Arsenal were dumped out of the F.A cup and lost the chance to retain the crown for the third time in succession by Watford. It is fair to say the Hornets showed more passion in the full 90 minutes, and in turn have put even more pressure on French manager Arsene Wenger. The loss caused an uproar from Arsenal fans with reports of fights breaking out between them after the game.
Within the first half hour of the match, neither team showed that they had the quality to outshine one another, meaning there were no real highlights at either end of the pitch. The main talking point of the first half involved Brazilian defender Gabriel, who arguably should of seen red for a two-footed challenge on Watford striker Troy Deeney. Both players committed them selfs to a 50/50 challenge, of which the referee viewed as harmless, yet it was clear this was a let off for the Arsenal defender. The first real threat came from Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny, who found himself in space from 12 yards, but saw his shot rise over the bar.
Following a disappointing first half from both sides, the second half got off to a flyer with Watford taking control over an Arsenal, who looked like a side lacking any ambition or threat. The dominance from Watford saw Odion Ighalo give Watford the lead in the 50th minute. The Striker who has been the main fire power for the Hornets this season managed to profit from a cushioned header into the area from fellow team mate Troy Deeney. Efficiently, he kept his cool as he shifted his marker to fire past helpless cup keeper, David Ospina.
Arsenal struggled all game to create any real openings, until front man Olivier Giroud had a golden chance, but wasted the oppertunity, striking the ball straight at Ex-Sunderland Keeper Costel Pantillimon. The end to end nature of the game saw Watford hit the Gunners on the counter attack which resulted in Adlene Guedioura doubling Watford’s lead, and what a goal it was. The Algerian’s strike stunned both sets of fans, a goal of real power and finesse from the inconsistent midfielder. The cries of ‘We’er going to Wembley’ echoed round the Emirates stadium, with the reigning champions staring at a disappointing exit from the competition.
As the minutes were ticking down, the game seemed to be slipping away from Arsene Wenger’s men. But the Gunners were given a glimmer of hope from injury prone striker Danny Welbeck 10 minutes from time, put through on goal by Mesut Ozil, calmly slotting the ball past the helpless 6’6″ figure of Costel Pantillimon. Just minutes from time, Arsenal fans were left in shock, with Danny Welbeck missing a chance that looked easier to score. The Arsenal forward who already had a goal to his name, saw the ball fall to his feet in a promising position not far from goal. Off balanced and on the turn, his shot went high and wide. A big sigh of relief for the visiting Watford fans.
Overall, Arsenal looked like a side that lacked confidence in the final third, with only limited chances created. By the time Arsenal sprang into life was in the final 10 minutes of the game when the damage had already been done. Arsenal are in danger of throwing away a whole season that showed promise and if performances do not improve in the near future, the club are under threat of crashing out of the top 4, being under pressure with West Ham making a late charge. Watford proved many critics wrong in the tie and showed how effective they can be by outplaying Arsenal at the Emirates. Arsenal now go into a clash against Barcelona away from home, after already suffering from a first leg defeat. The Spanish Giants are showing no signs of slowing down their excellent form, winning 6-0 at the weekend, currently on a 37 game unbeaten run. Arsenal will have to create a miracle in Spain if they are to overturn the deficit, but it all depends on what Arsenal team turns up on Wednesday.