Simon Mail previews Arsenal's trip to non-league Sutton United and expects the visitors' quality to tell at Gander Green Lane...
"The Gunners should prove too strong for Sutton although their price in the outright betting or to cover a one-goal handicap is far too short to consider. But four of Arsenal's last six wins, including the 5-0 victory at Southampton in the last round, have seen them win both halves."
Sutton United v Arsenal
Live on BBC One
It has been a miraculous run by the non-league side after Sutton United reached the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time. Paul Doswell's side stunned Championship play-off challengers Leeds United after a 1-0 win in the last round. Prior to that, Sutton claimed a replay win at League One side AFC Wimbledon.
Their run to the last-16 of the competition is all the more amazing considering the team are languishing 17th in the National League. Since their FA Cup heroics, Sutton have failed to win with one draw and three successive defeats. This may not be all that surprising considering their heads were bound to be turned by this huge tie against the 12-time winners of the trophy.
The Gunners come into this clash under intense scrutiny with Arsene Wenger's position, beyond the end of this season, in severe doubt. Arsenal produced another woeful capitulation on Wednesday after being thrashed 5-1 at Bayern Munich in the Champions League. It leaves the FA Cup as once again their only realistic prospect of silverware.
Arsenal fans have endured far too many disappointments lately and their Premier League defeats to Watford and Chelsea have scuppered their title hopes with more than three months of the season left. Qualifying for the Champions League is certainly no foregone conclusion either with Liverpool and Manchester United closely behind them in the race for the top four. Losing to Sutton seems unthinkable and defeat to the huge outsiders would surely end any debate over Wenger's future.
Sutton are given no chance with odds as big as 19.018/1 to pull off one of the biggest shocks in the history of the competition. Some may see this as worth a punt considering Arsenal's dire showing in Munich. But there is a world of difference between facing the German champions and taking on the National League side so realistically it is hard to fancy the hosts.
Arsenal are overwhelming favourites at 1.182/11 but the visitors are unbackable at these odds. It is easy to see why the Gunners are such a short price coming up against opponents four tiers below them. But there is no temptation to lump on them even if their record against lower league sides is very strong.
The draw is reasonably big at 8.88/1 and if there is to be a shock then this may be the bet as taking Arsenal to a replay would be a stunning feat for Sutton. Four of United's last five home games have been draws including one of their FA Cup ties. But only one of Arsenal's last 18 matches have ended level and the visitors are fancied to outclass Sutton.
Arsenal to win both halves
The Gunners should prove too strong for Sutton although their price in the outright betting or to cover a one-goal handicap is far too short to consider. But four of Arsenal's last six wins, including the 5-0 victory at Southampton in the last round, have seen them win both halves. Wenger's side should come out fired up after the stinging criticism recently and are fancied to assert their control early on. Backing the visitors to win both halves appeals at 3/4.
Theo Walcott has scored five times in his last two away FA Cup games for the Gunners. The Arsenal forward is to 8/11 to score against Sutton.
Back Arsenal to win both halves @ 3/4 (Sportsbook)
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