Arsenal were dumped out of the FA Cup with a 2-1 loss at home to Watford in the quarter-finals, with their season now in disarray.
Looking for his third consecutive FA Cup victory, Arsene Wenger seemed to be putting all his eggs in one basket, playing a surprisingly strong team instead of resting key players ahead of Arsenal’s second leg last-16 Champions League match against Barcelona on Wednesday.
But a disaster unfolded at Emirates Stadium, with Watford scoring twice thanks to Odion Igahlo and Adlene Guedioura, both with assists from Troy Deeney. Guedioura's strike was a stunner, flying into the top corner at astonishing speed.
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In the face of a two-goal deficit, Wenger made changes to his team, bringing on Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi, and it was Welbeck who made the impact, scoring in the 88th minute.
It was also Welbeck, however, who wasted a huge chance to equalise in the dying minutes of the game, costing Arsenal a potential seventh FA Cup victory under Wenger and inviting further scrutiny as to their manager's position.
Wenger out? Having seemingly thrown away their best chance of securing a league victory in years, Arsenal have now squandered what was arguably their only remaining realistic chance of silverware this season. Staring down the barrel of another Champions League defeat on Wednesday, what next for Wenger in what will now be an increasingly hostile environment? There is a good argument to suggest this should be the end.
Man of the Match
Troy Deeney (Watford): It was a slower start than he might have liked, with Ighalo squandering a few opportunities, but it was Deeney who ultimately assisted both of Watford’s goals. The second was particularly impressive, holding on to a hard-fought ball to line up Guedioura’s 63rd-minute smash.
Arsenal: Ospina 6, Chambers 6, Mertesacker 7, Gabriel 6, Gibbs 6, Elneny 7, Coquelin 6, Campbell 7, Ozil 7, Alexis 7, Giroud 7. Subs: Iwobi 6, Walcott 6, Welbeck 7.
Watford: Pantilimon 7, Nyom 7, Prodl 7, Cathcart 7, Ake 8, Watson 6, Behrami 6, Capoue 6, Deeney 8, Guedioura 7, Ighalo 7. Subs: Anya 6, Abdi 6, Ambarat 6.
Adlene Guedioura celebrates scoring the second goal for Watford with team mates
Image credit: Reuters
9' - GOAL DISALLOWED: Alexis Sanchez plays the ball forward to Olivier Giroud, who nets it with ease, but the flag is up - it's offside.
50' - GOAL! Odion Ighalo scores the first goal of the match from a throw in by Ake, flicked on by Deeney.
63' - GOAL! Guedioura smashes the ball into the top right-hand corner off the back of Deeney's superb lay-off.
88' - GOAL! Backheel from Ozil to Welbeck on the near side of the goal, is it enough to save them?
89' - HOW HAVE THEY NOT SCORED? There were three successive opportunities for Arsenal in about 30 seconds there, but Welbeck can't put it away. Unbelievable.
Arsene Wenger is the only post-war manager to have led a team to six FA Cup victories.
The Hornets have won their last two FA Cup quarter-final ties but were beaten semi-finalists both times (2003 and 2007).
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