The FA cup shows us once again why it is one of the best domestic competitions in the world with mid table Championship side Nottingham Forest playing the current holders Arsenal off the park and winning the game 4-2 with Arsene Wenger serving the first game of his touchline ban as well.
The home team took the lead in the first half when Eric Lichaj headed in from close range, however Arsenal instantly replied when Per Mertesacker followed up after Rob Holding’s effort hit the post. Lichaj restored Forest’s lead just before the break with a spectacular dipping volley that David Ospina had no chance with.
Midway through the second half a poor tackle from Holding led to a Nottingham Forest penalty which Ben Brereton dispatched confidently. Danny Welbeck got one back for the Gunners after some confusion at the back and then a fumble by Forest goalkeeper Jordan Smith for the hosts ten minutes from the end to setup a great finish for the game. Five minutes after this however Forest were awarded another another penalty after a foul by Debuchy. Kieran Dowell stepped up for Forest and slipped as he took the penalty leading the ball touching both feet before going into the back of the net.
As Arsenal players protested, the referee had a word with his assistant but gave the goal much to the joy of the home fans. Theo Walcott had a chance to get one back for the Gunners after Welbeck had his shot partially deflected away by the Forest goalkeeper, but he could not convert from the narrow angle. Forest were reduced to ten men when Joe Worrall was shown a second yellow for a late tackle late in the game.
This game was the first time Arsene Wenger has been eliminated from the FA cup at this stage and the first time for Arsenal since January 1996 and the Frenchman said “It was very frustrating [being in the stands] and unfortunately it was a case on top of that of seeing the team lose. We played a very good Forest team who were sharp and focused. The challenges were decisive. Overall our performance wasn’t good enough.”
The caretaker manager of Forest David Brazil said, “That was a fantastic day for the football club. I may be a little bit biased but I think it was a well-deserved win. There were some big performances from the players this afternoon and I always felt comfortable we would go on and win the game and so it proved.”
This game as well as others from over the weekend’s cup games such as League 2 Newport County knocking out Championship side Leeds and League 2 Coventry beating Premier League strugglers Stoke City show that this historic cup is still magical and that it will not matter how much football develops. This competition is a perfect example of why football is the most watched sport on the planet.