Lincoln City boss Danny Cowley has revealed that his team plan to use a unique approach to Saturday’s FA Cup match against Arsenal by breaking the match into 9 different ten-minute games. It’s a formula which Lincoln used against Burnley, where they practiced to play six, fifteen-minute periods and won the match 1-0.
The idea behind the tactic is to mentally reset his team after each period. Admitting his team are 1000-1 underdogs, Cowley hopes to give his team achievable goals and see how many of those 10-minute stretches his team can compete with Arsenal.
“We’re going to play nine 10-minute games against Arsenal. We’re playing 10-minute training games so they get used to this mentality. We understand that Arsenal could blow us away. We could play our very best and still get beaten 5-0 but we want to train the players’ minds for these 10-minute games. We might go three down in the first 10 minutes. If we do, then the players must draw a line and start at 0-0 for the next 10-minute game. How many 10-minute games can we be competitive? If winning at the Emirates is the only definition of success the likelihood is we won’t be successful. We’re trying to measure success differently using achievable goals. But we’re also professional and prepared. We might surprise some people.”
Wenger was asked how his team would prepare for the match and responded,
We originally planned to have one 35 minute period where we warm up, followed by a ten minute period of panic where we look at the scoreboard and realize that we are not crushing this team. In the second half, we usually start with another 15 minute rest period, followed by 10 minutes of attacking play. Then I will introduce some substitutions, perhaps Perez, and Alexis will spend the final minutes of the match either waving his arms furiously when he doesn’t get the ball, or sulking at the corner flag in his Michelangelo’s Thinker pose.
Instead we are going to one-up Lincoln’s plan and play 10, nine-minute matches. It’s one more match than them, innit? Plus, 10’s are a much more easily divided number, rather than 9’s. No one based the metric system, the best system, on 9’s. It’s based on 10’s. I mean, who does base 9?
Wenger was also asked about his contract situation.
In the match against Burnley, Lincoln’s best player was right back Bradley Wood. Wood had more touches than any other Lincoln player, attempted more passes, and lofted more crosses than any other player. Wood’s job is to link up with Arnold on the right, who crosses in to Rhead in the center. Rhead attempted 16 aerial duels in the last match, though he didn’t create a single chance off those headers and only managed one shot for himself.
Lincoln’s only goal in the match came from a corner. A left-footed in-swinger from Habergham was played to center back Luke Waterfall. Waterfall headed the ball back across the goal where his center back partner Sean Raggett was waiting and scored.
Arsenal typically struggle defending set plays and I expect Wenger to start Gabriel who is a right bastard in the air.
No word on what the odds are that anyone will eat a pie in this match. Arsene’s contract situation will also be asked about after the match.
Kickoff is 9:30am local time and the match is being played live on Fox Soccer 2.
Arsene’s contract situation is being played out live from now until May.