Premier League newcomers Watford have knocked out the FA Cup holders Arsenal by beating them 2-1 at Emirates through goals from Odion Ighalo and Adlene Guedioura.
Arsene Wenger tried his best by picking his strongest possible side with Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Francis Coquelin all starting the game. Despite these players taking to the field, Arsenal were surprisingly poor in terms of their passing and movements.
It seemed as if they had one eye on the Champions League game and were not playing at the full throttle. They looked lethargic and lacked motivation to do well in the game.
As for Watford, they came with a game-plan of frustrating Arsenal and they went about it in right manner. Manager Quique Flores decided to play on the counter attack and it would have worked wonders had Ighalo got his radar right in the first half.
Watford striker had several chances to set up Troy Deeney, but his passes ended up being short or misplaced. Arsenal for all their possession ended first half with creating virtually nothing and looking short on confidence, more than anything else.
Watford fans were hoping for more of the same from their players and that is exactly what they got. On 50th minute mark, Deeney rose above Per Mertesacker to find his striker partner Odion Ighalo, who turned pass Gabriel to score a well-finished goal to give the visitors a well-deserved lead.
The goal sent a crushing feeling around the The Emirates. People inside the stadium knew their hopes were hanging on this game to end the season on a positive note. Soon it was to get worse for the Gunners, after a thunderous strike from Adlene Guedioura doubled Watford’s advantage.
Wenger reacted in desperation by sending three players (Iwobi, Welbeck & Walcott) at once. The move would have worked wonders had Danny Welbeck scored with an easy chance falling to him, instead he shot high and wide over the goal, take a look:
How did welbeck miss that!! https://t.co/hRVbRyRWa9
— Transfer Sources (@TransferSources) March 13, 2016
Welbeck however, redeemed himself by scoring a late goal for Arsenal. After getting one goal back, Emirates was buzzing and crying for an equalizer. Alexis, Walcott, Welbeck and Ozil gave their all but could not alter the scoreline and saw their team go out from the only competition they had a chance of winning this season.
Arsenal face Barcelona in their next game as they look to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit next week. As for their Premier League ambitions, they are 8 points behind the leaders Leicester and with only 9 games left to play, chances are very less for The Gunners to end their 12-year league title wait.
As for Watford, their fairy-tale season continues after they progress to FA Cup semifinal at Wembely. This will be Watford’s 6th FA Cup semi final appearance, first in 9 years. Their game-plan worked to perfection tonight and saw them beat Arsenal for the first time in 28 years.
Image Credit: Getty