Peter Crouch has told Arsenal duo Willian and Nicolas Pepe they can have no complaints if they are dropped again after the Gunners' FA Cup exit.
Both players were recalled to the starting XI for the fourth round tie at Southampton's St.Mary's stadium on Saturday as Mikel Arteta made seven changes to his line-up.
But neither particularly impressed and offered little in the way of an attacking presence as Gabriel's own goal was enough to separate the sides.
Arsenal make the trip back to St.Mary's on Tuesday in the Premier League, but Crouch feels it is almost certain both players will be out of the side again after their latest performances.
"There’s been an upturn in fortunes for Arsenal but that’s largely because of the players who weren’t around today," Crouch told BT Sport . "[Kieran] Tierney, [Emile] Smith Rowe, [Bukayo] Saka was left on the bench, [Alexandre] Lacazette, those are the players who have sort of kick-started Arsenal’s season, they weren’t there today and I think it showed."
Asked whether he thought Arteta would regret not playing Smith Rowe, Crouch replied: "Perhaps but you can’t be relying on kids can you?
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"You’ve got Willian, Pepe, top players on the pitch you’d expect to do the job and players really that haven’t been in the starting XI with a point to prove, so you’d expect them to come here today hungry and showing the manager they don’t want kids to be playing in front of them.
"But I have to say that didn’t happen and they can’t be knocking on the manager’s door when they’re dropped here again on Tuesday."
Southampton have now progressed to the fifth round where they will meet Wolves, while Arsenal's FA Cup defence ended prematurely.
Asked his thoughts on the pair, Crouch added: "They were disappointing. We can see they are very, very good players, the talent certainly Pepe at Lille, Willian at Chelsea, they've both been very good players.
What are your thoughts on Willian and Pepe? Have your say below.
"I just think at this moment in time maybe they're suffering a lack of confidence, maybe their egos have been dented because young players have come in in their place and I know what that's like, it's difficult if you're an experienced player, you're going to be upset, angry, and there are two ways you can react.
"You can throw your toys out the pram and say 'why am I not playing', or you can knuckle down,work hard and win your place back, and I just don't feel today they've done enough to warrant their place in the starting XI."
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