It could have been one of the darkest days in the history of any professional football club — Premier League giants Arsenal, away to fifth-division Sutton United, a non-Football League side currently 105 places below them in the English football pyramid.
[ MORE: FA Cup QF draw — Chelsea vs. Man United; Arsenal vs. Lincoln City ]
Instead, Monday’s 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round victory over The U’s, played at Sutton’s 5,000-seat Gander Green Lane, proved as uneventful and routine for the Gunners as they could have hoped. Having been torn to shreds by Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League just five days ago, defeat at the hands of a fifth-division team was the only thing that could have further destroyed morale at the club.
Lucas Perez put Arsenal ahead in the 27th minute, when his curling, bouncing cross-shot toward that back post made its way through a sea of legs — including those of teammate Theo Walcott — and nestled itself inside the far post of Ross Worner (WATCH HERE).
[ MORE: Fifth-division Lincoln City shock PL side Burnley in FA Cup ]
It was then Walcott who doubled Arsenal’s advantage, in the 55th minute, by scoring his 100th goal for the club. Nacho Monreal‘s cross ran through a sea of bodies before finding Walcott unmarked wide of the far post, and his first-time finish was well hit.
Up next for Arsenal, it’s yet another fifth-division side, Lincoln City, who’ll come calling as the Gunners seek their third FA Cup trophy in four seasons.
[ MORE: FA Cup roundup — Premier League sides underwhelm in 5th round ]
Elsewhere in the FA Cup
Burnley 0-1 Lincoln City — RECAP | REACTION
Huddersfield Town 0-0 Manchester City
Middlesbrough 3-2 Oxford United
Millwall 1-0 Leicester City
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Chelsea — RECAP
Fulham 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur — RECAP
Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Manchester United — RECAP | REACTION