Arteta's gamble on second stringers backfires hopelessly as Seagulls dump them out of the cup
Arsenal (1) 1 Nketiah 19
Brighton (1) 3 Welbeck pen 27, Mitoma 58, Lamptey 71
What is it with Arsenal and the League Cup?
It seems to be a competition successive managers simply can't treat seriously. Next year will be the 30th anniversary of their last triumph in it and their pathetic approach to it suggests the wait for what would be only a third success may never be realised.
Mikel Arteta wants to keep his players fresh for the league, everyone gets that, but starting a home tie with only one first team regular in William Saliba? It was asking for trouble and trouble is what the Gunners got.
Brighton accepted the open invitation - even if they themselves did not field all their regulars - and there was the embarrassment of seeing Martinelli, Jesus, Gabriel and Zinchenko all thrown into the fray during the second half in a desperate bid to try and salvage the damage.
It was all for nothing and really Arteta has only himself to blame. It was like watching those League cup ties under Arsene Wenger, when only promising understudies got a game. No wonder the club have only ever won this particular bauble twice.
A sweet finish from Eddie Nketiah gave Arsenal the lead and false hope - the striker fired over keeper Jason Steele from just inside the area after Reiss Nelson had led a break away before slipping the ball through.
Former Gunner Danny Welbeck levelled from the spot soon after - having won the penalty himself after being tripped by Estonian debutant keeper Karl Hein, as he bore down on goal after being played in by Solly March.
It was lucky for the keeper, who is barely out of his teens, that ref Jarred Gillett was in a benevolent mood and waved a yellow card rather than a red one for the foul.
Nketiah almost restored the lead after the turnaround with a swerving shot which came back off the base of Steele's right hand post and a Marquinhos cross should have been put away before Albert Sambi Lokonga drilled wide from a good position.
But it was the Seagulls who struck next, as half-time sub Kaoru Mitoma side-stepped a defender inside the box before angling a fine shot beyond Hein and Tariq Lamptey had some fans heading for the exits early with a tidy finish to make it 3-1.
It was no more than Brighton deserved. And Arsenal, for that matter.
Gunners: (4-2-3-1) Hein – Cedric Soares, Saliba (Gabriel 62), Holding, Tierney (Zinchenko 72) – Elneny, Sambi Lokonga (Xhaka 81) – Nelson, Fabio Vieira (Jesus 72), Nketiah – Marquinos (Martinelli 62). Subs not used: Turner, White, Partey, Odegaard
Seagulls: Steele - Dunk (Webster 60), Colwill, Veltman - Lamptey, Caicedo (Gross h/t), Gilmour, March (Mitoma h/t) - Sarmiento (Undav 80) - Welbeck, Enciso (Estupinan 76). Subs not used: Sanchez, Webster, Ferguson, Turns, Moran