“He should have stayed loyal to the competition” Pundit blasts Arteta for disrespecting the FA Cup

Mikel Arteta disrespected the competition that gave him early managerial leverage by fielding a weakened Arsenal side against Southampton in their FA Cup exit.

This is the verdict of Chris Sutton, who adds that the Spaniard has to win the Europa League now.

Arteta won the FA Cup in his first half-season as the manager of Arsenal and followed that up with winning the FA Community Shield.

He beat Newcastle in Arsenal’s first match of the competition this season and had to see off Southampton the last time out.

But he brought back the likes of Willian and Nicolas Pepe from the Arsenal bench into the starting XI. The decision cost him with his team losing 1-0 to the Saints.

With the Gunners not challenging for the Premier League title, and having exited the Carabao Cup, Sutton said Arteta treated the competition like the Mickey Mouse Cup.

He wrote in his column on Mail Sport: “Why not start Kieran Tierney at Southampton? Why not start Emile Smith Rowe? Why not start Bukayo Saka? Why bring in Willian at No 10? The Brazilian has been about as useful as a chocolate teapot this season. Nicolas Pepe hasn’t been much better. He’s been more of a £72million problem than solution.

“This isn’t the Mickey Mouse Cup. This is the FA Cup, and the XI that Arteta selected at St Mary’s screamed surrender. Southampton went strong, Arsenal didn’t — and the result was predictable.

“Maybe Arteta would have lost even if he’d fielded his first team. Southampton’s players look like they would run through brick walls for Ralph Hasenhuttl. We talk about their high press a lot, but it doesn’t get any less impressive when you see it in action. They hunt in packs. They win the ball then use it well. But Arsenal supporters could accept going down with a fight.

“Saturday didn’t feel like that. It felt more like a waving of the white flag. Doing what he did only puts more pressure on Arteta.

“He should have stayed loyal to the competition which has helped him keep hold of his job.”

Tags Chris Sutton mikel arteta


  1. What a load of tosh. Sutton and others of his ilk just want their names up in lights. Three games in seven days is why you have a squad of 20 odd, not 14. The players Arteta picked let him down. Shit happens.

    If you want to quibble, then say Arteta prioritised the wrong competition. I’d disagree but at least there is an argument to be had. That was far from being a Micky Mouse line-up on Saturday.

  2. I understand he had to rotate players, but his pairings were atrocious. He started 3 of our 4 most ineffective attackers; Nketiah, Pepe, and Willian.

    2 of our slowest Midfielders as well as the least technical. Partey couldn’t start for 60 minutes? Laca for 60 minutes in attack?

    Balogun couldn’t get a run out over a continually ineffective Nketiah? No surprise the underperformers did nothing, especially when you pair them together.

    A miss by Arteta, plain and simple. Poor tactics, ridiculous subs, out managed on the sidelines and outclassed on the pitch.

    At least one less competition to tire our performing players. Pepe looks devoid of confidence, Willian a shadow of his Chelsea self, and Nketiah proving he’s U-23 level not close to PL ready.

      1. Durand and Trudeau, I agree totally with your analyses. Based on experience and salaries paid, Arsenal has enough players in the squad to allow rotation and to ensure that players stay fresh and minimise injury or burn out. The problem, as succinctly put by Durand, was the individual selections made by Mikel Arteta and resulting imbalance of the team.
        This imbalance was compounded by the lack of application, pride and fight by these players, when given the opportunity, despite the excuses for them made by their manager. They let him and the Club down badly.

        1. Thank you Ozziegunner, a nice analysis by you as well. Arteta has to see that imbalance, yet continues to field the same pairings, despite never being effective.

          Is it arrogance? Stubbornness? The team suffers yet he refuses to admit the obvious; Willian, Nketiah, & Pepe should not start matches anymore.

          They continually drag the team down and fail again & again.

          Arteta needs a strong assistant with experience and the fortitude to say. ” Mikel, you’re wrong, this lineup won’t work; not tactically, not balance, not chemistry.”

          Arteta hasn’t shown he learns from mistakes. I question his judgement of talent. He’s wrong on Pepe, Willian, Nketiah, wrong on Xhaka & Elneny pairing, to state the obvious.

          Tierney finally shows consistency when Arteta dropped the LCB stupidity, far too late unfortunately. Sends Saliba on loan, doesnt play Balogun, yet Willock & Nketiah PL ready?

          There is an arrogant chip on his shoulder that’s hurting the club IMHO. Some players never get a shot, yet others get endless chances even though club drops points.

          1. MA has fat in his eyes or probably mush for brain really, i am no manager or coach, but time and time again Nketia is not EPL material just yet. Lacks energy after 20 min, poor just swaggers around in the center. But he has a big ego with a small work rate, lacks commitment. Pepe oooh pepe great dribbling skills but just average player for now, had a couple of great strkes but thats all to account for the rating he got for the price tag. Cedric poor cedric , the Man felt he could play him on the left but what a disaster Cedric was not comfortable but when was brought on the right we started to get more “balls” up front. So MA playing Cedric on the left , bad ide. May be theres is some method in his madness. We’ll see if there are crazies run wild soon .

      2. I appreciate that Trudeau, thank you. I had to wait and comment, so my fog of emotion parted and gave way to rationality.
        Foolish pairing by Arteta when other combinations were available. Felt like he threw away the competition, and disrespected Southampton with his selection.
        He’s a rookie coach still, but in 18 months he hasn’t learned to read players and judge their readiness.


    MA messed up badly in the only competition in which we have any real chance this season. If football is not about winning honours then why play at all? We are not going to win Europa with this squad, so we missed our only chance of silverware.

    1. Thank you sir finally a voice of reason. Arteta is doing worse than Emery and fans are acting as if we owe Mickel. Mans not even a club legend disgraceful.

      1. Jah son, you were one of Emery’s strongest critics. Hopefully you will now see that the players are not performing for Arteta, as they did for Emery.
        Too many overpaid, pampered prima donnas at Arsenal. It is becoming very obvious which players Arteta can rely on, yet he keeps selecting the underperformers or players out of position

  4. Arteta is following in the footsteps of Wenger not Pep. Y not prioritize the game at hand b4 thinking of the next. Pep, OGS & others fielded a strong X1 but Arteta wouldn’t, Wenger styled reasoning.

  5. Chris Sutton is telling the truth. I never thought I would see us almost throw a game before it started. C’mon we are FA Cup holders with the FA Cup record wins. Priorities have gone wrong. Such a poor team selection. Most Just Arsenal posters could have chosen a better team…..no I’m not joking.

  6. Arsenal win, not getting your point my friend.
    When did AW not prioritise the FA Cup?
    His teams have won it seven times and only got knocked out in the 3rd round once in his twenty two years… that coming in his final season of course.
    I might have read your post wrongly of course.

    As for MA disrespecting the competition, I disagree completely – what he did, was get his team selection wrong, while resting players for tomorrow’s game and being let down by “senior” players… simple as that.

  7. Sutton is talking nonsense. Arteta didn’t play the kids! He put in 2 seasoned international players and the England U21 top scorer, plus Gabriel who has arguably been our best defender this season. He also played Martinelli who is considered to be a potentially world class player. Smith-Rowe and Saka need looking after, remember Wilshere? Arteta was let down by. the players that played, that’s all, it happens, it was a tough draw too

  8. @ Ken1945, I didn’t specifically name the FA cup. Wenger always prioritize some match over others. Matches he ended up losing.

  9. Arsenal win, apart from the Carabo Cup (or whatever name it went under when AW was manager) can you give me examples when he “always prioritise some matches over others?”

    You could be right, but I can’t think of any, let alone “always”… perhaps your getting muddled up with Unai Emery?

    1. ,@Ken1945, you make me sick by mentioning that name. Use Villarreal boss next time, I will understand plz.

  10. It seems as if we owe Arteta something. This guy should be sacked immediately. He didn’t do much for Arsenal as a player and as coach. Why is it so difficult to find someone better suited for that position?

  11. To be honest, if we had won on saturday with that same team selection Sutton et al would still be saying we disrespected the competition as he never has a good word to say about arsenal. And, if we had out out a strong 11 and won he probably would’ve still been negative and that the FA Cup is the only competition we’re ever likely to win and that’s all we’re good for.

    Even though that argument does have some legs, it’s always going to be vitriolic when coming from arsenals detractors

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