Sutton United are to host 12-time winners Arsenal in the fifth round of the FA Cup, while fellow non-league side Lincoln City were handed a trip to Burnley as the English Premier League clubs were kept apart in Monday’s draw.
“This will be like our World Cup final,” Sutton United manager Paul Doswell said. “It’s as big as that for us — the profile of the club has risen so much in these last six to eight weeks.”
Holders Manchester United, who last season matched Arsenal’s record FA Cup haul, are at Blackburn Rovers, while Premier League leaders Chelsea also visit a Championship (second-tier) club after being drawn against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Tottenham Hotspur were given a London derby at second-tier Fulham and Manchester City are away to Huddersfield Town.
Oxford United visit Middlesbrough, while Millwall host Leicester City or Derby County, who replay their fourth-round tie on Wednesday next week.
However, it was the giant-killing non-league sides who again grabbed the headlines following Sutton’s home victory over Leeds United and fellow fifth-tier club Lincoln’s win over Championship leaders Brighton and Hove Albion in round four.
Arsene Wenger’s star-studded Arsenal team will have to cope with the 3G pitch at Sutton’s 5,000-capacity stadium to take on a club who famously knocked out Coventry City in 1988-1989.
“I have just picked myself back up off the floor — a plum, plum game for us against one of the best sides in England, if not Europe,” Doswell told Sky Sports. “To have Arsenal coming to Gander Green Lane — our little fortress — is just incredible. Everyone will want it to be played at Sutton. We have no thoughts of switching the tie. I think half the team support Arsenal and about three of them have played for Arsenal.”
It is the first time two non-league clubs have progressed this far since the competition was reorganized more than 90 years ago. The pair can now look forward to money-spinning round-of-16 ties against top-flight opposition later this month.
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