Arsenal Suffer a Shock FA Cup Exit, While Liverpool and Spurs Survive
Nottingham Forest eliminated 14-time FA Cup champions Arsenal on Sunday after Tottenham and Liverpool also escaped scares in the third round against lower-league opposition.
West Ham beat Leeds United 2-0 in the day’s sole Premier League encounter, while Wolves defeated Sheffield United 3-0.
Forest and Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal were knotted at halftime in the late kick-off, with neither side able to find a way through.
However, Lewis Grabban gave the hosts the lead in the 83rd minute, finishing Ryan Yates’ close-range cross, and they held on to win 1-0, setting up a rematch with champions Leicester.
Arsenal has now been eliminated in the third round of the FA Cup only twice in the last 26 seasons, with the other occasion coming away at Nottingham Forest in 2018.
Earlier in the day, a much-changed Spurs trailed League One opponents Morecambe at half-time, but Harry Winks equalized, and replacements Lucas Moura, and Harry Kane scored late goals to record a 3-1 victory.
Stephen Robinson, Morecambe’s manager, was missing from the game against the club where he started his playing career after a coronavirus test.
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Spurs — who are 59 places higher on the English football league table than their third-tier opponents — went down in the 33rd minute when Morecambe captain Anthony O’Connor scored a close-range penalty after a corner.
The home side failed to establish themselves, and Antonio Conte brought Moura and Kane off the bench with just over 20 minutes remaining – their appearance altered the direction of the game, with three goals coming in the closing 16 minutes.
Spurs need a slice of fortune to equalize — Winks’ free-kick was overhit, but it flew over flailing Morecambe goalkeeper Trevor Carson and into the far corner.
Moura gave Spurs the lead in the 85th minute when he was around the goalie after a midfield surge, and Kane ensured Spurs progressed.
“For sure we struggled a lot in the first part of the game and conceded a goal from the set-piece,” said Conte.
“We deserve to win because in these types of games you have to show your strength,” he told the BBC.
“They defended with 11 players and that’s normal in these games but it is important to find the right solution.”
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp returned to the dugout at Anfield after his seclusion time following a positive Covid-19 test and watched as his team fell behind before rallying to win 4-1.
Liverpool chose five youth team players in their starting to face League One side Shrewsbury, with additional academy players on the bench, after a Covid-affected build-up to the match.
The Merseyside club is missing Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita, who are all at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Daniel Udoh blasted in from close range after a Nathaniel Ogbeta cross to give Shrewsbury their first serious assault.
However, the home side equalized seven minutes later when Kaide Gordon, at 17 years and 96 days, became the club’s second-youngest striker.
Fabinho handed Klopp’s side the lead from the penalty spot soon before half-time, while replacement Roberto Firmino and Fabinho added more goals.