Arsenal V Lincoln City at Emirates Stadium : Match Preview

10 March 2017 04:34
Arsenal V Lincoln City - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Mertesacker urges Arsenal to treat Lincoln with respect

Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker admits Lincoln demand respect for their FA Cup exploits this season as the pair meet on Saturday for a place in the semi-finals.

The Gunners host the Vanarama National League leaders and go into the match as heavy favourites, despite a recent run of poor form.

Manager Arsene Wenger has come in for criticism and another protest march against his continued leadership of the team has been scheduled by supporters ahead of kick-off.

A run of five defeats in seven games has left the FA Cup as the only realistic trophy Arsenal can win this season.

But Lincoln travel to the Emirates Stadium full of confidence after upsetting the odds to win at Burnley in the previous round.

Danny Cowley's side also saw off Championship opposition in the shape of Ipswich and Brighton to become the first non-league team in 103 years to reach the last eight.

Mertesacker knows that makes for a difficult tie after the 12-time FA Cup winners beat another non-league side, Sutton, in the last round.

"That's what the cup's about, that's the beauty of it," he said.

"They were all buzzing to meet us at Sutton. They gave us a good reception, both their players and fans. This time we know our home ground better and we are excited to play in front of our home crowd on the way to Wembley.

"But the way they went to Burnley and won, in that fashion, that needs to be respected. We cannot underestimate any side in any league in this country, and that's what I've learned. When I played in the German cup, it was the same."

Wenger is likely to make a number of changes to his side which means Mertesacker could make his first Arsenal appearance of the season having overcome a serious knee injury.

Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi will not feature due to illness and there are question marks over whether Mesut Ozil will be involved as the German World Cup winner is also suffering from a sickness bug.

Cowley knows Lincoln's FA Cup fairytale may come to an end on Saturday, but believes whatever the outcome everyone at the club will be better for the experience.

The National League leaders have captured the imagination with a run which started in the fourth-qualifying round against Guiseley.

Cowley feels the lessons he, his assistant manager, brother Nicky, and their entire squad will have learned over the course of eight ties will prove hugely beneficial.

"We are going to try to learn loads, because that is the best thing this FA Cup journey has given us," Cowley said.

"We have had the opportunity to pit our wits against the very best, the opportunity to be involved in really big games.

"We are determined to come out better from this experience.

"We respect that, sooner or later, we will be old news, fish and chip paper, but that is fine by us as long as when the dust does settles we have learnt from the experience, that we are better managers and better people as a consequence of it.

"If we can play at our very best under all of the scrutiny of playing against world-class players, in front of 60,000 people at a fantastic stadium, then we will be better individually and collectively, so that is what we will be aiming to do."

On-loan Peterborough forward Lee Angol marked his Lincoln debut with a hat-trick against Braintree, but is cup-tied having played against Chelsea for Posh in the third round.

Josh Ginnelly, the on-loan Burnley midfielder, is also ineligible after his appearance for Walsall earlier in the competition.

However, Lincoln have strengthened their squad with the loan signings of left-back Riccardo Calder from Aston Villa and goalkeeper Ross Etheridge from Doncaster.

Source: PAR