FA Cup holders, Arsenal, won’t be defending their title after they were sent packing by championship side, Nottingham Forest in the third round on Sunday.
In a very entertaining game, Forest, who had Joe Warrall sent of late on, defeated Arsenal 4-2 at the City Ground.
Eric Lichaj’s powerful header off a Kieran Dowell free kick in the gave Forest a dream start in the 20th minute, but their lead only last three minute as Per Metersacker equalised for the Gunners following a scramble in the box.
Lichaj’s stunning volley restored Forest’s lead minutes before half time, with Ben Brereten putting the game beyond Arsenal when he doubled his side’s advantage through a penalty kick.
Arsenal puller one back via Danny Welbeck, who capitalised on a mistake by Jordan Smith in goal for the hosts.
…Dowell fires into the roof of the net from the spot#NFFCvAFC ? 4-2 ? (85)
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 7, 2018
However, any hopes the visitors had of forcing a replay were soon doused when Forest scored a fourth through Dowell, who converted another penalty.
A ‘hurtful’ night for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, who made nine changes to his team, with an eye on Tuesday’s semifinal clash with city rivals, Chelsea, in the Carabao Cup.
However, the away side were rather flat, and disappointing, and deservedly lost to Forest, who were brilliant, sharper and superb throughout.
“You can congratulate [Nottingham] Forest for an outstanding performance,” Wenger said after the match. ” They were sharp, won decisive challenges and were always dangerous going forward. I would say they deserved to win today.”
It’s the first time Wenger had lost at this stage of the competition, and it does ‘hurt’, he says.
“It hurts very much,” he added. “We’ve won the FA Cup three times in the last four years. We don’t need to win it every year, of course, it does hurt very much to go out in the third round.”
At Wembley, Arsenal’s North London rivals, Tottenham, were too hot for AFC Wimbledon, who they brushed aside 3-0.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 7, 2018
Harry Kane scored a brace, while Jan Vertonghen’s first goal since 2013 sealed a comfortable win and progression for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, have now won their last eight FA Cup home games against lower oppositions.