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Arsenal's Arsène Wenger anxious about Sutton's artificial pitch for FA Cup

21 February 2017

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted fifth-tier Sutton United were better than he expected in the Gunners' 2-0 FA Cup win on Monday, and said the artificial pitch at Gander Green Lane made things hard on his players.

The Gunners travel to Gander Green Lane to take on non-league, fifth-tier upstart Sutton United in the FA Cup's round of 16 (3 p.m., FS1) in a David vs. Goliath matchup emblematic of the competition's allure. There's always stuff wrong with non-league pitches and non-league dressing rooms but you can't make them feel at home.

Wenger, who has lifted the FA Cup six times since taking over at Arsenal in 1996, says he is always desperate to counter a bad result with a reaction and revealed how he has always taken defeat badly. "This is the first time it's happened for a long while in Lincoln and we need to enjoy it while we can".

"They remained absolutely focused, organised, they had a huge desire in their game".

It was not a convincing scoreline, but Arsenal nonetheless booked a last-eight spot in the FA Cup with a win over Sutton United. If that will be enough to see them through to the quarterfinals or even force a replay at the Emirates, remains to be seen.

Much has been made of the facilities Arsenal's stars will have to contend with at Gander Green Lane before, during and after the game tonight.

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Sutton United have the opportunity to make it two non-League clubs this year - but only if they can achieve the phenomenal task of beating Arsenal. If not, then we'll obviously play Arsenal. A fixture only the FA Cup can serve up.

Manager Paul Lambert claims a meeting with the Premier League leaders is the flawless game for his side and he is drawing on some advice from Ottmar Hitzfeld - his boss at Borussia Dortmund.

Sportsmail brings you all the build-up to what should be a classic FA Cup tie on Monday night...

"The support we had has been awesome".

Holders Manchester United are away to Championship strugglers Blackburn on Sunday fresh from Zlatan Ibrahimovic's hat-trick in a 3-0 win over St Etienne in the first leg of their last 32 Europa League tie on Thursday.

Arsenal's Arsène Wenger anxious about Sutton's artificial pitch for FA Cup