Arsenal 1-2 Watford: Gunners title hopes in ruins

Leave a comment
  • Watford secure first-ever PL win vs. Arsenal
  • Gunners failed to have a shot on target in first half
  • Arsenal travel to Chelsea on Sat. with title hopes on the line

Arsene Wenger will not have enjoyed watching that from under his blanket in the stands.

Arsenal lost 2-1 to Watford at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday as the Gunners were dealt a potentially fatal blow in their quest to chase down Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table.

Watford raced in to a 2-0 lead with goals from Younes Kaboul and Troy Deeney putting them 2-0 up early and although Alex Iwobi made it 2-1, the Gunners couldn’t find a way past the excellent Heurelho Gomes plus Lucas Perez hit the bar.

With the win, their first in eight games, Watford ease their relegation fears and move on to 27 points. Arsenal — who were without Wenger on the sidelines for the second-straight game as his four-match touchline ban continues — remain on 47 points and now face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge knowing only a win will do.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Watford started brightly and were rewarded handsomely in soggy north London.

The Hornets took the lead through Kaboul’s thunderous free kick which took a deflection off Aaron Rasmey and in. 1-0 to Watford and the home fans were stunned.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings

13 minutes in it was 2-0 to Watford as Etienne Capoue surged forward and his shot was blocked by Petr Cech but it fell straight to Deeney to slot home. 2-0. Watford in dreamland.

Things went from bad to worse for Arsenal as Ramsey went off injured clutching his calf and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came on, but the Gunners just couldn’t get going in attack and failed to have a single shot on target in the first half.

Before half time Arsenal almost fell further behind as Capoue’s cross was headed towards goal by Sebastian Prodl but Cech saved and then Miguel Britos drilled a shot on goal which Cech stopped brilliantly.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Theo Walcott came on at half time

Walcott fired one effort wide and was then denied again, then Iwobi was thwarted by Gomes as Watford battened down the hatches.

Iwobi made it 2-1 with over 30 minutes to go as first Alexis Sanchez went down in the box under a tackle from Prodl but played was waved on and eventually the Chilean international clipped in a perfect cross which Iwobi mishit but tucked home.

Game on.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

Arsenal continued to surge forward as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain forced Gomes into a fine stop down low. Sanchez then had a free kick which deflected just over and Nacho Monreal‘s volley went inches wide.

Chances kept coming for Arsenal and Lucas Perez drilled a fine effort against the crossbar and out but that was as close as Arsenal came to drawing level as Watford secured a famous win.

FA Cup: Arsenal never bothered by Sutton, go through to QF

SUTTON, GREATER LONDON - FEBRUARY 20:  Jamie Collins of Sutton United heads the ball at goal during the Emirates FA Cup fifth round match between Sutton United and Arsenal on February 20, 2017 in Sutton, Greater London.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Leave a comment

It could have been one of the darkest days in the history of any professional football club — Premier League giants Arsenal, away to fifth-division Sutton United, a non-Football League side currently 105 places below them in the English football pyramid.

[ MORE: FA Cup QF draw — Chelsea vs. Man United; Arsenal vs. Lincoln City ]

Instead, Monday’s 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round victory over The U’s, played at Sutton’s 5,000-seat Gander Green Lane, proved as uneventful and routine for the Gunners as they could have hoped. Having been torn to shreds by Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League just five days ago, defeat at the hands of a fifth-division team was the only thing that could have further destroyed morale at the club.

Lucas Perez put Arsenal ahead in the 27th minute, when his curling, bouncing cross-shot toward that back post made its way through a sea of legs — including those of teammate Theo Walcott — and nestled itself inside the far post of Ross Worner (WATCH HERE).

[ MORE: Fifth-division Lincoln City shock PL side Burnley in FA Cup ]

It was then Walcott who doubled Arsenal’s advantage, in the 55th minute, by scoring his 100th goal for the club. Nacho Monreal‘s cross ran through a sea of bodies before finding Walcott unmarked wide of the far post, and his first-time finish was well hit.

Up next for Arsenal, it’s yet another fifth-division side, Lincoln City, who’ll come calling as the Gunners seek their third FA Cup trophy in four seasons.

[ MORE: FA Cup roundup — Premier League sides underwhelm in 5th round ]

Elsewhere in the FA Cup

Burnley 0-1 Lincoln City — RECAP | REACTION
Huddersfield Town 0-0 Manchester City
Middlesbrough 3-2 Oxford United
Millwall 1-0 Leicester City
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Chelsea RECAP
Fulham 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur RECAP
Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Manchester United RECAP | REACTION

AT THE HALF: Arsenal in control, 1-0 up on Sutton in FA Cup 5th round

SUTTON, GREATER LONDON - FEBRUARY 20:  Lucas of Arsenal celebrates with team-mates after scporing the opening goal during the Emirates FA Cup fifth round match between Sutton United and Arsenal on February 20, 2017 in Sutton, Greater London.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
Leave a comment

For 26 minutes, Sutton United were absolute equals to Arsenal in the only place that counted: the scoreboard.

[ MORE: FA Cup QF draw — Chelsea vs. Man United; Arsenal vs. Lincoln City? ]

In the 27th minute, Arsenal converted the prolonged periods of possession (71 percent as of halftime) into the opening goal of the two sides’ FA Cup fifth-round tie. Lucas Perez provided the breakthrough with his eighth goal of the season (all competitions) — perhaps unintentionally, as he seemed to be looking for Theo Walcott with his curling ball toward the back post (below video).

[ MORE: Fifth-division Lincoln City shock PL side Burnley in FA Cup ]

Should the Gunners hold on through 45 more minutes and advance, they’ll face yet another fifth-division side, Lincoln City, at home in the quarterfinals.

Elsewhere in the FA Cup

Burnley 0-1 Lincoln City — RECAP | REACTION
Huddersfield Town 0-0 Manchester City
Middlesbrough 3-2 Oxford United
Millwall 1-0 Leicester City
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Chelsea RECAP
Fulham 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur RECAP
Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Manchester United RECAP | REACTION

LIVE — Sutton United hopes to upend Arsenal in FA Cup

SUTTON, GREATER LONDON - FEBRUARY 20:  A pennant hangs in the Sutton United changing room prior to The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Sutton United and Arsenal at The Borough Sports Ground on February 20, 2017 in Sutton, Greater London.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Arsenal hopes to snap out of its form funk with a visit to tiny Sutton United in the FA Cup’s fifth round.

Sutton will be hoping to build on the non-league momentum provided by Lincoln City, who marched into Burnley and won 1-0 on Saturday. Speaking of the Imps, they await the winner of Monday’s match.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Sutton United vs. Arsenal ]

Arsenal, in addition to stopping the rot, wants a win to join Spurs, Manchester United, Chelsea, Middlesbrough, Leicester City, and Lincoln in the fifth round.

Manchester City and Huddersfield Town drew 0-0 on Saturday and face a replay for the right to join the quarterfinal fray.

FA Cup fifth round results

Burnley 0-1 Lincoln City — RECAP | REACTION
Huddersfield 0-0 Manchester City
Millwall 1-0 Leicester City
Middlesbrough 3-0 Oxford United
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Chelsea
Fulham 0-3 Tottenham HotspurRECAP
Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Manchester UnitedREACTION

Appeals rejected, Neymar will stand trial

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 02:  Neymar of FC Barcelona leaves the National Court on February 2, 2016 in Madrid, Spain. Neymar was giving evidence over allegations of corruption and fraud surrounding his transfer to FC Barcelona.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Neymar, his family, Barcelona, and Santos are headed to court.

Not a great Monday for the Brazilian superstar and his clubs. They stand accused of hiding a portion of the transfer fee that helped Neymar head from Santos to the La Liga powerhouse Blaugranas.

[ MORE: Atlanta United from start to now ]

No appeals remain for Neymar, his mother, and their family brand N&N.

From Sky Sports:

The case stems from a complaint by Brazilian investment group DIS, which owned part of Neymar’s transfer rights and alleges that it received less money than it was entitled to when Neymar made the switch.

Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi was found guilty of tax fraud this summer, and is unlikely to serve his 21-month sentence.