Arsene Wenger was left counting the cost of Arsenal’s 3-0 League Cup loss to Sheffield Wednesday after suffering key injuries.
Wenger was forced to withdraw Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with a hamstring issue after just five minutes at Hillsborough, with his misery compounded when the winger’s replacement, Theo Walcott, suffered a similar problem soon after.
Walcott followed his countryman to the bench and could only watch on as goals from Ross Wallace, Lucas Joao and Sam Hutchinson dumped Arsenal out of the competition.
Those complaints could hardly have come at a worse time for Arsenal, with Premier League matches against Swansea and Tottenham sandwiching a crucial Champions League trip to Bayern Munich in the coming weeks.
Wenger told Sky Sports: “It was a very bad night for us. We lost two important players in the first part of the game.
“We are short now, because we’ve lost Chamberlain and Walcott, and already have a few injuries.
“It’s a big blow to lose this, but those injuries are an even bigger blow for the other competitions.”
Speaking about the game, which Wednesday won comfortably, Wenger added: “We weren’t at the level to play a team like Sheffield Wednesday.
“In the end, we have to congratulate them. They were quicker, sharper and more decisive than us.”
One of the biggest disappointments for Wenger was doubtless seeing a number of youngsters fail to shine.
Glen Kamara and Alex Iwobi started, while Krystian Bielik and Ismael Bennacer were introduced from the bench in a match that saw Arsenal suffer their biggest defeat to lower-league opposition since 1959.
“We have to manage the workload of the players,” he said. “The occasion was too high for the younger players.
“They are not ready to play at this level. We looked very naive.”