Not many Arsenal fans expected much from last night, but they did not expect to be embarrassed like that.
Forget the strength or otherwise of the starting eleven – Wenger put out a team he thought would compete. It was pulverised.
The real difference here was that the Spuds wanted it. Their players wanted it and their fans wanted it. They wanted it desperately. And the Arsenal players just did not – not until it was far too late.
With Hleb and (for most of the game) Fabregas in the middle, and with Gallas and Sagna at the back, we should have had an experienced rump for the inexperienced players to feed off. Or so the theory goes. But Traore, Hoyte, Diaby, Bendtner and Fabianski were too callow last night, of all nights, and I suspect Wenger will have learned a thing or two about their readiness at this level. Not that the experienced players particularly shone either – it was one of those nights.
“My only regret is playing [some of] the players who played,” he said, without naming names but without needing to. “It is good to see that some players have potential and some are not completely ready yet.”
But irrespective of Wenger’s assertion when asked if this was a priority that it was “not at all, frankly”, this one will not be forgotten by the victors. In fact, I suspect we will never hear the end of it.