Arsenal Are Dumped out of the FA Cup by Sunderland

H AndelAnalyst IIIFebruary 18, 2012

The agony of failure
The agony of failureLaurence Griffiths/Getty Images

It is a day of gloom for many Arsenal fans as the Gunners were knocked out of the fifth round of the FA Cup at Sunderland, losing 2-0.

For some, however, it is a day of glee—that army, which manifest when Arsenal lose.

It is now another confirmed trophy-less year, and this heightens the pressure on Arsene Wenger, who must now assess the situation and decide whether or not to stay on at Arsenal come summer.

The only thing left of the season for Arsenal is to try to push for the Champions League slot left for the taking in the Premier League campaign.

But with the way the team played at Sunderland, even this seems unlikely to happen. Arsenal's midfield is dead, and if Wenger decides to continue at Arsenal come May, he must address this problem.

To make matters worst in this defeat, Arsenal lost yet another defender with what appeared to be a pulled hamstring.

After a burst of speed, Francis Coquelin collapsed while clutching his hamstring. What is worrying is that he just returned from this same injury.

The recriminations must surely include the medical team.

It was Coquelin's replacement, Sébastien Squillaci, whose deflection from a Kieran Richardson's shot gave Sunderland their lead in the 40th minute of the match. Somehow, Squillaci always has something to do with Arsenal's goals, in the wrong way.

Although Arsenal controlled possession throughout the match, they lacked ability to transit from midfield to attack, and this was the undoing of Arsenal, as any time Sunderland got the ball they caused problems for Arsenal's defense.

This is what caused the second goal, an unfortunate own-goal by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Arsenal must now regroup to salvage what is left of the season, but there's no doubt that major changes must be made in the summer if Wenger must continue as manager and if Arsenal would continue to be relevant in England and in Europe.

For now, let those who mourn, mourn, those who are happy, smirk. It is the right of every fan or rival.