Arsenal failed to defend their FA Cup crown after being dumped out the competition by Nottingham Forest in a 4-2 defeat.
The Gunners boss fielded a weakened team following the busy festive fixture period, but his second string was unable to match the character and desire that their Championship counterparts possessed.
The hosts took the lead when Eric Lichaj headed in from close range, although Per Mertesacker cancelled out the defender’s goal just a few minutes later.
Forest came back again when Lichaj scored a spectacular looping volley from the edge of the area to put his side 2-1 up at half-time.
The Championship side were awarded a penalty in 64th minute and Ben Brereton was on hand to double their lead. Yet the Gunners showed some fight and Danny Welbeck pounced on a spillage by Forest goalkeeper Jordan Smith to make it 3-2.
In the 85th minute, Forest were awarded a penalty. It was converted by Kieran Dowell’s, though replays suggest the midfielder made contact with the ball twice after slipping.
Here’s THREE things we learned from the defeat…
PLAYERS SIMPLY NOT GOOD ENOUGH
Despite Wenger fielding a second string side, there were notable personnel who have a wealth of top level experience.
Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck, Per Mertesacker, Mattieu Debuchy and Mohamed Elneny were the senior stars who failed to lead by example.
Suggestions are a number of these ‘stars’ will depart either in January or in the summer and few would argue Arsenal will miss them.
WENGER’S ARROGANCE TELLS
The boss failed to see the need to include his senior players on the bench as insurance should Arsenal find themselves in trouble.
His indecision cost the north Londoners and Arsenal paid the ultimate price.
CHELSEA TIE GAME NOW PIVOTAL
The Gunners are still in the semi-finals of the League Cup and meet Chelsea in the first leg on Wednesday.
The game at the Bridge is now key for Wenger’s side securing silverware this season. Antonio Conte has utilised a weakened team in the competition which will increase Arsenal’s chances of progression.