Perhaps the biggest challenge Arsenal face against Sutton United tonight, apart from their own complacency, is the plastic pitch.
We’ve already seen it have an impact on team selection. Danny Welbeck was sent out with the u23s (they lost to Leicester) instead of being risked in the FA Cup.
Speaking before the game, Wenger voiced his own concerns.
“We will train indoors because it is an artificial pitch. It is not the same because it [Arsenal’s training pitch] is a dry pitch and Sutton, I have heard, have a wet pitch, which they water before the game and is quicker,” Wenger said.
“The weight on the joints is different and you cannot slide to block every time, so it makes football a bit different. The ball comes to you suddenly and accelerates and does not slow down like in a normal game, so we have to get used to the different speed.
“Ideally, we would like to play on a normal pitch, but it has been accepted and the competition is to deal with what you face. We will face an unusual pitch and we will have to deal with it.”
Wenger also highlighted Sutton’s ‘enthusiasm’ as something that the players need to be ready for. But it was refreshing to hear him highlight how the players need to wary of aforementioned complacency. “The dangers are firstly the pitch, secondly their enthusiasm and thirdly that we’re not ready for a big fight and subconsciously think they’re a non-league team and it is no matter.
“But that will not happen.”
Of course it won’t, because when has that ever been an issue for Arsenal in the past?