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Chris Sutton blasts Mikel Arteta for starting two Arsenal flops in FA Cup exit to Southampton


Arteta was criticised (Picture: Getty)

Chris Sutton was unimpressed with Mikel Arteta’s team selection for Arsenal’s FA Cup exit against Southampton and questioned why he started Willian and Nicolas Pepe.

Sutton blasted the Arsenal manager for treating the competition as a ‘Mickey Mouse Cup’ and dropping some of his most in-form stars.

The former Chelsea striker felt Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe and Kieran Tierney should all have been involved but defeat has now piled the pressure on the Arsenal boss to win the Europa League.

Sutton was left particularly perplexed by the inclusions of Willian – who he claims has been as useful as a ‘chocolate teapot’ – and Pepe and thinks their selection ‘screamed surrender’ as Arsenal lost 1-0.

‘Mikel Arteta, of all people, ought to have recognised the importance of the FA Cup,’ Sutton told the Daily Mail.

‘Winning that competition last season bought him brownie points for his precarious position now.

Pepe and Willian both started against Southampton (Picture: Getty)

‘People doubt him as Arsenal manager but then they remember he won the FA Cup and for that, maybe, he deserves to be cut some slack. He did that in his debut season as a head coach, so let’s give him time, right? That’s wearing thin.

‘Now, it’s Gdansk or bust for Arteta. Arsenal have to get to the Europa League final in Poland for this to not be a season to forget.

‘Why not start Kieran Tierney at Southampton? Why not start Emile Smith Rowe? Why not start Bukayo Saka?

‘Why bring in Willian at No 10? The Brazilian has been about as useful as a chocolate teapot this season. Nicolas Pepe hasn’t been much better. He’s been more of a £72million problem than solution.

‘This isn’t the Mickey Mouse Cup. This is the FA Cup, and the XI that Arteta selected at St Mary’s screamed surrender. Southampton went strong, Arsenal didn’t — and the result was predictable.’

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