Arsenal’s pursuit of a record-extending 15th FA Cup triumph fell at the first hurdle, losing 1-0 to Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
Arsenal came into the game having been on a decent run of form of late, winning five of their last six games in all competitions, with their only defeat in that time coming at the hands of Manchester City.
While Mikel Arteta made a number of changes, he still sent out a relatively strong side, with Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Ben White all being handed starts.
The Gunners would enjoy the majority of possession throughout the game, though were far too passive for much of the contest, and when they did manage to fashion an opportunity, they failed to hit the target whatsoever.
The Championship side defended well and created a number of chances of their own, and they would eventually go ahead with seven minutes to play. A slack pass in midfield from Arsenal was seized upon by Steve Cooper’s side, with Ryan Yates’ cross from the right in behind the Gunners defence being pounced upon by Lewis Grabban who slid in to finish and send the City Ground wild.
The East Midlands outfit held on for the victory that booked them a fourth round tie with local rivals Leicester, and speaking afterwards, Gunners boss Arteta apologised for his side’s performance.
“They won, they scored a goal and we didn’t. We were not good enough and we have to apologise for it,” he told ITV.
“I don’t want to use excuses, I expect the team I put out to do better and when you don’t in the cup you are out.
“Today showed we were not capable of winning against Forest away from home and didn’t put in the level to win the game. It’s a collective issue and today we have not done it.”