Arsenal 1 Southampton 2
( Sanchez 14 Tadic (pen) 20, Clyne 40 )

The only domestic trophy to have eluded Arsene Wenger, will have to wait at least another year if Arsenal are to present their longest serving manager the missing piece of silverware to add to his collection. Now in the guise of the Capital One Cup, however once again, Arsenal will not progress any further after losing 2-1 at home to Southampton. Alexis Sanchez gave the Gunners the lead after 14 minutes with a superbly struck free kick. Wenger made ten changes to the side which won at Villa Park, and an inexperienced defence would always be tested. Duran Tadic struck from the penalty spot for Saints’ leveller after 20 minutes, with Nathaniel Clyne letting fly from 30 yards for what was to prove to be the winner five minutes before the break.

Wenger was able to call on Abou Diaby to play a more defence minded game and he strode around with purpose. He was replaced on the hour mark as he tired, but thankfully no injury. Try as they might however, Arsenal were unable to pierce a stubborn Saints rearguard and it was they who would march on into the next round.

” It’s disappointing because we had a good start and we made two unnecessary errors on the two goals – they were big ones, ” said Wenger.

” We lacked a bit of experience at the back. I agree but overall they did well. We gave a lot and it’s frustrating as we were not able to score in the second half. When you look at the amount of possession we had you have to give credit to Southampton. They played well and were very organised. They abused the fouls in the middle of the park but they are a good side and they played well tonight. Overall it’s frustrating because we gave a lot.”

Joel Campbell, Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere and Lukas Podolski started, but never quite got going on a disappointing night for the sell out Emirates crowd.

” I think if we lost the game tonight it’s not because of Hayden and it’s not because of Chambers. It’s not because of Coquelin. We have to be realistic. I don’t want to go into any individual assessment because it’s always very easy after defeat – but I felt we gave a lot. I cannot fault the spirit and I cannot fault the attitude.

” I think the first reason for our defeat is the quality of our opponent and the performance of our opponent. The fact that we couldn’t score – we scored from a free-kick but apart from that we couldn’t score. If you look at the amount of possession we had in the second half, and you play for so long with the amount of possession we had, you have to score,” continued Wenger.

If the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of all it’s parts, then Wenger will take comfort from seeing Diaby come through another test. He has had the misfortune to have suffered forty injuries during his eight years at Arsenal.

” Of course. It was difficult for him but he got 60 minutes and he was not injured. At some stage he has to play. He had 90 minutes ( for the under-21s)at Villa last week. He played 60 minutes tonight. He was not bad, he was acceptable as a performance but he tired after an hour,” said Wenger of Diaby who looks to have found a new defensive role.

” I try to transform it, yes because I feel because he was injured for a long time and he has the physical potential to win the challenges, to face the game will be easier for him than to play with his back to goal with the injuries he had. I tried to develop him in a deeper role, I think he can do it. He can be very interesting because he has all the attributes to do it. After, he must love it as well because he’s more of an offensive-minded player.”

Wenger revealed that Per Mertersacker and Kieran Gibbs didn’t start because they had slight knocks, but both should be for for Saturday’s north London derby.