Arsenal’s FA Cup exit at the hands of Nottingham Forest could easily be seen as the biggest upset of the round, for more than one reason.
Mikel Arteta’s rotated Arsenal squad never got going in the game against Forest and were subsequently second best by some margin.
Forest showed more fight, more desire and more quality despite the hosts being the division below. And consequently Lewis Grabban’s late strike was enough to see the two-time European Champions through to the next round where a local tie against cup holders Leicester City awaits.
However, this defeat has highlighted Arsenal’s rich recent history in the competition, with the statistician’s at OptaJoe revealing that Arsenal have only been knocked out in the third round of the FA Cup just once before in the last 26 years.
With the only other time in this stretch also coming courtesy of Nottingham Forest in the 2017-18 season, Arsene Wenger’s final FA Cup game.
2 – Arsenal have been eliminated in the third round of the FA Cup for only the second time across the last 26 seasons, with the other instance also coming away to Nottingham Forest (2017-18). Merry. #EmiratesFACup
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 9, 2022
This stat really does highlight how big of an upset this is.
Arsenal almost never get knocked out at such an early stage of the competition, usually finding themselves somewhere in the business end of the tournament.
The Gunners would not be the record holders of the cup if they were not great at seeing themselves through the rounds.
They have won the FA Cup 14 times in their history and would have loved to make it 15 this season seeing as they are not competing in any European competition, so would have had the opportunity to play a fresher team.
Instead, they are now tasked with Carabao Cup or bust if they are to get their hands on some silverware this season, but to do this they will need to overcome Liverpool in the two legged affair of the Carabao Cup semi-final, before beating one of their London rivals in Chelsea or Tottenham Hotspur in the final.