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If Arsenal don't get their act together they could lose to gutsy Lincoln

arsenal lincoln fa cup preview

Match Preview: Arsenal vs Lincoln - FA Cup - 11.03.2017

The gods must be crazy. How else can we explain or understand a week in which we go from facing the Bundesliga's behemoth to facing the National League's leader? Battered and bruised yet again by Bayern, we now play host to a non-league, fifth-tier side that sits no less than 77 spots below Arsenal. It's a no-win situation, to be honest, given the near-crisis level mood around the Emirates: winning would do nothing to convince the pessimists that all is well. Losing? Well, let's not entertain that any longer than we have to but the way things are going Arsenal fans' best guarantee of a win is to bet on Cheltenham 2018 because the Gunners are stumbling hard.

Without belaboring the issue, it's difficult to point to a more-toxic environment around our beloved club. While we've endured worse beatings than the one on Tuesday (and, indeed, single beatings that are almost as bad as the aggregate against Bayern), it's getting more and more poisonous. That's what happens when a club loses five of seven fixtures and can barely squeak past lower sides. It's one thing to lose away to Bayern, Liverpool or Chelsea. It's quite another to lose in such, um, style. Making matters worse, we were far from convincing against Sutton or Hull. We won't even mention Watford. The cakewalk we've enjoyed to this point in the FA Cup only highlights our struggles elsewhere.

Lincoln have gotten to this point by punching well above their weight, even if Burnley are the biggest side they've knocked out. They're flying high atop that National League, six points clear of Forest Green and 29 of our old friends Sutton United. To say that we eased past Sutton glosses over things rather optimistically. Normally, we would size up Lincoln and start booking an appearance in the next round.

These are not normal times.

Aside from the scorelines at Allianz, Anfield, and Stamford Bridge, we've looked out of sorts and out of our depth. As it stands, as sad as I am to say it, victory on Saturday seems to depend almost as much on Lincoln's form as it does on our own. If we continue to kind of form we've shown since February, this one's a toss-up. If we can find the form that we'd shown from August until January, we should obliterate Lincoln.

Let's hope that this is the case. Anything less than a convincing win could be, well, calamitous.

LAST 3

  • Lincoln City 1-0 Arsenal (06.03.1915)
  • Arsenal 1-1 Lincoln City (31.08.1914)
  • Lincoln City 5-2 Arsenal (21.02.1914)

FACTFILE

This is the first time the two clubs have faced each other in more than 100 years. Arsenal are undefeated in 19 of their last 20 FA Cup matches. Lincoln have won 6 of their last 7 FA Cup matches.

INJURIES

Cazorla, Debuchy, and Elneny have been ruled out; Iwobi and Welbeck face late fitness tests.

POSSIBLE STARTING XI

Čech; Gibbs, Koscielny, Holding, Bellerín; Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain;  Alexis, Özil, Walcott; Giroud. 

GOONERSPHERE's PREDICTION

Pardon my French, but we had better damn well win. Arsenal 5-0 Lincoln.

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