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Roy Keane questions Arsenal’s message during FA Cup defeat at Manchester City

Mikel Arteta made six changes to the Arsenal starting XI last night against Manchester City at the Etihad, signaling that the Gunners are sure to have their priorities on other fronts this season


High-flying Arsenal hit what many hope to be just a temporary stumbling block last night after Mikel Arteta’s young Gunners outfit traveled north to the Etihad Stadium for their FA Cup 4th round clash with Manchester City only to come away with a narrow 1-0 loss.

On a night where Arteta could have made a statement and fielded a full-strength side akin to what his former boss and friend Pep Guardiola had done with the exception of the omission of Ederson, the Spanish tactician instead made six changes to the starting XI in a move that shows where Arsenal’s attentions remain during what has been a sensational 2022-23 campaign both at home and abroad to date.

But for former Gunners adversary and Manchester United icon Roy Keane, Arteta’s decision on the night may have been the wrong message to send during a season where the club could finish with an impressive domestic and European double.

“Looking at the starting line-up you could sense that this was not their priority. They want to get that Premier League title.” Keane said.

He continued; “They’ll recover and if they go on to win the league, they’ll say they had to sacrifice this game, but when you make so many changes particularly defensively, you send the message that you’re not that bothered, which isn’t a good message to send. I expected more from Arsenal tonight but they were disappointing.”

Arsenal remains five points clear of City in the league with a match in hand, however, while also remaining one of the favorites to potentially claim the Europa League trophy as one of the big boys left in the competition come the knockout stage.

Arteta’s desire to rotate the squad to keep key assets fresh for what looks to be a serious push on the home front and on the continent is hardly something to be critical over given the thin nature of some areas in the first-team, and should the Gunners go on to win major honors this season, there’s no doubt that the way Arteta has handled the side should - and will be - commended.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.


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