Arsenal secured a place at Wembley with a resounding victory against Lincoln City. After a first half where Daniel Cowley’s side showed its worth through composed defending and tactical prowess, Theo Walcott broke through for the Gunners to secure their first goal only moments before the break. This was the beginning of the end for Lincoln City, who were ultimately defeated 5-0.
David takes it to Goliath
Lincoln City fans arrived in the capital intent on making their presence known. Covent Garden tube station closed for several minutes because of flares set off by overzealous fans on their way to the match.
Arsenal fans answered with the ‘usual’ protest against Arsene Wenger outside Arsenal tube station. More than two hundred fans gathered to chant against their manager. A new chant calling for ‘Wexit’ accompanied the usual howls of ‘Wenger Out!’.
— Harry Anderson (@harrycanderson) March 11, 2017
Lincoln hold their ground…
Lincoln’s keeper Paul Farman showed his worth in the 15th minute, when Theo Walcott collected a ball from a corner and released a shot towards the net, which was deftly deflected by a defender, Farman, who blocked the ball from entering the net.
Arsene Wenger surprised the public after 26 minutes, when Mesut Ozil was brought on for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. It later emerged that the 23-year-old English international had suffered a hamstring injury.
Lincoln City’s finest moment of the first half came in the 28th minute, when Nathan Arnold burst into the box sliding through two Arsenal defenders. The winger’s ball curved into the box but was blocked by Petr Cech.
Walcott tried his luck again in the 33rd minute, when he received a ball from Bellerin, and shot from the edge of the penalty area. But Farman stopped it comfortably.
Right before the end of the first half, Walcott scored. After a save by Farman on Bellerin, a corner was awarded to the Gunners. As the ball was cleared from the area, Gibbs found Walcott, who put the ball right into the corner.
Arsenal pull away
The home side grew in confidence as the second half went on. Olivier Giroud notably rose to the occasion. The French international tried twice in the 49th minute. He shot from the near distance but Farman stopped the ball in its tracks. Giroud went to head the ball in on the rebound.
Finally, the 30-year-old found the back of the net by tapping in at the end of a back and forth between Bellerin and Alexis Sanchez in the 52nd minute.
Despite their best attempts at keeping themselves composed as instructed by managers David and Nicky Cowley, Lincoln City failed time on time to keep possession. A dose of bad luck also didn’t help – in the 59th minute a shot from Gibbs was diverted by the captain Luke Waterfall into his own net. Own goal.
And it was all over…
The difference between the sides continued to show as the time passed. Alexis Sanchez caused a headache for Lincoln’s defenders, dancing around them. The Chilean eventually scored in the 72nd minute and served a great assist to Aaron Ramsey two minutes later, when the Welsh chipped in with the Gunners’ fifth goal.
One last shot was made at a distance by Alan Power, who tried to surprise Petr Cech 10 minutes before the end of the game: the Czech keeper reacted quickly and denied the visitor a goal.
This was the last attempt by the Imps. By now the National League team was battered. Still, the final result seems unfair compared to a first half where Matt Rhead and the others squared up against a team cut from a different cloth.
The match ended without stoppage time: Arsenal deservedly won. Still, praise must go to the unexpected underdog heroes of the FA cup, Lincoln City.