Nottingham Forest pulled off the most dramatic shock of the FA Cup 3rd round by beating the holders!
The result means that Arsene Wenger has overseen a third-round loss for the first time in his career.
The first half saw the home side in the lead with 20 minutes gone with a goal from Eric Lichaj following a free kick from Everton loanee Kieran Dowell. That shocked the holders!
The side temporarily managed by Gary Brazil weren’t in the lead for too long, however, as a free kick from Theo Walcott found Per Mertesacker who struck to equalise.
Towards the end of the first half, Lichaj struck against with an audacious volley to put his side in the lead once again! David Ospina had no chance with that one!
Nottingham Forest were in dreamland, and Arsenal were in trouble at the break. Let’s see what the second half had in store…
With 63 minutes gone, the side that hadn’t won since early December (a 3-2 home win over Bolton Wanderers) were awarded a stonewall penalty when Rob Holding fouled Dowell in the area. Ben Brereton stepped up, and sent Ospina the wrong way to extend the lead for his side! Arsenal were in real danger of crashing out of the FA Cup here.
There was a small glimmer of hope for Arsenal (can’t believe I’m writing that) when Danny Welbeck pulled one back to reduce the deficit. Following being fed through by Alex Iwobi, and an error from Jordan Smith, Welbeck took advantage of the situation.
The torrid afternoon for Arsenal was compounded when Mathieu Debuchy stupidly gave away another penalty on former Arsenal defender Armand Traore seven minutes from time.Did Debuchy get the ball first though? Nevertheless, Dowell (who assisted Lichaj in the first half) took the penalty, and scored the goal while effectively knocking the holders out of the FA Cup!
Dowell’s heart was in his mouth for a second though as he thought he’d have to retake his penalty following accusations that he touched the ball twice. After a discussion between the referee, and the linesman, the goal was eventually given.
With Mark Warburton gone, and the East Midlands outfit in a rut, this was a much-needed win!
Thoughts on the game
First and foremost, well done to Nottingham Forest on reaching the next round.
As for Arsenal, when I saw the team sheet, I wasn’t overly convinced as the starting 11 wasn’t what I expected. I wasn’t expecting full strength 11, but the fact that the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, and Jack Wilshere didn’t feature baffled me. What baffled me even further was that there were no inspiring names on the bench who could’ve potentially changed the game.
Its back to league action for The Reds as they host Aston Villa in a Midlands derby this coming Saturday. Arsenal visit Stamford Bridge for the second time this season the Wednesday before for the first leg semi-final of the EFL Cup, then travel to Bournemouth the following Sunday.
What were your thoughts on the game? Are you shocked by Nottingham’s win? Should Arsenal have named familiar faces on the bench? Should Dowell have retaken his penalty? (Not that it mattered much).