The FA Cup returned last weekend, one of the oldest trophies in England which Arsenal hold the record as the team that has won it the most and Wenger as the manager that has won it more than any other manager. The Gunners were drawn against Nottingham Forest in the 3rd round of the competition and it was quite a disappointing outcome from the Gunners, as the final score was a 4-2 defeat to Arsenal.
With Wenger serving his first touchline ban out of three, Steve Bould took charge of this match and the outcome was a disappointing one, making it the first time Arsenal have been eliminated in the 3rd round of the FA Cup under Wenger’s era.
David Ospina, Per Mertesacker, Mathieu Debuchy, Rob Holding, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Mohammed Elneny, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, Theo Walcott, Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck, were the players on the team sheet as starting XI was rotated. There was hardly any notable firepower on the bench for Arsenal.
Nottingham started the game sharper than Arsenal, as the Arsenal defence was in total shambles all through the match and could’ve easily gone ahead in the 16th minute, but got denied by the fingertip save from Ospina. Nottingham’s Cash was able to drift away from the Arsenal defence without any hassle, striking the ball which seemed destined for the corner of Ospina’s net but the Colombian stretched well enough to deny the opposition.
The deadlock was broken in the 20th minute, courtesy of a dreadful piece of defending from the Arsenal defence and the wall made to stop the indirect free kick awarded to the opposition. The Arsenal wall played on Lichaj who was standing free with Ospina as his only medium of obstruction as the other players left him unmarked. Lichaj had no problem scoring, as the ball was played mid-air to his strides who needed to bully Ospina and head home the opener which he did to wild up the home supporters.
The lead didn’t last for long as the Gunners equalized just three minutes after conceding. A free kick was awarded to Arsenal after Reiss Nelson was brought down, with Walcott whipping in the free kick which was headed by Rob Holding but came off the post but Mertesacker was rightly placed to pounce on the rebound.
With just a minute left to wrap up the first half, Lichaj scored a real beauty to give his team the lead just before the break. A poorly headed clearance from Holding found Lichaj who controlled the ball well with his chest before he unleashed a right foot strike which left Ospina rooted and helpless as Lichaj’s effort dropped in the top corner of Ospina’s goalpost.
A penalty was awarded to Nottingham Forest when Rob Holding who was to clear the ball in his own penalty area reacted slower and in the process kicking the opposition player as referee Jonathan Moss pointed to the spot kick afterwards. Brereton stepped up to take the spot-kick and was able to further extend the host lead as he converted from the spot kick.
A mistake from the opposition keeper allowed Danny Welbeck pull one back for the visitors, as they sort to cut down the goal deficit. A through ball played to Welbeck which he couldn’t reach, as the opposition keeper came rushing out to grab on the ball but somehow let go of it – leaving Welbeck to poke in the loose ball and cut the deficit down.
Referee Jonathan Moss awarded yet another penalty to the home side for a foul on Armand Traore by Debuchy who brought down his fellow Frenchman and former Arsenal player. Dowell stepped up to take the penalty and won the game for his team as he scored from the spot, bringing the score to a 4-2 defeat to Arsenal and an elimination from the FA Cup.