A late Arsenal fightback wasn’t enough to beat Watford at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Goals from Odion Ighalo and Adlene Guedioura gave the visitors a two-goal lead in the second half, and they held on despite Danny Welbeck’s best efforts.
The Gunners lined up strongly for the FA Cup quarter-final, hoping to continue a tremendous run in the competition which had seen the side win 15 consecutive ties.
A largely uneventful first half saw Olivier Giroud have a goal disallowed for offside before Gabriel should have been sent off for a late two-footed challenge on Troy Deeney. Andre Marriner inexplicably let him off for that and a lunge on Guedioura just minutes later.
Heading in level at the break, the game was finely poised for an exciting second half.
It was just that, but for all the wrong reasons. Odion Ighalo netted the opener just minutes into the second half, spinning Gabriel in the box after a long throw had been flicked on by Deeney. The second goal was absolutely thrashed past David Ospina from just outside the box and Arsenal needed a miracle.
Mesut Özil is good, but not quite miracle-producing. The German found substitute Danny Welbeck superbly to tee up Arsenal’s goal. Arsenal’s chief creator was superb all afternoon, but was constantly let down by his teammates.
Welbeck had an enormous chance to equalise with moments to play, but put his effort wide after Kieran Gibbs had hit the post. And that was that. Arsenal will not be winning the FA Cup for a third consecutive season, and the Hornets are on their way to Wembley.