Monday, January 24, 2022

Nottingham Forest 1-0 Arsenal: Late Grabban goal dumps sloppy Gunners out of FA Cup

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 Jan 2022

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Arsenal were eliminated at the third-round stage of the FA Cup for only the second time in 26 seasons after Lewis Grabban secured Nottingham Forest a late 1-0 win on Sunday.

Mikel Arteta returned to the bench after a bout of coronavirus forced him to miss arguably their best performance of the season in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City last weekend.

But he will not have been happy with what he saw at the City Ground, with the Gunners’ lethargy and lack of inspiration in the early stages a sign of things to come.

The Premier League side were twice fortunate not to fall behind in the second half, but their luck finally ran out seven minutes from time, substitute Grabban getting the winner.

Neither side impressed in a largely dull first half, with the only half chance falling to Eddie Nketiah, whose left-footed effort deflected into the side-netting.

One of the more notable occurrences in the first half was the withdrawal of Nuno Tavares after a woefully sloppy 34 minutes – the left-back petulantly throwing his gloves to the ground in response.

Forest carved out their first opportunity soon after the break, Brennan Johnson darting away from Rob Holding and squaring the ball to Philip Zinckernagel, whose first-time effort was saved by Bernd Leno.

Nketiah then badly miscued a header at the other end to let Forest off the hook, before Leno was again called into action, keeping James Garner’s 30-yard free-kick out of the top corner.

Leno was helpless late on, however, as Ryan Yates’ teasing cross was turned in by Grabban, with Arsenal unable to claw back the deficit.

What does it mean? Gunners fail at the City Ground again

It is not often that Arsenal fall at the first hurdle in the FA Cup, with this only the second occurrence in 26 years.

The last such embarrassment before this? Also against Forest at the City Ground, back in 2017-18.

It was not as if Forest needed to be excellent, either. Arsenal were so underwhelming, which will surely be hugely frustrating for Arteta given how good they were in defeat to City.

Lewis is Grabban the plaudits

Forest’s captain was left on the bench, but he certainly proved a point when he came on. None of Grabban’s team-mates bettered his two shots despite him only playing for 22 minutes.

Tavares throws a tantrum… and his gloves

This was a day to forget for Tavares, though Arteta may not let him. The left-back was hauled off before half-time after a dreadful showing, miscontrolling the ball frequently, giving it away and sparking alarm with one horrendous backpass that might have gone in had Leno not chested it out for a corner.

Key Opta facts

– Arsenal were eliminated in the FA Cup third round for just the second time in the last 26 seasons – both of these defeats have come away against Nottingham Forest, losing 4-2 in January 2018 and 0-1 here.

– Forest have won four of their last six FA Cup home games against Premier Leagues sides (D1 L1), beating Charlton Athletic in 2007, West Ham in 2014 and Arsenal in 2018 and 2022.

– Grabban scored his first FA Cup goal in over a decade, since finding the net in December 2011 for Rotherham against Shrewsbury.

What’s next?

Forest will host Leicester City in the fourth round early next month. Arsenal now have a massive week to prepare for as they face Liverpool at home in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-finals, before a north London derby away to Tottenham in a week’s time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

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