Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker blasted his teammates after
Sunday’s 4-2 FA Cup loss at Nottingham Forest, saying not one
of them justified their selection for the game.
Mertesacker himself scored Arsenal’s first goal to level it 1-1 in
the first half, but the German struggled badly to cope with the
pace of Forest’s teenage striker Ben Brereton throughout the
match. And the defender, who gave the ball away in the lead-up
to Forest’s fourth goal, criticised the entire team after the match.
“The manager made a lot of changes, gave a lot of trust to
players who haven’t played a lot recently and I don’t think
anybody justified their selection today,” Mertesacker told the
Arsenal website in a frank assessment. “That sums it up I think.”
Wenger rested most of his regular Premier League starters for
this game, with Mertesacker playing alongside Rob Holding,
Mathieu Debuchy and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in a back four that
couldn’t contain Forest’s attack.
Mertesacker is retiring at the end of the season, meaning this
was the last appearance for him in a competition he has helped
Arsenal win three times over the past four years — including a
star performance in last season’s final against Chelsea.
It also remains to be seen whether players like Debuchy and
Theo Walcott will remain at Arsenal after this month’s transfer
window — with the lack of more FA Cup matches possibly
increasing the chances of them moving elsewhere.
“It’s difficult to take because for those players who played today,
that was probably a last chance to show up and show the
manager that they’re ready to play more games. It’s not the case
anymore,” Mertesacker said.
Arsenal are already out of the Premier League title race but still
have two trophies to play for, in the Carabao Cup and Europa