Arsenal have had recent success in the FA Cup, but Sunday’s third round defeat to Nottingham Forest was an unwelcome return to Arsene Wenger’s embarrassing 2006-2013 period.
Arsenal were looking to win the trophy for the fourth time in five years, but suffered a shock defeat to Nottingham Forest in the third round. The result saw plenty of records smashed.
The Gunners exited from the third round for the first time in over 20 years, and lost to lower league opposition in the competition for the first time since 2013.
A glimpse at Arsenal’s history in the competition suggests this isn’t the first time success has been followed by a disappointing loss, having endured embarrassing exits during a seven-year period under Wenger.
Arsenal won the cup three times between 2002 and 2005. After that, they were knocked out the competition by Bolton (2006), Blackburn (2007), Stoke (2010), Sunderland (2012) and then Blackburn again (2013).
The Gunners’ latest shock exit was a bitter pill for Wenger to swallow. He admitted: “It hurts very much,” after the game.
“We’ve won the FA Cup three times in the last four years. On the other end, we don’t win the FA Cup every year. It’s a difficult competition to win. Of course it hurts very much to go out in the third round.”
In the end, a team needs a decent amount of fortune to win a knockout competition. The defeat to Forest exposes deeper issues within the team, but it could be that Arsenal’s luck was simply up.
Next time, though, it’d be nice if they didn’t fall apart against teams they should be beating.