Nottingham Forest 4 – 2 Arsenal: Wenger reticent after cup shock

Kieran Dowall slips at the last moment, but still finds the net with his penalty to seal Forest's victory. Picture: AFP/Getty.
Kieran Dowall slips at the last moment, but still finds the net with his penalty to seal Forest's victory. Picture: AFP/Getty.
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Arsene Wenger refused to discuss the decisions to award two penalties to Nottingham Forest after holders Arsenal were dumped out of the FA Cup by the Championship side.

The Frenchman, below, started his three-match touchline ban at the City Ground and watched on from the stands as Forest were awarded two spot-kicks on their way to a shock 4-2 win.

But, after losing an FA Cup third-round tie for the first time, Wenger bit his tongue. He said: “I don’t want to talk about that. I’m tired about that.”

Wenger made nine changes from the team that started the midweek Premier League draw with Chelsea and, while he cited tiredness, admitted the decision backfired.

“That’s the inevitable question that comes in a cup game,” he added. “We had many players on the edge and play on Wednesday again.

“We didn’t get away with it today.”

From his seat in the stand, Wenger watched Ben Brereton cause his defence all sorts of problems throughout with his pace and movement. The 18-year-old twice raced clear down the left early on, forcing a save from David Ospina, then creating a chance from which Matty Cash was denied by the Colombian’s fingertip stop.

However, Ospina could do little to prevent the opening goal, as Kieran Dowell whipped in a free-kick from the right byeline and Eric Lichaj headed home from a yard out in front of the goalkeeper.

Per Mertesacker poked home an equaliser, reacting quickest after his header from Theo Walcott’s free-kick had struck a post.

Brereton brought two more good saves from Ospina before Lichaj struck again, sending a volley into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area.

Forest were rarely troubled thereafter and Brereton scored after 64 minutes, converting a penalty after Rob Holding had brought down Cash.

Forest keeper Jordan Smith made a fine save to deny Eddie Nketiah, but 11 minutes from time he spilled the ball and allowed Danny Welbeck to tap into an empty net.

Forest were awarded another spot-kick when Mathieu Debuchy tackled Armand Traore from behind. This time Dowell took it and was fortunate to see his effort go below the crossbar after slipping at the point of contact. Arsenal players claimed Dowell had played the ball twice, kicking it against his standing foot. Referee Jon Moss consulted his assistant but allowed the goal.

Forest ended with ten men after Joe Worrall was dismissed in the final minute for a challenge on Chuba Akpom.