LONDON: Arsenal’s season continued to unravel with fans unleashing their anger at manager Arsene Wenger after the Gunners’ pursuit of a third successive FA Cup win was wrecked by a 2:1 home defeat to Watford.
This was Watford’s first victory away to Arsenal since 1988 and Arsenal threatened a rescue only in the closing minutes after Mesut Ozil’s backheel sent in Danny Welbeck.
Arsenal commanded possession but Watford had struck twice on the break in the first quarter of an hour of the second half through Odion Igalo, after careless defending, and Adlene Guedioura.
The pressure on Arsenal was evident from the nerves of their players. Gabriel was fortunate not to be sent off in the first half for a two-footed tackle on Troy Deeney and Ozil was booked in the second for a needless shove in the back of Valon Behrami.
A place in the top four – a “Wenger trophy” as his critics call it – is all that is left for Arsenal, given that they are eight points behind Leicester in the league.
A deeply disappointed Wenger said: “I don’t think we had a bad performance. But Watford took the chances they created and we didn’t.
“We come out of this long FA Cup run very sad because it’s a game we should have not lost. On the first goal we made a defensive mistake and the second goal was a fantastic shot.
“We will fight until the end of the season. The drama is being treated like a farce. Arsenal have lost games in the past and will lose in future and we have to stick together and cope with it and pick up our belief.”