Arsenal fell at the first hurdle in their FA Cup defence as they were beaten 4-2 by Nottingham Forest at the City Ground. Here are three reasons why the loss was deserved.
They didn’t play their best side
The FA Cup is renowned for producing big shocks. When clubs like Arsenal put out weakened teams, they are setting themselves up for a fall. The Gunners played a young and relatively inexperienced side along with some senior players who can’t get into the first team.
Liverpool started two of their best attacking options in Mane and Firmino when they beat Everton on Friday. Manchester United progressed to the 4th round with Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard in their starting line-up. Manchester City made sure of victory with the inform Raheem Sterling and world-class striker Sergio Aguero.
Arsene Wenger should have started the likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil to show Arsenal’s intent. It’s not as if Arsenal are competing for anything other than fourth spot in the Premier League so they have absolutely no excuse.
Arsenal expected to win
The Gunners made a sluggish and uninspiring start to the game and only got going when they were 1-0 down. Nottingham Forest made things difficult for Arsenal from start to finish and they were relentless in their search for goals. They underestimated Forest and it resulted in an embarrassing 4-2 defeat in the 3rd round.
As if often the case with Arsenal, they just thought they would turn up and get the win and were surprised when their opposition put up a fight. Below is Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey talking about how Preston North End surprised Arsenal in the 3rd round of the FA Cup last season. Why is it a surprise that a Championship side takes the FA Cup seriously?
Second team wasn’t good enough
Any reserve player has to take their chance when the manager starts them. Too many Arsenal players didn’t make the most of their opportunity. Theo Walcott, linked with a move away because he is frustrated with a lack of game time, did absolutely nothing to suggest that he belongs in Arsenal’s first team. In fact, his performance showed why Arsenal should get rid of him as soon as possible.
Captain Per Mertesacker didn’t hold back in his assessment of the match: “The manager made a lot of changes, gave a lot of trust to players who haven’t played a lot recently and I don’t think anybody justified their selection today. That sums it up I think.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.