Sutton United's artificial pitch is a concern says Arsene Wenger

Published 20/02/17 

Arsene Wenger has claimed that the biggest threat his side will face during their FA Cup fifth round clash with Sutton United will be the hosts' artificial pitch.

The Gunners travel to Gander Green Lane looking to avoid being on the wrong end of one of the biggest cup upsets of all time against a non-league Sutton side who have already eliminated AFC Wimbledon and Leeds United against all the odds this season.

Wenger has had his side training on a 3G pitch in an attempt to get them used to the different surface, but concedes that it could still have an impact on the game.

Asked what the main dangers facing his side on Monday night would be, Wenger told reporters: "First of all the pitch. Secondly their enthusiasm and thirdly that we are not ready for a big fight and subconsciously think that they are a non-league team and it is no matter - but that will not happen.

"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. We will practise inside because it is an artificial pitch. It is not the same because it is a dry pitch and Sutton I have heard have a wet pitch which they water before the game and is quicker.

"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."

The winners of the tie will face Lincoln City - another non-league club - in the quarter-finals of the competition.

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