Arsenal's Per Mertesacker and Mohamed Elneny stand dejected during their FA Cup loss to Nottingham Forest.
Arsenal's Per Mertesacker and Mohamed Elneny stand dejected during their FA Cup loss to Nottingham Forest. Mike Egerton

Champs dumped out in FA Cup upset

FOOTBALL: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has taken aim at his players after the FA Cup holders were sensationally knocked out of the competition by Nottingham Forest, joining Leeds United as big-name casualties.

Championship side Forest downed 13-time FA Cup winners Arsenal 4-2, handing the Gunners a third-round defeat for the first time since Wenger took over as manager in 1996.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gestures from the stands during the clash against Nottingham Forest.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gestures from the stands during the clash against Nottingham Forest. Mike Egerton

Wenger, who made nine changes to the side that drew with Chelsea in the Premier League in midweek, offered no excuses, simply declaring his players not up to the challenge.

"I just think we were not good enough anywhere - not up front, in the middle or at the back - and we paid for it. We repeated the same mistakes; once, twice, three times,” he said.

"They (Forest) looked sharper. They had more chances and an outstanding performance. They were sharp, winning decisive challenges, and dangerous going forward, and overall they deserved to win, as simple as that.”

Eric Lichaj scores the opening goal for Nottingham Forest against Arsenal.
Eric Lichaj scores the opening goal for Nottingham Forest against Arsenal. Mike Egerton

US international Eric Lichaj gave Forest the lead in the 20th minute before firing in a volley to make it 2-1 after Per Mertesacker's equaliser.

Ben Brereton's penalty after the break gave the home side a 3-1 lead and Kieran Dowall's spot-kick restored the home side's two-goal advantage after Danny Welbeck had scored Arsenal's second goal.

Ben Brereton scores Nottingham Forest's fourth goal against Arsenal.
Ben Brereton scores Nottingham Forest's fourth goal against Arsenal. Mike Egerton

The upsets began in the earlier match with Premier League outfit Leeds dumped out 2-1 by Welsh club Newport County.

Gaetano Berardi's strike had secured Leeds the early advantage but Newport, currently 11th in League Two - the fourth tier of the English game - levelled 14 minutes from time thanks to an own goal by Conor Shaughnessy.

On-loan substitute Shawn McCoulsky then capped the upset, heading home the winner in the 89th minute.

Leeds United's Mateusz Klich, left, is tackled by Newport County's Joss Labadie.
Leeds United's Mateusz Klich, left, is tackled by Newport County's Joss Labadie. David Davies

"This is much better beating Championship teams like Leeds,” Newport manager Michael Flynn said.

"I don't want to be winning relegation battles, I want to be winning FA Cup ties and climbing the table.”

Elsewhere, West Ham stayed alive with a goalless draw at Shrewsbury and Tottenham scored three goals in the second half to see off the challenge of League One side AFC Wimbledon.

On Saturday, League Two Coventry City sent Premier League side Stoke City crashing out, prompting the sacking of manager Mark Hughes.


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