Southampton knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup after a 1-0 win against the Gunners in the fourth round. Gabriel’s own goal in the 24th minute gave Southampton a deserved win over the cup holders, who decided to rest most of their first-team players ahead of their league match against the same opponent on Tuesday.
Arteta’s decision to provide game time for his fringe players came back to haunt him, as the Gunners struggled to create opportunities in the first half. The Saints were better throughout the game, and deservedly won the match with their disciplined approach.
Speaking after the defeat, Arteta admitted he was disappointed to go out of the competition. The Arsenal manager added “We’re really sad to be out of the competition and disappointed about the way we lost the game, conceding from an area in which we cannot give the ball away.”
“We had some issues controlling the game in the first-half and some unforced errors. We didn’t hit the target. Two or three big chances in the second half but not enough to win the game.”
“The way we conceded the goal is completely our own fault. We have to compete in this game or you know you’re out. We have to do that better, it is a lesson.”
“They all tried so hard, it was a really intense game. Southampton play really aggressive. I hope we can use that to be more prepared for Tuesday.”
“We are looking in the market to see what else we can do. We moved some players, we are short in one or two positions.”
Willian and Pepe, who started the game, failed to seize their opportunities after being largely left out the lineup in Premier League games. The duo struggled to make an impact during the first half, as Arsenal were left to chase the game. However, Arteta has defended the duo and praised them for their desire to try and make an impact.
The Spaniard added “They try to give their best. You could see how hard they are trying, with more or less quality, but the intention is there and the willingness is there.”