Roy Keane has said there is a “softness” to Arsenal, after they slumped to defeat against Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup.
The Gunners continually struggled during the game, failing to create many clear-cut chances for their forwards as the hosts frustrated them throughout.
Lewis Grabban got on the end of a Ryan Yates cross to put Forest into the lead late in the game, knocking Mikel Arteta’s men out of the competition in their first game.
It means that the Spaniard has his side fighting on one final front for domestic trophies, with a Carabao Cup semi-final tie against Liverpool on the horizon.
In the first half, the Gunners struggled to break down the home side, with Arteta making an early substitution in bringing on Kieran Tierney for Nuno Tavares. The Portuguese full-back then threw his gloves in anger as he came off at the half-hour mark.
The side went into the break goalless, with Keane critical of their performance at the time. He told ITV at half-time: “It has been rubbish, it has been rubbish from both teams.
“Arsenal for all their quality, they look like Real Madrid, but they’re playing like a pub team. It has been so poor. Pace of pass, decision making, passing it behind people – really rubbish.”
Arsenal didn’t manage to pick up the pace in the second half either, continuing to struggle as they searched for a winner. However, it was the Championship side that looked more likely in the latter stages, eventually finding a goal of their own.
After the game, there came more criticism of the performance, with former player and Arsenal icon Ian Wright referencing the age of the squad.
Wright said: “We’ve spoken about the age of the team, how young they are, but they are very experienced with what they’ve done.
“Saka has had 110 games, Sambi Lokonga, someone who captained Anderlecht at 21. We have got players in the team who are young but they are experienced.
“You have to come to this kind of environment and you have to match them and then hopefully the quality will show. What happened was they didn’t at any stage get themselves going.”
Keane added: “They lost again. There’s a softness. Okay, they’re missing players but we’re still looking going, ‘Arsenal are here for the taking.’
“They didn’t show any sort of presence about them, they didn’t turn up here, ‘well we’re Arsenal Football Club.’ That’s a big setback for them today.”
Arsenal don’t have long to sit on the loss though, as they face Liverpool at Anfield on Thursday in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final.
Arteta will no doubt be looking for a response against the title challengers, with something to take back with them to the Emirates Stadium when they face the Reds in the second leg of the semi-final tie.