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FA Cup Upset: Holders Arsenal Dumped Out By Lowly Notthingham Forest In Six-Goal Thriller

. Nottingham Forest players celebrate after scoring against Arsenal

Holders Arsenal were eliminated in the FA Cup third round for the first time in Arsene Wenger’s reign as they fell to a humiliating 4-2 defeat to Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

Right-back Eric Lichaj’s first-half brace, either side of Per Mertesacker’s scrambled opener, set Forest on course for the upset before Ben Brereton doubled the hosts’ advantage from the penalty spot.

Danny Welbeck gave the visitors hope just before full-time, but Kieron Dowell converted Forest’s second penalty with five minutes left. The pacey striker left Arsenal’s backline stranded time and time again throughout the first half, but it was to be a more surprising figure who ensured Forest entered their dressing room 2-1 up at half-time.

Twenty minutes of dominance from the Championship side were capped off in style when Lichaj, playing onside by the Arsenal wall, beat David Ospina to flick home Kieron Dowell’s fizzing free-kick from the right channel.

Wenger, serving the first of a three-match touchline ban, was forced to watch from the stands as Forest tore through his four-man Arsenal defence from the off. Mertesacker’s last appearance in the FA Cup had seen him snuff out Diego Costa as Arsenal won the Final in May; this time he was being left hopeless by 18-year-old Brereton.
Indeed on the hour Forest nearly doubled their advantage, substitute Tyler Walker crossing for Brereton, whose shot deflected off Rob Holding.The youngster was to make no mistake moments later when Holding brought down Matthew Cash in the area. For the third time in three games Arsenal conceded from the spot as Brereton sent Ospina the wrong way. This time Wenger can have no complaints.
Arsenal were handed a lifeline 12 minutes from time when Jordan Smith fumbled the ball into the path of Welbeck, who rolled the ball into an open net. Kieron Dowell converted from the spot though referee Jon Moss and his linesman felt compelled to debate whether the England youth international had kicked the ball twice as he slipped.There was still time for Forest centre-back Joe Worrall to see red for a foul on substitute Chuba Akpom and Smith to flick an Eddie Nketiah chip to safety as a thrilling FA Cup tie ended with the holders dumped out at the first opportunity.

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