Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Sutton United’s artificial pitch could cause his side problems when they visit the National League team this evening.
Sutton are currently 17th in the National League but Wenger has warned against complacency and said his team would need to overcome a number of obstacles to progress to their quarter final tie with fellow National League team Lincoln.
“Firstly, the pitch,” the Frenchman told reporters when asked about the issues his team would have to contend with against their lower league opponents.
“Secondly, their enthusiasm. Thirdly if we are not ready for a big fight. Subconsciously if we think ‘no matter, it’s a non-league team, we will pass’, that will not happen.”
Arsenal are looking to bounce back from their crushing 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie on Wednesday.
The Arsenal manager is out of contract in the summer and is facing mounting speculation about his future at the club, claiming he will decide his future in March or April.
He said on Friday that he will not end his managerial career this summer, even if it means managing a club other than Arsenal.
Arsenal’s players have been practicing on a 3G pitch at their London Colney training ground this week, although Wenger believes they will face a different challenge against the club who saw off Coventry at the same venue in 1989.
England striker Danny Welbeck has confirmed that he will not feature in the match against Sutton, amid fears the artificial pitch will hamper his return from injury.
The 26 year-old played for the Arsenal Under-23 team on Sunday, tweeting “Glad to get 70 minutes today to build up my match fitness. Plastic pitch at Sutton isn’t the best idea at the moment.”
Glad to get 70 minutes today to build up my match fitness. Plastic pitch at Sutton isn't the best idea at the moment. #COYG
— Danny Welbeck (@DannyWelbeck) February 19, 2017