Second-half goals courtesy of Odion Ighalo and a spectacular effort from Adlène Guedioura helped seal Watford’s progression into this year’s FA Cup semi-finals, at the expense of the reigning champions at the Emirates.
Hornets sting violently at the Emirates
Watford have knocked out FA Cup holders Arsenal in effective fashion, following a second-half counter-attack charge led by the fearsome duo of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo. The latter broke the deadlock after swiveling his way past Gabriel in the box, before cooly slotting low and hard into the bottom corner with second-choice goalkeeper David Ospina helpless to stop his effort.
Ighalo and Guedioura on the scoresheet for visitors
Adlène Guedioura stole the show with a truly excellent strike from range, thumping the ball past Ospina into the roof of the net to double the lead with the clock ticking down gradually. The Hornets had stung a surprise, and it was definitely an unwelcome one for their hosts – considering Arsenal were yet to score, in spite of their domination. Having seen far more possession, creating more opportunities and passing the ball into the final third with dangerous chances aplenty, Arséne Wenger‘s men had nothing to show for their control.
Gunners, despite their domination, had nothing to show for it
Instead, they found themselves two-nil down and a mountain to climb as BT Sport cameras focussed their eyes on some despondent Gunners supporters walking out of the stadium after the Algerian’s thunderbolt flew into the net.
Danny Welbeck came off the substitutes’ bench and restored some sense of hope for the hosts – slotting home after a neatly-worked move, capped off by a silky backheel pass from Mesut Özil. Mesut worked tirelessly throughout and amongst a few others such as fullback Kieran Gibbs, was definitely unfortunate to be on the losing side in another forgettable weekend for Gunners supporters.
The pressure continues to mount over Arséne Wenger’s future at the club and with performances like this, it seems inevitable that the side will not win the Premier League this term either. A frustrating inability to close out games, especially when you’re dominating them, has definitely been Arsenal’s downfall in recent years. They don’t have much time to lick their wounds either, with an away trip to La Liga giants Barcelona in midweek on the horizon as they look to overturn a 2-0 deficit to remain in this season’s Champions League.