Following the 10-2 defeat on aggregate to Bayern Munich in midweek, we needed to quickly pick ourselves up for this game in the only competition we can still realistically win. I again made the long trip to the match and really hoped that I would see us win for only the second time this season!
Although they were non-league Lincoln wouldn’t be pushovers as they have shown in their previous matches in the competition. They beat high flying Championship side Brighton as well as Premier League Burnley away and they were also top of their league so should be coming up to league 2 next season. They were also the first non-league team to reach the quarter-finals since 1914, which is an incredible achievement in the modern era.
Lincoln were full of confidence and when you contrast that with Arsenal who are suffering a lot at the moment, anything could happen. Especially in the FA Cup where there have been many upsetsalready this season.
As in midweek, some fans protested against Wenger and the club before kick off. I still disagree with this but they are entitled to their opinion and if they believe that is the only way for change then so be it.
So the game started and you could see the lack of confidence from the team. The players and fans got frustrated as we struggled to dominate the game. There was no excuse with the team selection as it was basically a full-strength side.
Lincoln weren’t out of place at all as they grew into the game and their 9,000 fans really got behind them. I was expecting the worst at this point but surely they would tire soon as they would not be used to the size of the pitch?
We did create some chances as Ramsey missed before their keeper, Farman made a good save following a volley from Walcott, which hit the post.
Lincoln however didn’t allow us many chances as they defended in numbers very well and pressed us into making mistakes with our passing. Their striker Rhead, also definitely made his presence known to our centre backs after winning a lot of aerial duels.
Then came their big moment that you have to take in these games. It came just before 30 minutes as Arnold did an amazing run past Koscielny into the area but then saw his curling shot well saved by Cech. It really was a heart in mouth moment for me and all the home fans and it was a big wake up call to the players as well.
Arsenal continued to struggle before they eventually broke the deadlock just before half time through Walcott. After a few passes in the box it fell to the English forward whose shot took a slight deflection into the bottom corner of the net to give the fans much needed relief.
Ramsey missed again from close range just before half time and I expected us to really control the game in the second half and show the difference in quality between the teams.
The second half was a different story as we stepped up a gear and found our shooting boots. Giroud made it 2-0 after he finished a good move and cut-back from Bellerin. The Spanish full back could have then scored himself as he narrowly missed a shot from close range.
It was eventually 3-0 and surely game over, when their defender, Waterfall turned the ball into his own net following a low cross from Gibbs.
Lincoln really looked like they were struggling now with fitness as you would expect and we punished them again as we should. Alexis Sanchez added the fourth, after curling the ball into the corner from 25 yards with just under 20 minutes to go. It was definitely the pick of the bunch in terms of goals and shows once again why we really need to keep him next season! Will he stay though?
Ramsey finally added a fifth shortly after by walking the ball into the net (something we always try to do and our criticised for) and it should have been more near the end. Sanchez hit the bar from a free-kick and Walcott volleyed wide.
Lincoln had one last chance (their second of the match) at the end as Power had a shot saved quite comfortably by Cech. The score finished 5-0 to Arsenal though and we were through to the semi-finals.
Lincoln received a standing ovation by their fans and some of our fans after the final whistle and they fully deserved it as they made it this far.
Following the draw on Monday we now face Man City at Wembley in the semi-final and Chelsea are playing our arch rivals Spurs in the other game.
Next up for us is West Brom away in the league on Saturday lunchtime which will be a tough game as they are 8th in the league. We have to really win the game though as all the other top teams around us are winning in the battle for top four!
Will we win against West Brom? Will we beat City in the Semi-final? Will it be a North London Derby final? Will Wenger end on a high?