Arsenal were blown away by Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup, but manager Arsene Wenger insists he played too many of his top names.
The Gunners were second best throughout a 3-0 defeat at Hillsborough and Wenger’s wait for a first League Cup of his 19-year reign goes on as goals from Ross Wallace, Lucas Joao and Sam Hutchinson gave the Sky Bet Championship Owls a worthy win.
But their defeat came at an even bigger cost as they lost England internationals Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott to injuries in the first 20 minutes, with the pair set for scans on muscle injuries in the next 48 hours.
It was far from an inexperienced side that Wenger fielded, with Petr Cech, Per Mertesacker, Mathieu Debuchy, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud all named in the starting XI and the boss was left to rue his selection.
“I have to manage the workload of the players and at the end of the day I still think I maybe brought too many experienced players here,” he said.
“We lost two players and after that I had Gabriel (Paulista) and (Nacho) Monreal on the bench but I couldn’t bring them on because I couldn’t afford to lose any more players.
“I am concerned, we have a big game on Saturday (against Swansea), we have Bayern in the Champions League coming up, already now we are short.
“To lose two players tonight is damaging for us, two offensive players. Ideally we would have loved to win, but with the squad we have got now, we cannot keep in all the competitions.”
Wednesday were well worth their victory at Hillsborough, as they gained revenge for the 1993 League Cup final defeat to the Gunners at Wembley.
The Gunners were not able to cope with the dynamic nature of the Owls’ display and boss Carlos Carvalhal, who has overseen a nine-game unbeaten run in all competitions, knew his side were too good on the night.
“I am very happy about the victory, I think we deserved it,” he said. “Everything belongs to the players, they were fantastic, we put a plan together and they did it 100 per cent.
“I am very happy about the players and for the club, it is an important victory for the club. It was a full stadium, with a new generation of fans. We deserved what we got.”