Southampton FA cup Review – Arsenal’s flops keep on flopping

Arteta sacrifices FA cup for nothing by Konstantin Mitov

Well lads and ladies, we ruined the best chance we had to win a trophy this season by being ignorant. We played a second string side that showed the old Arsenal that cannot win football games. In the first half we were particularly dreadful. Gabriel was extremely poor, not only because of his own goal, but his overall play.

We could’ve played Mari, who did excellent with Holding, but we opt to give out of form players time and it showed. Willian, Pepe and Eddie have no place in our squad. Willian created next to nothing as usual, but he is also so slow. You can clearly see why we are interested in Odegard.

There were hardly any one-twos like you see with Saka, Laca and Smith Rowe, because Eddie cannot control the ball and there aren’t runners with pace around him. I don’t think Nketiah has it in him to lead the side even in a cup game. True, Southampton put out their best side, but this line up we put out was very similar to the one that left us 7 or 8 games without a win, and we immediately were reminded why it was so.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 23: Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal shoots during The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Southampton FC and Arsenal FC on January 23, 2021 in Southampton. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

There is just no pace in this attack. I am running out of excuses for Pepe too. His performance was epitomised by a free kick we gave him deep on, when he squandered the ball well over the bar. Put it in the box, at least try to create a chance. We should be looking to move him on in the summer and add another winger. Same goes for Willian and Eddie.

Arteta didn’t manage the game well either. We waited too long for subs, when it was evident in the first 5 minutes after the break, that with that side, we cannot score. We only had like 15 minutes of good play when Saka and Partey came on, but then when we moved Saka to left back everything died.

Some of the players he left on that pitch today, almost got him sacked. Yet he opted to move our brightest prospect to create something in Saka to the back line to keep the likes of Willian on. We should’ve subbed Willian for Laca and put him in the number 10 or replace Eddie and put Laca on top, but lessons at Arsenal are always learned the hard way.

We are 10th in the league, and we’re holders of this cup. We should’ve taken the game more seriously, but we tried to rotate and the limitations of this squad were shown. The only positive I can take from this is that hopefully, this will confirm the exclusion from the squad of some players, and their listing on the transfer market in the summer.


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  1. Arteta had to make sure he preserves his best players for the league game. It’s like some people have not been paying attention to the congested fixtures of late. I think it’s brilliant management he just needs the right players and depth in the squad to be successful. It will take time and patience. It was a good decision to rest some players.

    1. Spot on. Rather not win the fa cup and not be in Europa league next season. That way we can trim more deadwood as we will have atleast 12 less fixtures.

    2. Liam Brady and Ray Parlour suspect there are cliques at Arsenal. I believe Arteta is trying to disband those cliques by sending some influential figures away from the dressing room and by giving chances to our fringe players to make everybody more united

      Arteta was fair to the squad rotation players and they would’ve likely known that they’ve blown their only chance in the cup games. Now we have the advantage over Soton because we rest our main players and Tierney/ Xhaka/ Magalhaes/ Mari must be fit for that game

  2. We couldn’t break the opposition’s defense without a good attacking LB, because Arteta’s tactic is so focused on the left flank. This is why a good dribbler like Tierney is crucial and we really need another specialist LB to compete with him

    Willian looked good with his pressing and touches in the CAM position, but his ball recovery stats are lower than Smith-Rowe. Maybe because Nketiah’s hold-up play isn’t as good as Lacazette and kept being dispossessed by the opposition’s CBs, but we also need a workhorse like Smith-Rowe who has made a total 18 ball recoveries in the last three EPL games

    One of the most disappointing attackers yesterday was Pepe, who kept killing our attacks with his ridiculous ball dispossessions. Pepe had better improve his first touch and ball control skills, if he doesn’t want to lose the ball frequently

  3. Good article. My only worry is that everything you say points to lessons aren’t learnt and so the likelihood of certain players being excluded or listed is highly unlikely. Whether it’s a contractual thing, but i imagine it won’t be long before we see Willian playing again..

  4. Really excited for the arrival of Odegard. I would love to see him play in a midfield 3 of Partey, Odegard and ESR in home games and with Xhaka and Partey in trickier games with ESR operating in the front 3. Finally people need to stop crying about going out in the fa cup, it’s less games we have to witness Pepe and Willian together.

  5. No no konatantin, some trolls here want us to play for the league, fa is a joke they say. Clueless…..maybe the carabao but the fa cup is a trophy and it would have extended our fa record and kept us in europe.
    The current manager is clueless, his tactics and team selections are not even worthy of the championship, maybe the amateur league so get rid of him now and the new manager has half a season to work with without undue pressure.

    1. the same clueless manager won us 14th record FA cup you so much adore and through that we got qualify for UEL.
      How you guys think we would have won the game with full squad is baffling? its only an idiot that would think playing best 11 in 4th round of FA cup, at this stage of the season is reasonable, with 19 more EPL matches up for grab and UEL knock out stages starting soon

    2. P.doff
      You are right. Some guys are sounding like getting out of FA cup will win us the league of top 4 finish.

  6. You know, I’m not THAT bothered about FA exit. We’ve won the same cup what, 4 times in the past 6 seasons? I’m more excited for Europa League and possible top 4. I think the latter one is faaaar fetched but Europa League should be the priority. I would love to win it..

  7. Why preserve our best players for a league game when there is a piss poor chance for us to get into Europe via the league but winning OUR cup would have guaranteed qualification. Are you seriously suggesting that Partey, Saka, ESR and others can’t play on a Saturday and a Tuesday? If not they are overpaid pussies.

    1. @Declan
      They can play on a Saturday and Tuesday but not on Saturday, Tuesday and Saturday again. We were always going to lose at least 1 of the 3 games we have in 8 days. It’s sad it had to be FA but FA gets us Europa, top 4(though unlikely) gets us champions league. To hell with FA cup, I am personally tired of Europa league and I cannot bare it anymore.

  8. I have a question for everyone blaming MA for fielding underperforming player in cup game,
    If a player is out of form or underperform, how does coaches usually handle them, complete ostracize? use sparingly and in cup games?

    1. Fair question and i agree with you that some should be started in cup and EL games but i think he should not start Willian, Pepe and Nketiah all at the same time as it has not really worked

    2. Adajim,
      This is how you use such player, start your strongest team, get ahead leading at least by two goals, and bring the underperformers on.
      He did the exactly opposite.

  9. I think Arteta had to rotate so 90% of the blame should go to the players with Pepe, Wilian and Nketiah shouldering majority of the blame.

  10. hopefull e can see this combo soon …
    cedric holding gabriel tiernay
    partey ceballos
    saka lacazette auba/martinelli

    surely willock nketiah and nelson have to go out on loan just no place for them now

  11. Konstantin is correctly saying very simliar to what Dan Smiths article also said and BOTH of these articles have widespread Gooner agreement. To select a virtual reserve team has gone down like a cup of cold sick with Gooners , me included, and to take off MATINELLI while leaving both Willian and Pepe, both useless for the entire season, seems to me to be madness. BAD SHOW MA!

    I remain a staunch supporter of you but acknowledge that you made a huge error of misjudgement yesterday which will set your standing back among probably the majority of Gooners – at least those who til now have been either luckwarm or content with you. To those who wanted you out you have given more ammunition, sadly!
    For context, I will add that ALL managers make mistakes and this was one of yours!

    1. Martinelli has been battling with injuries and hasnt played full game this season because of precaution besides he wasnt confortable yesterday he didnt play well at all, the sub was on pointas far as am concerned, it didnt produce required end product , yes but we had no other option except a sort of plan B like setpieces, Soton came prepare and got the better of us. lets move on

  12. I can understand the need for rotation, but what I can’t understand are the poor tactics and baffling substitutions.

    2 GK on the bench? Shift Saka to LB? Keeping Willian on? Nketiah is just bush league, no first touch, little else. He’s an U-23 poacher, nothing more.

    Arteta is a rookie coach still; FA Cup, Europa, PL, player transfers, it’s too much on his inexperienced plate. That’s the glaring issue in my opinion.

    Next year he can focus on PL and FA Cup; no playing in CL or Europa because I don’t see us winning it this year, and maybe not even finishing in qualifying spot.

    Saka, ESR, and Tierney have been carrying the team during the recent uptick in form. Can they shoulder that burden the rest of the season? Arteta far from convincing and safe in his job.

    Board has pretty much endorsed him this year. Has anyone seen anything from him to convince you we’ll be more competitive next year? Has he improved players?

  13. First, I didn’t think Willian was bad yesterday, the major issue I saw was that Nketiah couldn’t hold the ball at all or help with the build up. Shouldn’t scapegoat Willian based on his form this season (if that’s what is happening.
    Sadly I just can’t see Nketiah making it at the level we need.
    Second, does anyone really expect MA to simply dispense with these players right now? So he has to try to get them involved so they can start to contribute more – they’re not going to improve without getting some game time. My criticism would be that it won’t happen by playing all the off form, problem players together in the same team, you have to introduce them one by one alongside players who are on form (even Martinelli looks off form right now). Can’t see it working otherwise.

    1. absolutely i wrote something similar in reply to adajim, what i criticise is that he decided to start Willian, pepe and nketiah all at the same time i think that is counterproductive as they wont get momentum and form through playing in setups which have not worked

    2. All fair points. The only thing is that, whilst Willian wasn’t bad, we should be expecting him to add something extra to our play rather than just be part of it. So whilst he didn’t give the ball away, worked harder than in previous games, he still didn’t add anything creative, beat players, help threaten them in any way,. Whilst Pepe is poor and a one trick pony, he is more likely to be a threat, although I’m not defending any of the three of them

    3. Which Willian were you watching? He tries to invite and to dripple past, this time wasted gets our other players get marked or at least the opposing team get organized.
      Present football you win by quick movement and getting opposition flatfooted or making mistakes.

      Secondly, I always look at the initial mistake that leads to a goal, they scored because of Elneney mistake. You will see Bellarin having a go at him in the background for having given the ball away. One should not blame Gabriel.

  14. Europa League is our only hope.

    I hope Pepe is sent out on loan to save his career and also hope that he regains confidence to get back to Arsenal.

    The same goes for Nketiah.

    Give Folarin Balogan a chance till the end of the season whether he remains with us or not.

  15. Özil is officially GONE.

    So we’ve cleared 450k a week (+Kolasinac and Saliba wages) this month. Now that’s a relief.

  16. We will get beat again this time in the league by Southampton there players have more hunger and desire to win matches unlike this very weak pathetic Arsenal team who are going nowhere under Arteta and will continue to be a laughing stock while we have this inexperienced manager in charge who is absolutely clueless it’s so painful to watch don’t think i will bother anymore!!

    1. so you think we would loss on tuesday right!! Will hold you to that come tuesday..I just hope you would come online that day

    2. Danny, I will gladly bet you £100 here and now that we will not lose on Tuesday. You have only to accept, IF you are prepared to put your money where your mouth is. Do we have that bet?

  17. @Danny, really got to support you here!! D likes of Mr Jon Fox and others thinks otherwise but Southampton will again defeat us on Tuesday night!!
    They have strong, disciplined players who follow simple, basic instructions of their coach!
    While sadly, Arsenal have got majorly lazy players(sorry, I have to say that), esp on the forward line..Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ceballos, Pepe, Willian, Xhaka, Nketiah, u name them..
    Only good players re Rowe-Smith, Martinelli, Saka, Elneny and AMN!! But Arteta is never bold enough to start the right players n that’s why we re in 10th position in the EPL!!
    Pep Guardiola started Gabriel Jesus against Chelterham, yesterday,, Arteta started Eddie Nketiah against Southampton..😒😒🙍

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