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Arsenal are out of the FA Cup in the third round after a shock defeat at the hands of Nottingham Forest.
In a match where Mikel Arteta’s men looked largely listless throughout the entire contest, the City Ground faithful were treated to a giant-killing.
And it is no less than the home side deserved after a strong display with the likes of Djed Spence, Brennan Johnson and Philip Zinckernagel in brilliant form.
Super-sub Lewis Grabban came off the bench to score the winner to send Arsenal back to London with nothing as Steve Cooper’s Nottingham revolution continues.
Here are three things Arteta got wrong…
Even Arteta would agree with us on this one after roping Tavares off after nearly 30 minutes on the clock for Kieran Tierney.
Dodgy touches, outrageous back passes and a general lack of effort made up the Spaniard’s mind and it might be some time before the Portuguese defender is seen again.
A show of petulance after throwing his gloves to the floor and refusing the condolences of those on the bench will not please Arteta, who has already shown that he is not willing to take any stick from the players.
A similar display of indiscipline saw Matteo Guendouzi banished and it might be an uphill battle to salvage his Arsenal career now.
It might have been worth holding on to Ainsley Maitland-Niles for just a few days extra with tonight’s match a perfect chance to play the Englishman.
Arteta has problems in midfield and at right-back – two positions where the versatile star is able to play.
Cedric had a miserable outing for the Gunners while Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey were unavailable, while Arteta might have further issues against Spurs and Liverpool.
Maitland-Niles has been sent out on loan to AS Roma to play under Jose Mourinho, who threw him straight into the starting line-up, while the England international could look to leave permanently in the summer.
A clumsy challenge on Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba was the first time many fans even realised that Nketiah was on the pitch, such was his lack of impact.
Arteta’s system meant the striker was left completely isolated up front for much of the contest and it has only emphasised the need for a forward in the transfer window.
With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang likely on the way out and Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette out of contract at the end of the season, Dusan Vlahovic has been identified as a major target.
But for Nketiah, this was a chance to prove Arteta that he can be relied upon but his performance might have made up his mind – but not in the way that he would have probably desired.
It wasn't all doom and gloom though, at least he got one thing right…
Whether it was because Arteta had no options or that he wanted to promote his best-rated youngster, the jury is out – but it was a decision that paid off.
While the 18-year-old hardly put in a 10/10 performance, it is important to get Patino on the pitch as much as possible for Arsenal while he is developing.
There is no doubt that the teenager is going to the top so it makes sense to have the former Luton trainee play with the first-team.
Arsenal need to trust the youngster by handing him the ball more often but it is surely a matter of time before he is a regular at the Emirates.
- Arsenal FC
- Nottingham Forest FC
- FA Cup
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