Date:31st January 2023 at 7:00am
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Ian Wright has leaped into the defence of Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga following Martin Odegaard’s rant at the youngster last Friday.

THE LOWDOWN: BELOW-PAR PERFORMANCE

Arsenal faced Manchester City in the FA Cup on Friday night and it was the Citizens who claimed a narrow 1-0 win at the Etihad to progress into the next round of the competition.

The major talking point of the game for Arsenal fans is the performance of Lokonga, who came in for Thomas Partey at halftime in the big clash. The Belgian failed in his duty as the defensive midfielder and allowed Nathan Ake to fire past Matt Turner for the match-winner.

Meanwhile, skipper Odegaard was seen pointing to Lokonga where he needs to be during the match and he endured a tricky evening in Manchester, struggling to find a foothold in midfield.

THE LATEST: WRIGHT’S DEFENCE

Speaking to ITV, the former Arsenal striker Ian Wright said: “With someone like Sambi, he needs minutes, he needs to be playing, he needs to be able to understand and be more wary of where he is and what he needs to do and where he needs to be dropping in.

“You’ve got to kind of sense that danger and that’s why he needs the minutes in games of this quality because that’s where you learn.”

THE VERDICT: BIG PROBLEM

It has been clear for a while now that Lokonga can’t be trusted in the defensive midfield role. He has a lot to improve in his game and would not have been thrown into the game if Mohamed Elneny was available.

Arteta has already expressed his desire for more options. Speaking last week, he said: “We need some more cover in midfield ideally if we can. In this market, it’s pretty complicated to do that.”

Arteta will be hopeful that Partey will be available for the trip to Everton next weekend.

In the transfer market, the Gunners remain in pursuit of Moises Caicedo and it seems they are running out of time.

 

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