Create

FA Cup 2016/17: Arsenal 5-0 Lincoln City, 5 talking points

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal (R) celebrates scoring his sides fourth goal with Kieran Gibbs of Arsenal (C) during The Emirates FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Arsenal and Lincoln City at Emirates Stadium on March 11, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Kieran Gibbs and Alexis Sanchez celebrate their side’s fourth goal against Lincoln
Tina Kaviraj

After a difficult week, Arsenal hosted non-league side Lincoln city for their 6th round FA Cup draw on Saturday. Pursuing their 29th semi-final, the Gunners kicked off with an unsure first half performance where they lacked the speed and composure to take the lead. However, Theo Walcott netted the first goal of the night in the final minute of injury time handing Arsenal the advantage going into the break.

Arsene Wenger’s men came back looking sharper in the second half as they ran the Lincoln team ragged. Four more goals followed, all for the north London side from Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey and one own goal from Lincoln captain Luke Waterfall.

Arsenal’s victory came easily in the end, as it should have and here are the five major talking points from the game:

#1 Good start for the giant killers

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11:  Lincoln City players applaud supporters after the full time whistle following defeat in The Emirates FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Arsenal and Lincoln City at Emirates Stadium on March 11, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Lincoln City players applaud their travelling fans after the final whistle

Giantkillers of this year, Lincoln City were the first non-league side in 103 years to beat Premier League side Burnley to qualify for the quarter-final stage of the FA Cup. So, it was no surprise the visitors started the game with plenty of vigour and heart. Hardworking and relentless, the Imps kept pace with the Gunners as they managed to block every attempt on or near the goal in the opening stages.

The visitors, in fact, won a free kick inside the Arsenal half within a couple of minutes from kick-off and looked like they were in the mood to cause another upset in front of their 9000-odd fans who had travelled to the Emirates. They started strong and did not allow the Gunners to string more than three or four passes before regaining possession. Lincoln, managed by Danny Cowley in his first full season as a manager, held Arsenal back in their own area for long spells until Theo Walcott broke the deadlock with his goal.

#2 Arsenal’s starting XI

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11:  Samuel Habergham of Lincoln City battles with Theo Walcott of Arsenal during The Emirates FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Arsenal and Lincoln City at Emirates Stadium on March 11, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Theo Walcott (left) scored his fifth FA Cup goal this season

The FA Cup is the only trophy Arsenal have a realistic chance of getting their hands on and Arsene Wenger treated their game against the Imps as such. It was apparent the Frenchman was taking the non-league side very seriously after he announced a strong side going into the game. Wenger took no chances and played the very best of what was available to him in an effort to qualify to the next round.

However, he did make two alterations to the side from midweek. Petr Cech was back in the side after being benched for their Champions League game against Bayern Munich and Nacho Monreal was replaced by Kieran Gibbs. Neither did Wenger entertain any ideas of leaving Alexis Sanchez or Olivier Giroud on the bench.

Both men started the game and even got on the scoreboard like they were expected to. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain started ahead of a poorly performing Mesut Ozil but had to be substituted for the German in the first half after he picked up an injury.

#3 Lincoln’s promising moments

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11:  Kieran Gibbs of Arsenal beats Nathan Arnold of Lincoln City to the ball during The Emirates FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Arsenal and Lincoln City at Emirates Stadium on March 11, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
All eyes were on Nathan Arnold (right) after a moment of individual brilliance in the first half

While most of Lincoln’s time was given to defending (increasingly so as the match wore on), they did display some promising play during the game. They looked at their strongest during set pieces, knowing full well they were their best chance of recording a goal against the Premier League side. However, their best moment of the game came from winger Nathan Arnold when he was sent through by a teammate.

The former Grimsby Town player went tearing down the right wing in the first half in what was Lincoln’s best chance of the game. Arnold left Laurent Koscielny in his dust inside the box and curled a beautiful shot with his left foot that looked destined for goal. However, Petr Cech came through and parried the shot away right on time.

Even though Lincoln went on to concede five goals after that including an own goal from their captain, they never stopped having a go at Arsenal’s goal. By the 80th minute, when the game was all but over, Alex Woodyard, Adam Marriott and Alan Power kept the visiting fans’ hopes of seeing their side score at least one goal alive by retaining possession and trying to win set pieces in favourable positions.

#4 Arsenal’s stars come through

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11:  Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal scores his sides fifth goal during The Emirates FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Arsenal and Lincoln City at Emirates Stadium on March 11, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Aaron Ramsey (centre) literally walked his goal in

Theo Walcott made the most progress in terms of permeating the Lincoln defence in the first half of the game. After a couple of failed attempts on goal, he gave his side the lead after the ball was kept alive inside the box by Giroud. Once the second half started, Arsenal looked more threatening as they moved the ball around faster and stretched the opposition’s defence wide.

The Gunners made full use of their star power in the flanks and built up play accordingly. Once the referee signalled the start of the second half, it wasn’t long before the goals started pouring in. The Gunners were most efficient on the right-hand side where Walcott, Bellerin and Aaron Ramsey were in action.

Sanchez himself looked in good form as he ran circles around defenders taking on two, three of them at a time with no signs of a smirk on his face. His deft passing and skills helped set up his team’s goal and got on the scoresheet himself. The Chilean could have had a second goal if not for his free-kick hitting the crossbar. Even Mesut Ozil, who has been a shadow of his former self, registered an assist.

#5 Calls for 'Wexit' continue

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Arsenal fans displays banners after The Emirates FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Arsenal and Lincoln City at Emirates Stadium on March 11, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Protests against Arsene Wenger continue

Saturday night in north London was off to an interesting start even before the game kicked off. Roughly two hundred angry Gunners supporters gathered near their old Highbury Stadium in an attempt to stage a protest march till the Emirates calling for Arsene Wenger to resign. Holding up signs that read ‘Wexit’ and ‘Time for change’, this was not the first time such a protest was organised. The same thing happened when Arsenal hosted Bayern Munich during midweek.

After losing to Chelsea, Liverpool and Munich, there as quite likely a section of fans who were strangely hoping they would lose against Lincoln too, therefore forcing the management’s hand to make a decision about Wenger.

However, the Gunners proved their quality against the non-league side quite vehemently in the end thus indicating things aren’t all that bad yet. With Lincoln out of the way and the semi-finals up next, Wenger and his men are sure to be focused on winning their third FA Cup in four years. Although that may not ease the pressure on the manager.

Edited by Staff Editor

Comments

Quick Links

More from Sportskeeda
Fetching more content...