By James Agberebi: Holders Arsenal have been eliminated in this season’s Emirates FA Cup after losing 4-2 to 10-man Championship side Nottingham Forest on Sunday. Super Eagles forward Alex Iwobi made a return to the Arsenal first eleven but could not prevent his side from crashing out.
Arsenal’s goals were scored by Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck.
This is the first time Arsenal will crash out in the third round of the FA Cup under Arsene Wenger.
Danny Welbeck had Arsenal’s first chance on 14 minutes but headed Theo Walcott’s cross off target.
Four minutes later, Matty Cash went close for Forest but was denied by David Ospina who tipped his goal bound shot wide.
In the 21st minute, Forest took the lead thanks to Lichaj who headed in from close range Kieran Dowell’s free-kick to make it 1-0.
Just three minutes later Arsenal were back on level terms as Mertesacker turned home a free-kick from close range.
Ospina was called to action on 32 minutes as he produced a brilliant save to stop Ben Brereton’s effort after he weaved his way into Arsenal’s box.
In the 42nd minute, Brereton went close again after getting behind the Arsenal defence but once again he was denied by Ospina who kept his low shot out before the rebound was cleared away.
Forest’s persistent pressure eventually paid off as Lichaj scored his second goal to make it 2-1 as he thundered a dipping volley past Ospina.
In the 61st minute, Brereton should have extended Forest’s lead but could not get to Tyler Walker’s cross which was deflected for a corner.
Forest’s continued pressure was eventually rewarded as Brereton converted a 64th minute penalty, sending Ospina the wrong way to make it 3-1 after Cash was brought down inside the box.
Substitute Edward Nketiah almost reduced the deficit on 70 minutes but Jordan Smith made a timely save inside the penalty area.
In the 79th minute, a mistake by Forest keeper was punished by Welbeck who slotted into an empty net to bring score to 3-2.
Forest hit back on 84 minutes as they were awarded a penalty after Armand Traore was brought down inside the box with Dowell converting.
There was protest concerning Dowell’s penalty as he slipped before hitting the ball but after consulting with his assistant referee Jonathan Moss awarded Forest the goal.
But things almost went south for Forest as they were reduced to 10 men as Joe Warrell was shown a straight red card on 89 minutes for a reckless foul on Chuba Akpom.
In the 92nd minute, Forest were almost punished for a second time as David Vaughan made a short back-pass but Walcott could not capitalise on the error.