Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger rotated his squad for the Gunners surprise 4-2 defeat at managerless Championship side Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup. This is a norm for the veteran French boss when it comes to cup competitions.
Wenger has always prioritised, with the likes of the League Cup and Europa League used to field fringe and young players. That is exactly what Wenger did on Sunday at Forest. In all honesty, the team that started probably should have had enough to beat the Tricky Trees.
Shambolic defensive display
Unfortunately, they did not after a shambolic defensive display from the team from north London. It is becoming more obvious by the game why Per Mertesacker is set to retire this summer, while Rob Holding is starting to look like a liability at times.
Youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles has shown his defensive naivety in recent games, although he is at least an attacking threat. Meanwhile, Mathieu Debuchy showed once again that he is not good enough to play for Arsenal.
Underestimated Nottingham Forest
Everybody underestimated Nottingham Forest, including Arsene Wenger and the players. The Gunners controlled possession but were not good enough to make it count on enough occasions to get anything out of the game.
Forest deserves credit for playing so well and exposing Arsenal’s weaknesses, especially in defence. I have to admit that I thought the team that started at the City Ground probably would have been enough to see the Gunners through to the next round.
That was not me being arrogant, but nothing in the form book suggested that Forest were capable of producing such a big performance and result. Maybe the Gunners were slightly complacent and now they have no chance of retaining their FA Cup crown.
Wenger will field strong team against Chelsea
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is unlikely to field a weakened side in Wednesday night’s League Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea, a game the Gunners are odds of 15/4 to win.
Fielding a weakened team against the Blues could potentially lead to a very embarrassing result, as Chelsea are likely to field a strong team. The tie is also a chance for the Gunners to claim some silverware at least this season after their FA Cup exit.
Arsenal are unlikely to head into the last-four clash with complacency, more trepidation, as their recent form has not been the greatest of late.
Should Arsene Wenger have fielded a stronger team against Forest?