Football

Minnows Sutton eye Arsenal's scalp

5TH ROUND

SUTTON UNITED ARSENAL

A plastic pitch, a vulnerable heavyweight and minnows with giant-killing pedigree could conspire to produce one of the great FA Cup shocks when Arsenal visit non-league Sutton United tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Arsenal approach the fifth-round tie reeling from Wednesday's 5-1 humiliation by Bayern Munich and with manager Arsene Wenger closer to the exit door than ever.

Sutton sit 17th in the fifth-tier National League, 105 places below Arsenal in the English football pyramid, and have reached the fifth round for the first time.

The minnows stunned Coventry City, FA Cup winners 19 months previously, in 1989 and Micky Stephens, who played in that game and is now assistant manager, said that they will approach tomorrow morning's match with a similar mentality.

"It's very difficult to stop them, but you don't want to give the players too much information," said Stephens.

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"I didn't want to know too much when I played against Coventry. I wanted to know about the weaknesses, but not the strengths of the Coventry players.

"Everyone knows their strengths. All we can ask of our players is that they do their best."

Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger has insisted that he could manage for at least four more years - even if he leaves Arsenal at the end of the season.

When asked if he could follow in the footsteps of Sir Alex Ferguson, who retired after 26 years as Manchester United boss, Wenger replied: "Ferguson has some other interests in life and he was older than I am today. He was four years older, he retired at 71 and I'm 67."

When it was then put to Wenger if he could continue until he reaches Ferguson's own retirement age in four more years, he left the door open to remaining in the game beyond that time-frame.

"Maybe more, maybe less, I don't know," he said.

"Everybody is different on that front and I do not want to take anything away from Ferguson, he was an absolutely unbelievable manager but he had enough and I'm not at that stage." - WIRE SERVICES

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