The League Cup quarter-final was meant to bring some light festive relief for Arsenal fans from their Premier League woes.

Instead, however, the ghost of Christmas present hung over the Emirates once again as Arsenal fans were haunted by their side's all-too-familiar frailties, with Manchester City strolling into the League Cup last four at the Gunners' expense.

transfers
Arsenal and Real Madrid agree Odegaard loan deal - reports
15 HOURS AGO

One win in 10 Premier League games has been blamed on the club's hierarchy, and their poor recruitment in the summer. Sitting 15th in the table is down to a number of players not having the stomach for the battle, with dressing room unrest a reported cause for major concern.

But, it is time for Arsenal fans to find a new target for their inquisition.

Mikel Arteta has talked a good game, spoken of his long-term vision for the club - music to the ears of fans longing for some direction - and that has bought him some time. Arsenal did seem to be heading in the right direction last season, finishing the campaign off with a fine performance when beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final.

Arteta was not brought in as a quick fix. But the cracks are starting to appear, and things could get a whole lot worse, of that we can be 67 per cent sure.

His bizarre, Rafa Benitez facts-esque rant this week about chances of winning games made absolutely zero sense. While he later tried to clarify what he meant, it was clear the pressure was getting to him and represented the start of a few days to forget for the Spaniard.

Then, for the visit of City, a game that could have really gone some way to helping the Gunners turn their season around, Arteta leaves out his first-choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno, who was man of the match in the last round win at Liverpool, and deploys his second-choice stopper, the young Runar Runarsson. Does a goalkeeper need a rest, in these times of need for Arsenal?

It is all well and good rotating your squad, as Pep Guardiola also did, but it was clear from the off Runarsson was not ready for a game of this magnitude, and soon enough he was caught out at the near post inside three minutes and City were in front.

Arsenal sold Emi Martinez in the summer, for a tempting fee. That was understandable given the money recouped, but they failed in several bids to bring in another understudy, Brentford's David Raya. Therefore, it was clear Arteta did not trust his current back-up 'keeper. So why, in such a big game, did Arteta throw Runarsson into the firing line? His fumble for City's second goal, arguably the turning point in the match, told you all you needed to know about Runarsson's confidence levels. Error number one from Arteta.

The returning Gabriel Martinelli was Arsenal's only leading light in the first half against City, creating the equaliser for Alexandre Lacazette. In his first start since April after a long injury absence, it looked like Martinelli would not come out for the second half after appearing to pick up another painful injury, one that he needed lengthy treatment for.

City and Pep have 'doubts' over signing Messi – Euro Papers

To everyone's surprise, Martinelli did come back out for the second half, made the injury worse, and was taken off three minutes after the interval. Error number two.

These are big, big decisions that ultimately cost Arsenal the match. What if it was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer making these kinds of glaring errors? Would he get cut the same amount of slack as Arteta gets?

There are many, many factors that have lead to Arsenal's terrible start to this season, and the unsettling footballing environment at the moment is not making anyone's job easy.

But Arteta, for all his words, is not walking the walk. The players have been poor, boardroom decisions lamentable at times, but the manager has done very little to suggest he is not out of his depth at this level.

transfers
Ozil completes Fenerbahce transfer
16 HOURS AGO
Premier League
Ozil made Arsenal win again - and nobody should forget that
17 HOURS AGO