finances. A mate of mine still has two season tickets, but decided to sell them on ticket exchange for today’s game. They sold in an instant, which suggests there aren’t many tickets available. Another sell out game, so let’s see how many empty seats there are. The empty seats are not a great advertisement for the club, but they don’t hit it financially. I feel sorry for Lincoln if there are a lot of empty seats today, as they deserve to play in front of a full stadium for their efforts in the cup this season. They will still get the big payday, but deserve respect as well. They have unfortunately managed to get caught up in a club v fans dispute.

  16. andy1886 says:

    I see that Pep says that to finish the season without a trophy would be a failure. And he’s not talking about the Top Four Trophy either. In fact even little clubs like Spurs don’t consider it a ‘trophy’.

    Given that Arsenal and City’s incomes are almost identical, and that wage bills are within 10%, why the disparity in ambition between the two clubs?

  17. YW says:

    Oh, Andy, didn’t you get the memo? They are financially doped. There’s no comparison, we’re little Arsenal.

  18. YW says:

    Wavey @ 11.33

    > would another manager have been applauded by fans for achieving the same record as Wenger has since then?

    I think he would be gone by now. I assume we take until 2009 to be the time when money was genuinely tight. Thereafter, I think he’s gone in 2011/12. We’d be looking at a new manager around now again as well, assuming it’s the one who won the FA Cup in 2014 and 2015.

    However, I think the first manager wins the league in 2007/08 and from there, the club is a different beast.

  19. michael says:

    Wavey

    Its the image that I am implying..

    You can see why I don’t post much 🙂

  20. C says:

    For all the talk about Pep and he can only play on style, think about this: he has transformed Toure into a disciplined hardworking DM and who is his midfield pivot partner, De Bruyne who is also shown a ton of discipline but also defensive work and funnily enough every manager he has had has talked about how he is brilliant attacker but doesn’t and won’t track back to do the defensive and dirty work.

    Pep has built a system around his players and has obviously given them crystal clear instructions and roles.

  21. andy1886 says:

    YW,

    True, true. Lucky us that Arsene came along to pluck us from obscurity then. It’s not as if we’d ever won anything before that, had much of a fan base and were on the very edge of financial ruin 😉

  22. buckagh says:

    It looks like Arsene is staying regardless of the fan dissent or lack of progress on the pitch, poor recruitment, spent 90 million last year we have gone backwards, poor coaching or no coaching , no accountability from the manager or the players Arsenal and Arsene used to revel in having intelligent players who could and did make decisions in a match that affected the result and had the concentration to see games out when not playing well we now have a squad of multi millionaires who have no connection with the fans( Ox apart) more interested in selfies and whatever else they do, because they definitely don’t spend any of their free time trying to improve things on the pitch. We have star players acting the bollocks, one has been tapped up and is engineering his move out, the other goes on a book promotion tour and comes back with the flu, not for the first time, We play same team three times we concede 15 goals to same players on three occasions we learned nothing from this,Our manager states there are no problems that he cant solve. In the past we were the best football team to watch by a mile, now we are predictable, easy to bully, not feared anymore, we pay the most expensive prices to watch this shambles, Why would we want change, we should suck it up and be grateful.
    To those who say we are selfish and ungrateful, and we should have a look at other clubs woes I say fuck off if I wanted to support some other team I would have done it 40 years ago

  23. consolsbob says:

    From the heart.

    Something else not understood by some.

  24. C says:

    Watching Everton play and they are certainly a team that if Arsenal don’t turn things around quickly, they will pass us too. Schneiderlin is getting back into form and looking like the player that was arguably the best at his position in thr PL. Lukuka not just scoring but assisting and that young lad Daves looks a player.

    Shame Koeman didn’t come to Arsenal.

  25. YW says:

    Atrocious editing from the Indie! ‘Metropoliton’????

  26. C says:

    YW,

    You can only ask for so much from the papers.

  27. YW says:

    C

    I genuinely think there is a real apathy about Arsenal now. The whole situation is utterly tiresome and I get the feeling that even among some of the ‘Wenger-ites’, there’s a feeling that Arsene is more divisive if he stays.

  28. Dukey says:

    Wouldn’t it be a great story if Lincoln were to make Wembley…..

  29. Dukey says:

    I can’t be bothered to see us get beat by Chelsea or utd at Wembley thanks.

  30. Dukey says:

    Sorry, thought I’d say what everyone else is thinking…

  31. consolsbob says:

    Ah, of course, the semis are at Wembley now.

  32. C says:

    Confirmed team news:

    Cech
    Bellerin—-Mustafi—Kos—Gibbs
    —–Xhaka—-Ramsey—-Ox—–
    Theo——-Giroud——–Sanchez

    Bench: Martinez, Gabriel, Nacho, Le Coq, Iwobi, Ozil, Perez

    Fucking shame that Perez didn’t get the start a real fuck shame.

  33. C says:

    YW,

    I completely agree. I chatted with some of the people at the pub I go to and they have most certainly been pro-Arsene staying but even they realize that the club as a whole is split and the main reason is that Arsene just can’t seem to get it right and with the lowering of expectations after every loss its time for him now more so than ever to step aside. One said to me something like, ‘Arsene has been superb for us and I wish he was able to get it right and push us forward but his team selection and really everything is doing more harm than good and his arrogance is only going to make him dig in deeper and deeper.’

  34. C says:

    Dukey,

    Honestly, if that were to happen I really do think that there would be no way anybody could defend him and things would be unfixable…

    With that, I hope we smash them

  35. C says:

    Lukuka scores again….he isn’t even 24 yet, he really does have all the qualities if he keeps developing like he is (Koeman is brilliant at developing players) he will easily be the best striker in the PL bar none.

  36. Orson Kaert says:

    Cech, Bellerin, Mustaphi, Koscielny, Gibbs, Ramsey, Xhaka, Ox, Walcott, Sanchez, Giroud.

  37. Orson Kaert says:

    Oops, I see I was a bit late there. My excuse is I’m watching the England Scotland game.

    Halftime score 30 – 7. Scotland haven’t won at Twickenham for 34 years.

  38. C says:

    Well boys its time to see how the lads respond

  39. G4E says:

    I can’t believe how anxious I am playing a non-league side, something I never felt before.

    A strange feeling to Arsenal fans, completely loosing confidence in the whole system.

    I hope today is not the day we don’t show up for the game, although 5/1 may be on the cards in the near future.

    Here’s to hope…..

    ****

    A special call for the English players, if they play. Where are you? Who’s is the leader in you? Walcott, Ox, Gibbs, if you play…..This is your club, your ground, your land, and your nation…..Show some leadership in your English Team.

    For the rest of our players, I hope you realize you’re playing for a great club in the history of football. Show some pride and don’t tarnish this moment in that history. Not just today, but for the rest of the season.

    Here’s to Hope!

  40. C says:

    Lincoln certainly loom a confidence side

  41. Bill says:

    Great post yogi. Wonderful stuff as always. I am really surprised by the line up. Arsene obviously is listening to you Yogi. You have been telling him to play his strongest teams for years. Arsene clearly wants to win the cup to relieve the pressure and give him a reason to sign his new contract. Unfortunately we are not going to get Hull or Aston Villa in the final this year. More likely Chelsea, Man City, Spurs or ManU. Much tougher and hard to imagine we can turn over one of those big teams. An FA cup game in Wembley against Spurs would be awesome. Can’t imagine we will lose the game today with that starting line up.

  42. andy1886 says:

    Lincoln start with 60% possession. Not looking like a huge differential between the two teams early on.

  43. Wavey says:

    Poor from Ramsey. Not seen Giroud at all yet. Gutted for Perez.

  44. Bill says:

    I wonder what is going on with Ozil. I would have thought he should be part of our strongest line up. I can’t believe that he is still suffering from his mystery illness.

  45. Wavey says:

    Commentator just said that the Arsenal team have 525 caps between them. So should be more can capable of playing on the big stage, but they just seem to bottle it.
    Have we had a sniff at goal yet? Non-League team, hilarious.

  46. Alex says:

    Bill, Arsène has decided to punish him for laughing at Bayern’s 5th goal on tuesday and bench him! Strong and right!! Oh, wait…

  47. C says:

    Theo almost scores but a good save by the GK

  48. Dukey says:

    don’t worry goons. once Lincoln run out of puff we will duff them up and take their lunch money.

  49. Wavey says:

    Iwobi obviously a bit more resilient, as he made the bench.

  50. C says:

    Bill,

    Saw a couple reports that because he was ill for Bayern and Arsene was going to drop him, this is Arsene dropping him

  51. C says:

    I am really really trying not to be negative.

    20 mins in though and Lincoln just look much more up for it and hungry

  52. C says:

    Just heard the Lincoln manager has been managing since 13 years old, a youth side.

  53. Wavey says:

    Clueless and Xhaka gets a card when we lose the ball by being sloppy.

  54. Dukey says:

    xhaka khant bloody tackle. looks a dud.

  55. C says:

    Can’t blame the supporters as they are in full voice.

    Xhaka gets a yellow for that foul where he pulled out once he realized he wasn’t going to get the ball.

  56. Dukey says:

    what a terrible tackle that was. really the guy is clueless.

  57. C says:

    Wavey,

    He tried to pull out once he realized he wasn’t going to get the ball.

  58. C says:

    Sorry but Ox, Ramsey and Jack can’t be core players simply because they can’t stay fit.

  59. Dukey says:

    no he didn’t c. he went through him.

  60. andy1886 says:

    Lincoln very close, Kos made to look a mug….

  61. C says:

    Dukey,

    His momentum took him through thr player but he certainly pulled his legs out.

  62. Adam Singh says:

    Ox has been the only positive in the last few weeks. He’s looked good in CM. thats probably him out for a month or so.

  63. C says:

    Gibbs isn’t good enough and Kos is regressing

  64. Alex says:

    Guys, weren’t the “fans” booing Mesut when he entered?

  65. Adam Singh says:

    Walcott looks most likely to score.

  66. C says:

    At least Theo and Sanchez look like they care

  67. Adam Singh says:

    I re felted my shed roof today. It was more enjoyable than this dross.

  68. C says:

    Kos with a yellow

    I know most will disagree but I wouldn’t mind Kos being dropped for Gabriel or Holding

  69. Dukey says:

    at least we are roughing them non leaguers up….

  70. C says:

    Giroud down, bring on Perez

    Lincoln have big units at CB, no point in constantly sending in crosses

  71. Wavey says:

    C,

    I agree C. He is becoming a liability. I could see him picking up a second yellow.

    Why are we letting our players get isolated and surrounded by Lincoln players? No support whatsoever. Bossed by a Non-League team. Now that’s embarrassing.

    They finally got one.

  72. andy1886 says:

    C,

    Well I’m with you on that one.

    1-0 (Walcott) at the death in the first half.

  73. Wavey says:

    Ramsey can’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo.

  74. C says:

    Wavey,

    andy1886,

    Yea, for all the talk of our defense going to shit, Kos has been poor for about 10 matches running.

    Gabriel and Holding both have shown well at CB and playing next to Mustafi they will be talked / coached through the match. Arsene won’t do it but he should think about it

  75. andy1886 says:

    All credit to Lincoln in the first half, we’ve been very average.

  76. Dukey says:

    Well if an alien came down from his spaceship he wouldn’t know who was the premier league side.

  77. phe says:

    Gibbs was very important for the goal. He aggressively headed it to an Arsenal player then laid it off in the box. Very calm in the attack.

  78. Wavey says:

    Priceless, Giroud has had fewer touches than any other Arsenal player including Cech.

  79. C says:

    To be honest that was a very Arsenal type first half:

    Lincoln looked the better side and were up for it, Arsenal wasn’t

    Ox who was finding his feet gets injured. Ozil comes on whips in one cross that almost snuck in but Giroud didn’t attack

    Kos looks shaky then picks up a yellow

    Xhaka picked up a yellow

    Then Theo saves us with a goal to end the half

    Lets go on to smash them

  80. C says:

    I see there was another protest before the match. Supporters held up “Wexit” and “4th is not a trophy” banners and signs.

  81. Wavey says:

    Gibbs misses it from under the bar.

  82. consolsbob says:

    No one really gives a bollocks do they?

    Remember a time when a match like this would have had us excited?

  83. andy1886 says:

    Giroud very poor today. Being contained easily by a non-league defence. As I type he has an air shot but get a simple second attempt for goal #2.

  84. consolsbob says:

    Just like one or two predicted.

    Who do we fancy on the semis?

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