Former-Arsenal defender Martin Keown has slammed his old side's FA Cup performance against Championship opposition Blackburn Rovers, which saw the Gunners squander their most realistic chance at silverware this season.
The Championship side were victorious at the Emirates Stadium after the hosts missed chance after chance, but a Colin Kazim-Richards goal gave Blackburn a 1-0 win which saw them progress through to the sixth round. The players trudged off to a chorus of boos at the final whistle.
The loss in the FA Cup has left Arsenal with just the Champions League to fight for, and with a last-16 tie against Bayern Munich looming, things do not look good for the Gunners. Another trophy-less season would take the wait for a trophy to eight years.
Keown, who won several titles during his time at Arsenal, praised Blackburn for their defending, but criticised Arsenal for their lack of ruthlessness in front of goal and said their performance was not good enough.
"The expectations are incredibly high at Arsenal and Arsene Wenger will know better than anybody else that this is turning into a very disappointing season for Arsenal. At the beginning, things threatened to start turning around but now the questions are coming," Keown told the BBC.
"There will be a serious examination. The manager always looks at himself first. He is fiercely competitive and fiercely demanding and if his players are not able to come up to speed he will make some changes.
"Having won the FA Cup in an Arsenal shirt for Arsenal, I know what it means and what it feels like. I just felt there weren't enough people early enough in this match trying hard enough to win it. Arsenal have taken a real smack in the face.
"Gervinho was put through by Tomas Rosicky, a glaring opportunity, but there was a lack of ruthlessness in front of goal.
"It was so disappointing not to be able to convert those endless corners and shots and the amount of possession they had. But Blackburn showed what can happen in football if you keep going, you're resolute, and you're well organised.
"Lee Williamson and Jason Lowe never stopped running in midfield, while central defenders Grant Hanley and Scott Dann will not have played a better game this season, or maybe in their entire careers. And the goalkeeper Jake Kean was on another planet. Every single one of them, the manager Michael Appleton included, were outstanding. Williamson made his debut so it was quite a raw team with one or two individuals that have played in the Premier League.
"All credit to Mike Appleton and his team, they've somehow managed to win here and go through into the next round. They're enjoying it now with their fans, and this will live long in the memory for both the Arsenal and Blackburn supporters for very different reasons."
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