Wenger defends team selection after Arsenal FA Cup exit

Date published: Sunday 7th January 2018 6:57

Arsene Wenger has claimed that he fielded a side more than capable of beating Nottingham Forest on Sunday, and spoke of his frustration of having to watch from the stands.

Eric Lichaj scored twice either side of Per Mertesacker’s equaliser before penalties from Ben Brereton and Kieran Dowell sandwiched Danny Welbeck’s goal in a 4-2 win for the Championship side.

“It was very frustrating and unfortunately it was a case on top of that of seeing the team lose,” Wenger told BBC Sport.

“We played a very good Forest team who were sharp and focused. The challenges were decisive. Overall our performance wasn’t good enough.

“We have many players on the edge and we play again on Wednesday. When you don’t win the selection is always questioned.

“I believe we had an experienced team – eight or nine internationals. It would be easy to think that was the problem.

“When you’re against a team like that they’re very difficult to beat. Defensively you cannot afford the mistakes we made.”

Forest’s second penalty had a certain element of controversy to it, as pundits questioned whether there was a double touch from goal-scorer Kieran Dowell as he struck the ball away.

Wenger was reluctant to get himself into more trouble with the FA, when asked post-match his thoughts on the incident: “I didn’t see it. I’ve said what I have to say [on referees] I don’t need to say any more.”

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