Mikel Arteta was critical of his Arsenal side after the holders crashed out of the FA Cup against Southampton on Saturday afternoon.
The Spaniard made seven changes from the side that was so impressive in the win over Newcastle on Monday night, with the likes of Emile Smith Rowe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang not involved at all in the matchday squad, the latter man missing out due to a ‘personal’ matter.
Against a full-strength Southampton side, the Gunners much-changed lineup struggled to get going, as the hosts made a dominant start to the match, with striker Che Adams forcing a good save from Arsenal ‘keeper Bernd Leno early on.
It wasn’t long before the Saints were ahead, however, with former Tottenham full-back Kyle Walker-Peters seeing his driven effort divert off defender Gabriel, the own goal part of what was a shaky return to action for the Brazilian.
In truth, the second half wasn’t the most exciting affair as the Gunners sought to find an equaliser, with Saints ‘keeper Fraser Forster denying Eddie Nketiah in what was a rare chance for the visitors.
The hosts thought they should have had a penalty late on when Shane Long was clipped in the box, yet the referee nor VAR agreed, with the game remaining at 1-0 until the final whistle.
After winning the competition last season, Gunners boss Arteta was unsurprisingly disappointed to see his side bow out, the former Manchester City assistant seemingly unhappy with the way his side defended.
❌ Stage of elimination of the last 5 #EmiratesFACup winners
Arsenal – Round 4
Man City – Semi Final
Chelsea – Round 5
Arsenal – Round 3
Man Utd – Quarter-Final pic.twitter.com/V94abUe9Ws
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 23, 2021
“Really sad to be out of the competition,” he told BT Sport. “Disappointed to be out and the way we conceded.
“We had issues in the first half and unforced errors as a result of the high-press they do. In the second half we had two or three big chances but not enough.
“It was an even game. In the first half they won a lot of second balls. In the second half we added more quality. We became more dominant and created chances but it wasn’t enough.
“We are looking in the market and see what we can do.”
The two teams meet again in just three days time in the Premier League at St. Mary’s.