Given Arsenal’s recent form, a 4-1 home defeat to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night just seems par for the course.
The Gunners looked as toothless in attack as they have done all season, whilst their defending at times was bordering on the comical. Even Gabriel Martinelli’s energetic return to the starting line-up after nine months away with injury wasn’t enough to inspire a change in fortune for Mikel Arteta’s side, and their night was rather summed up by Alex Runarsson’s performance.
The north London side’s number two goalkeeper just looked all at sea from the very first whistle, completely misjudging a cross for Gabriel Jesus’ opener within minutes of kick-off.
And whilst he redeemed himself slightly with a superb sprawling stop at the feet of City’s fleet-footed Brazilian attacker, Runarsson undone all his hard work with the kind of howler that surely has people questioning why they chose to sign him in the first place.
But whilst the Icelandic ace was particularly awful, his teammate Ainsley Maitland-Niles was arguably even worse.
The England international started off the game as an inverted left wing-back, picking up spaces infield and trying to link together with Martinelli down the flank.
But the versatile Arsenal ace’s casualness on the ball let him down several times, and it made for a truly frustrating game for both him and the onlooking Arteta.
As per Sofascore, he lost possession an incredible 20 times over the course of the night, the most of any Arsenal player on the pitch. He also made no successful dribbles, sent no accurate crosses, made just 20 total successful passes, and lost seven of his nine duels too.
Arteta handed him a rare chance to impress from the off, and then, even when he was moved into central midfield for the closing stages of the game, he failed to grab his opportunity.
It surely would have left Arteta fuming, and wondering whether he deserves to be in the starting line-up for the Premier League clash against Chelsea.