For the first time ever under Arsene Wenger, Arsenal were knocked out in the Third Round of the FA Cup, and the disappointment was palpable especially as we have been the holders for the last two seasons.
Wenger was not shy about praising our Championship opponents, he said: “Overall, you can congratulate Nottingham Forest for an outstanding performance. They were sharp, won decisive challenges, were always dangerous going forward and I would say they deserved to win today. It’s as simple as that.
He was also quite scathing about the second-string but comprised of very experienced international players that he had picked for the match. “… I just think that we were not good enough anywhere, not at the front and not in the middle or at the back. We paid for it and they looked sharper, had more chances and that’s all I can say. Nottingham Forest had an outstanding performance today. We couldn’t fault any individual performance from Forest today. ”
The boss admitted that he had made changes to save his first team from being overly fatigued, but that doesn’t excuse the performance of the players he did pick. “We had a very difficult schedule, many players were on the edge and we play again on Wednesday. It was nearly impossible not to make [changes]. I can understand that the selection is questioned, but it would also be a little bit of an easy excuse because we had eight or nine experienced international players on the pitch today. Even against a Championship team, we played with all the respect and that would be the wrong excuse.
“I wouldn’t like to talk about the individual performances today because it’s disappointing that we lost the game. That’s all I can say. There are some days where you have to say, ‘Nottingham Forest were better than us’. Unfortunately that was the case. Of course that was disappointing and on top of that we have another big game on Wednesday. We have to focus on that now. ”
So I wonder how many of these reserves have a chance of being picked for the Chelsea match on Wednesday, not many I’ll bet!