Five Big Stories from the FA Cup: Fifth Round
- Author: Julie Sanders Feb 20, 2017,
Feb 20, 2017, 20:40
Sutton stunned Coventry City, FA Cup winners 19 months previously, in 1989 and Micky Stephens, who played in that game and is now assistant manager, says they will approach Monday's match with a similar mentality.
Sometimes truth is indeed stranger than fiction and this weekend of FA Cup is something of that sort.
In 2011 then non-league outfit Crawley Town cashed in on their David and Goliath FA Cup tie against Manchester United after they reached an agreement with the red top. And then they got bounced out of the last 16 by a League One side that played almost half the game with 10 men.
The sides contest a spot in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Monday evening, with Sutton's Gander Green Lane an unusual setting for the pampered Premier League visitors.
This was the big upset of the round. 'I've been in non-League football all of my life and it would be great for the game. So fingers crossed we turn up, get the job done with minimal fuss, and keep our season alive. The way we play together at home, the team spirit and we believe we can beat anyone at home.
Eastmond made 10 appearances under Arsene Wenger between 2009 and 2010 after graduating through the academy, but his full debut - a 2-1 win over Liverpool in the League Cup - was one of few highlights.
Sutton will have homefield advantage to help their cause, and there's one more thing that could give them a huge boost in this match - Arsenal's form. Sutton boss Paul Doswell though admits his side will be "comfortably beaten" if Wenger plays Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez but is hoping for a "one per cent chance" if the French coach fields a team of under-23s.
'The players have had the opportunity to test themselves against some of the best Premier League teams in the previous three rounds but in many ways this is another level altogether. "Subconsciously if we think "no matter, it's a non-league team, we will pass", that will not happen", he said.
"Seeing old faces like Steve Bould and Arsene Wenger is going to be good, but we have to show we not just here to look around and be amazed by Arsenal".
Sutton may just be a short 16-mile journey across London for the Gunners, but in football terms, the two clubs are worlds apart - and that's what makes this fixture so special.