Arsenal

Arsenal

Premier League • England

Arsenal out of FA Cup and Arteta left with fuming star as Forest hoodoo strikes again

Lewis Grabban Nottingham Forest v Arsenal January 2022

Nottingham Forest dumped Arsenal out of the FA Cup for a second time in recent seasons following a 1-0 win at the City Ground.

Neither side had a shot on target in the first half as the hosts stood firm defensively. However, the game opened up at pace after the break with a host of chances at either end.

And it was Forest substitute Lewis Grabban who scored eight minutes from time to send the home supporters wild. However, it was familiar misery for Arsenal.

Forest beat the Gunners 4-2 in the FA Cup in 2018 and their hoodoo struck again.

Steve Cooper’s side will now play holders Leicester in the fourth round.

Forest enjoyed a bright start, forcing Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno to sprint out of his goal and smother a pass.

And while the hosts did not get a shot on target before the break, neither did Arsenal as Cooper’s men more than held their own. Indeed, the City Ground crowd roared Djed Spence on after he intercepted Bukayo Saka’s pass and sent Forest back the other way.

In fact, Arsenal looked nervous defensively at times, not helped by Nuno Tavares. The full-back put Leno under pressure, forcing the goalkeeper to chest the ball clear for a corner with an awkward pass.

And as he continued to struggle, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta swapped him for Kieran Tierney after 34 minutes. Tavares looked visibly frustrated, showing his emotion towards Arteta.

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But Tierney looked more solid in both attack and defence. Indeed, his cross just missed Saka before he set up Rob Holding for a blocked shot on the edge of the area.

Nevertheless, Forest stood firm as Eddie Nketiah also had a shot deflected wide and the hosts closed down Martin Odegaard on the edge of the area.

At the other end, Spence was effective as he got forward and won a free-kick in a dangerous position. However, Manchester United loanee James Garner fired it into the wall.

Forest, Arsenal clash opens up

Djed Spence, Cedric Soares Nottingham Forest v Arsenal January 2022

Forest dominated the first 10 minutes of the second half, with a penalty appeal from a corner a sign of their fast start.

Before that set-piece, Philip Zinckernagel fired first time straight at Leno after a great breakaway down the right and cross from Brennan Johnson.

Saka responded with a great cross into Nketiah, but the striker made a mess of his attempt at goal.

The game was opening up at pace and Garner did better with another free-kick, Leno having to stretch to tip the ball away from the top left corner. At the other end, Nketiah got half a yard but blazed over the near post from the left.

Heading into the final 10 minutes, Forest centre-back Joe Worrall did enough to stop Arsenal substitute Alexandre Lacazette get on the end of Saka’s cross.

But it was a Forest substitute – Grabban – who broke the deadlock. The hosts broke away and Ryan Yates’ cross from the left was inch-perfect for Grabban to poke home.

The home crowd went wild and Arsenal could not find the all-important equaliser. In fact, no shots on target summed up their afternoon as their quest for another FA Cup triumph fell at the first hurdle.