Mikel Arteta apologizes after Nottingham Forest ended Arsenal FA Cup journey in the third round again

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The manager of Arsenal football club, Mikel Arteta has apologized for the poor performance of his team against a lower division side, Nottingham Forest on Sunday, January 9, 2022.

Arteta led Arsenal to City Ground to take on Nottingham Forest in a FA Cup third-round game. Based on the current form of the London-based club in the Premier League, they were expected to beat the lower division team.

Though the Spanish coach made a series of changes to his regular squad, he still included his major starters like Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli, and goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Yet, their inclusion could not make any difference.

Mikel Arteta passing instruction to Bukayo Saka during the FA Cup game against Nottingham Forest.
Coach Mikel Arteta passing instruction to Bukayo Saka during the FA Cup game against Nottingham Forest.

It was so bad for Arsenal that the Premier League club recorded 10 shots, none of which was on target. While Nottingham Forest with 33 percent of the ball possession recorded 7 shots, 3 of which was on target.

The main difference in the game happened in the 83rd minute when Nottingham Forest’s Lewis Grabban scored the only goal of the match. Unfortunately for Mikel Arteta and his players, they could not turn the scoreline around.

Lewis Grabban celebrates his goal against Arsenal on Sunday.
Lewis Grabban celebrates his goal against Arsenal on Sunday.

Hence, that marked the second time in the history of the FA Cup that Nottingham Forest defeated Arsenal in the third round of the competition. Recall that the lower division side beat Arsenal 4-2 in 2018 to knock out the Premier League side from the competition.

While in the 2021-2022 edition of the FA Cup, the game didn’t have to end with such a wide margin, Grabban’s late-minute strike was enough to end Arsenal’s journey in the competition.

At the end of the FA Cup third-round game, coach Mikel Arteta told ITV that Arsenal were not good enough during the FA Cup game. He stressed that he expected the team he assembled for the match to perform better than they did.

“We were not good enough and we have to apologize for it,” the Spanish tactician who has been in charge of Arsenal for over two years said.

“I don’t want to use excuses, I expect the team I put out to do better and when you don’t in the cup you are out.

“Today showed we were not capable of winning against Forest away from home and didn’t put in the level to win the game. It’s a collective issue and today we have not done it. What we have done today is nowhere near the level and standards that are required.”

While in the post-match press conference, coach Mikel Arteta admitted that Arsenal were not at their level during the FA Cup game, adding that he was disappointed with the performance of his team.

“We needed more drive, more hunger to win at any cost in every single action, much more. We were not at our level”, Arteta said.

“I’m really disappointed with the performance, first of all. Not with the attitude but how much purpose we have and what determination we showed to change the game when it’s difficult to play against and the way they play.

“I have played in games like that for the last 18 years and I know how complicated it is to come here and it’s no surprise the difficulties you are going to face. But when we do that, we have to face it differently.

“It is hurting. It is a competition that is very related to our history and to get out of it is a big bump.”

Now that Arsenal’s FA Cup dream for this season is over, the club will turn their attention to the Carabao Cup. They will face Liverpool in a two-legged Carabao Cup semi-final on January 13 and 20. In between that, Mikel Arteta and his boys will face Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Sunday, January 16.

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