Okay so Arsenal lost, but we are trying to convince ourselves that it was only a Micky Mouse Cup game and we played a host of kids and they had no chance against the Big Boys of Southampton, but is that really the case?
The big thing that worried me was what Wenger said after the game. “We were not good enough defensively and gave cheap goals away in the first half.” he said.
“It was better in the second, but it was one of those nights where you look like you could play two hours without scoring a goal.
“We didn’t have enough urgency in the first half and were weak in some departments.
“We paid for that. We were not incisive enough in the first half especially. They played deeper in the second half and were sharper than us and fitter.
“If you give someone a handicap of two goals, against a Premier League side it’s difficult.”
So why were Southampton sharper and fitter than us? Do they train more (or harder?) or were our team overplayed or burnt out? That I cannot believe!
Okay I am willing to make allowances for a couple of players. Elneny was sick before the game (so why did he play) and Lucas Perez was playing his first game since returning from injury, but should have been fit enough. But the rest? So Jenkinson has played a lot recently but was rested at the weekend. Gibbs, Gabriel, Ramsey, Coquelin, Iwobi and Elneny have all played quite a few games this season, but hardly burnt out and should have been supremely fit as all first team players should. Maybe Holding and Jeff haven’t played too much, but as they have been training with the first team I can’t excuse any lack of fitness.
In fact most of the team were first-team squad members, and Xhaka and Oxlade-Chamberlain, who came on from the bench, should also have been at the top of their game. And even more to the point, every single one of them should have been trying to impress Wenger to stake a claim in the team to face West Ham this weekend.
So where is our excuse for losing? Were Southampton really fitter than us?