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Nottingham Forest 4-2 Arsenal - FA Cup Third Round review

This is a new low.

Forest have tradition, and have done things we haven’t (European Cup).

But then we allowed them to bully us, press us, and dominate our defence.

The team was weaker than usual, which was to be expected. Wenger always does this in early rounds vs. lower opposition.

But from the start, our mentality was poor.

We did well to equalise readily, but then we lacked the energy, drive, and heart to handle this game.

To use an adage, Forest wanted it more.

Both halves in my mind followed a similar pattern:

  • Poor closing of space

The second goal for them was well-taken, though we allowed a lot of space. The defence also was poor in closing space down, and we didn’t have the nous or organisational ability to handle Forest’s press.

  • Marking

Their first goal was possibly poor handling by Ospina. Though the Forest player wasn’t being marked at all. Moreover, our defence was being run ragged by their attack, and chiefly Per was the culprit.

  • Poor attacking play

Our approach play was not very sharp, though Welbeck is an evident exception. Iwobi did not shine, and some serious revision of our players needs to be conducted here.

  • Penalties

BT Sport showed the replay for the last penalty, and it was NOT such. Debuchy got the ball, though the third goal was poorly executed by Holding. Moreover, it’s ironic that with VAR we may have not conceded this, but then let’s be frank we didn’t warrant much from this game.

Impressions/player ratings

This is pretty poor.

Yes, we’ve had bad results this season, with some atrocious and despicable defending at times.

But against City, I can accept it. Against Liverpool, United, Chelsea, or even Tottenham, fine. But Forest? Really?

We’ve hit a new low.

There is something wrong with our methods, coaching, and practices, and I feel in life with any persistent issue there is an underlying cause.

We’re just not coached, nor programmed well.

Ospina made some good saves overall, but positionally was weak in some instances (6). Per (4) is a player I’ve respected for a while. Though now he is finished. It’s bad to say, but he was not on it today. Debuchy (5) and Holding (4) were also not good. Nelson impressed in recent games, but today was muted (5).

Elneny tried to get things working (6), but Willock (5) and Iwobi didn’t offer much either. Iwobi needs to consider his future, or be rested by Wenger, since he has not progressed in over a year. I want him to, but then it’s up to him now to do it (3).

Maitland-Niles offered some good width, but not consistently enough (6 ). Welbeck looked sharp, and did well for his goal, but he also didn’t create much (5). Walcott was very bad, and whilst I think he has done well overall at Arsenal, he needs to move on now (3).

Forest warranted their win, and was up for it more. They pressed us to a high degree, and we faltered.

It’s clear we have critical issues in our club, and they won’t be solved by persisting on the same path.

Are there positives in this defeat? Yes.

For me, it shows us who is worthy to be here or not. It also demonstrates that if a championship team can outdo us, then our issues are deeper than realised.

Moreover, it can allow us to concentrate more on the Europa League, or even the League Cup. And maybe, due to our successes in this competition of late, we’re due a bad defeat. It’s been a while since we got giant-killed, and other clubs (United, Spurs, City, Chelsea) have been in recent years and we haven’t.

So today was a new low. But if we learn (and we don’t, but still…..) we can channel this for the Europa League. Let’s get this, and end our 24 year European trophy drought.

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