Paul Merson has questioned Mikel Arteta’s decision to rest his first-team players for the FA Cup match against Southampton.
The Gunners were eliminated from the competition by the Saints who beat them 1-0 today.
Arteta brought back the likes of Nicolas Pepe and Willian to his starting XI. Both players have been missing since the Gunners started winning games again.
With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang unavailable, he started Eddie Nketiah and also benched Bukayo Saka and Thomas Partey.
Merson says because the Gunners will not win the league and they won’t even make the top four, he should have fielded his best players in this competition since that brought him some success last season.
He credited the competition for making the Spaniard in the last campaign as he helped the Gunners beat the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea to win it for a record 14th time.
He said on Sky Sports: “I don’t know what he’s doing, they’re not going to win the league.
“They are not going to get in the top four of the Premier League unless they went on one of the best runs in the history of the Premier League.
“So, for me, this is the one that made Arteta last time around.
“He’s come to Arsenal, he had a great semifinal and a great final.
“Honestly I can believe it, this is a more important game than the midweek league game, in my opinion.
“They’re not getting relegated and they are not getting in the top four.
“So for me, you don’t really want to end up getting 6th or whatever again, and then you plan the Europa and you plan Thursday, I think that just sends them back.
“So for me, bad decision.”