Mikel Arteta speaks on Xhaka, Tomiyasu and Smith Rowe after shock FA Cup exit

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta provided an update on three players following the club’s shock FA Cup third round exit at Nottingham Forest.

The Gunners had a poor experience against the Championship outfit four years ago, suffering a surprise 4-2 loss in the same phase of the competition.

It was another repeat yesterday after a dismal performance. The north London giants failed to register a single shot on target over the course of the Cup tie.

Arteta was apologetic after the poor showing. Following the game, he was asked to provide an update on three first-team stars, who were unavailable.

Granit Xhaka was doubtful before the tie as he missed training for the entire week. It was confirmed yesterday that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

Following the game, Arteta was unsure over Xhaka’s availability for the Anfield trip, and said that it may depend on how he recovers over the next few days.

He told football.london: I don’t know it will depend on the next few days about how he’s feeling.”

The Spanish tactician was also unsure over the fitness of Emile Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu, who were sidelined for the weekend trip with injuries.

He said via Arsenal.com: “Again, it depends. They were injured and they couldn’t play. I’ll have to see in the next few days how they were.”

Our view:

The Gunners were never up for the challenge against Forest. It was a surprise, considering how good they were against Manchester City on January 1.

The extended gap and absence of key players influenced the result, but the players selected had sufficient quality to come on top with a victory.

The Gunners struggled in different positions last night, but Cedric Soares, Rob Holding, Nuno Tavares and Eddie Nketiah were hugely disappointing.

Arteta could have a stronger line-up at Liverpool with Smith Rowe, Xhaka and Tomiyasu hopefully returning alongside Aaron Ramsdale and Gabriel.

Despite this, the club may have to pursue a new midfielder this month as Albert Sambi Lokonga has been often error prone in the defensive third.

With Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny away on international duty, the Belgian was reinstated into the line-up alongside young Charlie Patino.

Not for the first time this season, the midfielder lost possession around the Gunners box. He paid the price this time as Forest bagged a late winner.

Stats from Transfermarkt.com

Read: Arsenal identify Bruno Guimaraes and Arthur as January midfield targets.

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