FA Cup: Arteta under fire for selecting Willian, Pepe in 1-0 defeat to Southampton

January 23, 2021
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Arsenal legend, Paul Merson, has questioned Mikel Arteta’s selection as the team crashed out of the FA Cup on Saturday.

The Gunners lost 1-0 to Southampton at Saint Marys, meaning they won’t defend the trophy they won in Arteta’s first season.

Arteta made seven changes to the side that beat Newcastle on Monday for the game against the Saints.

Bukayo Saka, Thomas Partey and Alexandre Lacazette started from the bench, while Emile Smith Rowe and Kieran Tierney were rested completely.

But their replacements – Willian, Mohamed Elneny, Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah – failed to impress.

“I don’t know what he’s doing. They are not going to win the league. They are not going to get into the top four.

“For me, this is the [competition] that made Arteta last time around. He came to Arsenal and had a great semi-final and a great final.

“Honestly, I cannot believe it. This was a more important game than the midweek league game, in my opinion. They are not getting relegated and they are not getting in the top four.

“So, for me, it was a bad decision,” Merson said on Soccer Saturday.

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