Arsenal’s miserable 2020/21 campaign continued as Southampton dumped the holders out of the FA Cup with a 1-0 victory in the fourth round.
An uninspiring affair was decided when Gabriel inadvertently deflected a Kyle Walker-Peters cross into his own net on 24 minutes.
Mikel Arteta was left to rue his decision to rest several key players, as the likes of Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette started on the bench, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was ruled out due to a personal issue just hours before the match.
Nonetheless, it was the sort of tepid display which has left Arsenal languishing in 10th place in the Premier League, as under-performers Willian and Nicolas Pepe struggled once again.
Any Arsenal fan will tell you a deeply frustrating undercurrent of their season has been the absurd number of foul throws – and as former Saints man Cedric committed the seventh of the season in the second half, it felt like a moment which summed up the club’s day.
Arteta made seven changes for the match, while the Saints were pretty much at full strength, and in hindsight, the Gunners boss might regret that decision.
Despite a few chances for Eddie Nketiah, the home side probably should’ve won by more and Danny Ings spurned the best opportunity by hitting the post-one-on-one with Bernd Leno.
The Gunners’ dominance in the competition in recent years has provided a useful distraction to poor league campaigns.
And having experienced what winning the competition can do last season, it’s strange Arteta seemingly failed to prioritize it on Saturday.