Lincoln City’s incredible run in this season’s FA Cup came to an end at the Emirates on Saturday, with the non-league side losing 5-0 to Arsenal.
After seeing his side crash out of the Champions League midweek courtesy of an embarrassing 10-2 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich, Arsene Wenger named a full-strength first 11 for the visit of the Imps.
However, Lincoln gave as good as they got for most of the first-half, with Nathan Arnold testing Petr Cech in the Arsenal goal.
Then, just before the break, the hosts broke the deadlock, with Theo Walcott firing home via a deflection after some clever play by the Gunners.
In the second-half, the gulf in quality showed, with Arsenal dominating against their National League rivals.
On 53 minutes, Olivier Giroud made it 2-0 after good play from Hector Bellerin.
Any hopes Lincoln had of staging an unlikely comeback were snuffed out when Luke Waterfall steered a Kieran Gibbs cross into his own net.
Alexis Sanchez didn’t enjoy the best of games overall, but the Chilean did still manager to score the goal of the game, expertly curling the ball past Paul Farman in the Lincoln goal, albeit after some poor defending.
Mesut Ozil impressed in a sub role, coming on in the first-half after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered a hamstring strain. Although the German’s uncharacteristic (and unpunished) shoving of an opponent was quite a sight.
LOOOOL I COULD LEGIT WATCH THIS ALL DAY pic.twitter.com/LccOFBa4WW
— ♛AÖ♕ (@AssistantOzil) March 11, 2017
With an exhausted Lincoln side now chasing shadows, Aaron Ramsey netted the final goal of the game after superb play from Sanchez.
Lincoln’s fairytale may well be over but what a journey it’s been, with their first-half performance at the Emirates worthy of a far bigger club. While manager Danny Cowley is surely destined for managerial success at a higher level.
As for Arsenal, they did what they had to do, and now find themselves in the last four of the FA Cup for the third time in the last four seasons.
However, with a couple of hundred fans protesting against a new deal for Wenger, there remains a rocky road ahead for both club and coach.