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Attendance: 27,182
Nottingham Forest logo
FA Cup | Third Round
Jan 7, 2018 at 4pm UK
Arsenal logo


Lichaj (20', 44'), Brereton (64' pen.), Dowell (85' pen.)
Worrall (89')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Mertesacker (23'), Welbeck (79')

Live Commentary: Nottingham Forest 4-2 Arsenal - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live coverage as Nottingham Forest dump holders Arsenal out of the FA Cup with a 4-2 win at the City Ground.

Nottingham Forest have recorded a 4-2 victory over holders Arsenal in Sunday's FA Cup third-round tie at the City Ground.

Eric Lichaj's first-half double put Forest on their way before penalties from Ben Brereton and Kieran Dowell - the second in controversial circumstances - helped the Championship outfit over the line.

Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck got on the scoresheet for Arsenal, but Arsene Wenger watched from the stands as the club went out of this competition at the last-64 stage for the first time in over two decades.

Find out how all of the action unfolded in the East Midlands courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates below.

Hello and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the FA Cup third round tie between Nottingham Forest and Arsenal. The East Midlands outfit may be out of form in the Championship and Arsene Wenger may rest a number of his star men for the visit to the City Ground, but this remains a clash between two of English football's most famous clubs. Let's see who features in each starting lineup...

NOTTINGHAM FOREST XI: Smith, Lichaj, Mancienne, Traore, Osborn, Cash, Clough, Brereton, Dowell, Vaughan, Worrall

NOTTINGHAM FOREST SUBSTITUTES: Henderson, Mills, McKay, Bouchalakis, Walker, Cummings, Vellios

ARSENAL XI: Ospina; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Holding; Nelson, Willock, Elneny, Maitland-Niles; Walcott, Iwobi; Welbeck

ARSENAL SUBSTITUTES: Macey, Chambers, Osei-Tutu, Dasilva, Reine-Adelaide, Akpom, Nketiah

We will start off by taking a look at Arsenal with Arsene Wenger making plenty of changes to his starting lineup, even with the first leg of the EFL Cup tie with Chelsea just around the corner. The most notable inclusions are Theo Walcott, who continues to be linked with a transfer away from the Emirates Stadium, and Danny Welbeck, who has needed to be patient regarding his lack of involvement in recent weeks.

With Sead Kolasinac out injured, Ainsley Maitland-Niles takes his place at left wing-back, with Reiss Nelson being used on the opposite flank. Fellow youngster Joe Willock partners Mohamed Elneny in the centre of the park.

There are alterations in defence, too, with Mathieu Debuchy featuring on the right-hand side of the back three and Rob Holding playing to the left of Per Mertesacker. It comes as no surprise that the likes of Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny miss out this afternoon.

David Ospina has been selected ahead of Matt Macey between the sticks. Macey has been getting opportunities this season but he has to make do with a place on the bench today. Opsina will likely play against Chelsea in midweek as well, with Petr Cech being given an extended rest.

Wenger has selected a very inexperienced bench, but the majority of the youngsters have played some part in either the EFL Cup or Europa League this season. Calum Chambers is the only established first-teamer to be selected as a replacement.

As far as Nottingham Forest is concerned, the main news is the return of Zach Clough, who missed the entire Christmas period through injury. It's a big boost for Forest because he's the kind of player that they may need to unlock this Arsenal defence.

David Vaughan has also been brought into the team by Gary Brazil, with Barrie McKay and Liam Bridcutt the duo to drop out.The 34-year-old Vaughan had been one of the players to be dropped after the 1-0 home defeat to Sunderland on December 30.

Kieran Dowell will also be hoping to make an impression this afternoon. The Everton loanee has been excellent in the Championship this season, with eight goals and four assists being contributed, but the young Englishman knows that he will need to make an impact against better opposition to win a place in Sam Allardyce's squad at Goodison Park.

As far as the defence is concerned, Michael Mancienne is likely to be Forest's key man. The 29-year-old has played the majority of his career outside of England's top flight, but the former Chelsea youngster is capable of producing a match-winning performance on his day.

RESULT! There has already been one cup upset this afternoon and it came in South Wales as Newport County got the better of Leeds United. Some of the League Two clubs have enjoyed their weekends in this competition! Click here to take a look at our on-the-whistle match report.

LATEST! An upset could potentially take place in Shropshire, too. League One side Shrewsbury Town are currently holding West Ham United with just a quarter of the game remaining. Click here to follow the closing stages.

Before we go any further, we should probably highlight what is an extremely important fact - Wenger has never lost a match in the third round of the FA Cup. Since his arrival, he has won this trophy on seven occasions, including three of the last four attempts.

However, after having plenty to say about referees of late, Wenger begins his three-match touchline ban this afternoon. You wouldn't think that it would hinder Arsenal that much, but I'm sure the Frenchman would prefer to be in the dugout. Still, I suppose it gives him a different perspective when it comes to analysing some of his youngsters.

Wenger is always coming in for criticism - some of it justified, some of it not - but he will be eager to get his team back on track in defence today. No clean sheets have been kept in four matches, with eight goals being shipped during that time.

Walcott has been a hot topic of conversation in recent weeks with the likes of Southampton and AC Milan both being linked with his signature. However, Wenger has reiterated that he would like to the keep the attacker in his squad until at least the end of the season. Wenger allegedly plans to keep his price-tag at £30m, something which Walcott may be motivated to justify in the East Midlands.

We have also made reference to Danny Welbeck's lack of minutes in the Premier League. The forward has featured for just 112 minutes in the top flight since the start of December. He has starts in the EFL Cup and Europa League to his name, but he needs to make more of an impact to try to get into the first team in the Premier League. He's scored just once since September 9.

Forest may have been having an indifferent time this season, but they have managed to keep eight clean sheets in their last dozen home ties in this competition. They have faced some lower-end opposition but still, that's a remarkable return.

Gary Brazil has never been employed on a permanent basis but this is still his 81st match in charge across five periods at Notts County and Forest, which is outrageous! As far as Forest is concerned, he has won six and drew three of his 21 games.

The first match of his third spell came at Elland Road on New Year's Day and Forest were able to come away from Yorkshire with a goalless draw. It's a result which they would have been delighted with, given that no clean sheet had been kept in seven fixtures.

PREDICTION! Regardless of the team selected by Wenger, we have to predict an Arsenal win this afternoon. Forest will no doubt be encouraged by their own supporters, but we think Arsenal will put in a professional performance and win 2-0.

HEAD TO HEAD! Today's contest represents the 99th time in which these two teams have met in a competitive fixture, with Arsenal registering 50 wins in comparison to 26 victories for Forest.

However, all but one of those matches have come before 2000, but Forest only hold one win in this fixture in their last 14 attempts. That came in December 1996 when Alfe-Inge Haaland scored a double in a 2-1 triumph in the Premier League.

The most recent encounter came in September 2016 when Arsenal travelled to the City Ground for a League Cup tie. Wenger rotated his players on that occasion but the Gunners still ran out 4-0 victors. Granit Xhaka was among the scorers.

A quick stat for you before the teams head out. Arsenal have twice eliminated Forest from the FA Cup. On both occasions, in 1979 and 1993, the North Londoners went on to lift the trophy...

The two sets of players are preparing to make their way out at the City Ground. The Forest supporters have been having a difficult time watching their team, but is this the day where everything clicks back into gear?

RESULT! The full-time whistle has gone at the New Meadow and Shrewsbury Town and West Ham United have played out a goalless draw. That's an excellent result for the League One side.

We are still waiting for the teams to head out onto the pitch. I don't know what the hold-up is but they are all there waiting to be led out by the officials.

Ah, here they come. Finally. A reminder of the two starting lineups...

NOTTINGHAM FOREST XI: Smith, Lichaj, Mancienne, Traore, Osborn, Cash, Clough, Brereton, Dowell, Vaughan, Worrall

ARSENAL XI: Ospina; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Holding; Nelson, Willock, Elneny, Maitland-Niles; Walcott, Iwobi; Welbeck

KICKOFF! Arsenal get us underway.

It's been a quiet start from both teams, with passes only being made in their respective defensive thirds.

Arsenal win the first corner of the match and Mertesacker needs no invitation to make his way into the penalty area. However, Walcott's delivery goes closest to Debuchy, who can't win the header with a Forest defender.

The visitors are having all of the possession but Forest and Brereton can count themselves unfortunate to be called offside when he appeared to be level with Mertesacker. He would have been through on goal.

CHANCE! Brereton gets in again, this time on the opposite side of the pitch, but his shot is weak and too close to Ospina. The 18-year-old is causing the Arsenal defence all kind of problems.

Up the other end, Walcott had half an opportunity but he dragged his shot into a crowded area rather than on goal. It's been an encouraging start from both teams.

Forest win a corner on the right flank and Dowell is the man to take it. However, it doesn't beat the first man and Arsenal comfortably deal with the danger.

CHANCE! This was a chance for Welbeck. Maybe Worrall put him off but the England international should have done better with a header from a Walcott cross.

Forest have been second best over the past few minutes, but that through-ball to Brereton always looks on. Mertesacker is not enjoying having to keep an eye on the teenager.

What Arsenal are doing well is pushing Forest back. It's probably inviting the longer ball to Brereton but sooner or later, mistakes will be made in the defence of the Championship outfit.

CHANCE! Almost a goal for Forest! After Clough cut inside from the left flank, the ball eventually found its way to Cash and is shot was heading into the far bottom corner of the net until Ospina got down to tip the ball wide of the post.

GOAL! Nottingham Forest 1-0 Arsenal (Eric Lichaj)

Forest take the lead! The home side have stepped it up a gear and they have got their reward. Dowell's free kick from the right flank was driven, rather than curled, into the box and Lichaj is the quickest to react to power a header into the roof of the net from a yard.

This is a big test for Arsenal now. They had trouble with fellow Championship side Norwich City earlier in the season and the same is happening with Forest. It's a test of character for some of the youngsters.

GOAL! Nottingham Forest 1-1 Arsenal (Per Mertesacker)

Just like that, Arsenal equalise. A free kick from the left is headed against the post by Holding but the ball falls to Mertesacker, who sorts out his feet brilliantly to volley into the bottom corner from six yards. Game on.

I've been pleasantly surprised by this game. I thought that Arsenal would do a job on Forest but that isn't the case at all. Both teams are producing some good football and looking a threat from set pieces.

It's Arsenal's turn to step up a gear. Forest haven't done a whole lot since that equaliser and the Gunners are looking to take advantage. Forest cannot afford to invite too much pressure.

Brazil is being extremely vocal on the touchline. He doesn't look too happy with how his players are sitting off Arsenal. That wasn't the case in the opening quarter of this game.

SHOT! We haven't seen much of Iwobi but he tries to get himself into the action with a speculative shot from distance. It was never threatening the far top corner.

CHANCE! Brereton is showing why so many Premier League clubs are taking notice of his ability. The teenager gets released again, wrong-foots the defender and forces an excellent save out of Ospina from just inside the penalty area.

Forest are now second best in most areas of the pitch but Brereton is giving his side hope of a second goal. Big 10 minutes coming up for the East Midlands outfit, though. They need to reach the break at least on level terms.

The tempo of the game is slowing down a touch. That probably suits Forest to a degree but it is allowing Arsenal to probe and look for an opening.

Walcott just managed to dance around three Forest defenders but he still couldn't find any space. That's how deep Forest are playing.

SHOT! Nelson finds himself cutting inside onto his right foot to get an effort away from 20 yards but it is dragged wide of the post.

CHANCE! Brereton, again! He beats the offside trap but almost has too much time to get a shot away and in the end, his attempt towards the far corner is predictable and comfortably saved.

Ospina has got a problem with his finger here. I don't think he has dislocated it but he may have stubbed it. He is going to be fine to continue.

GOAL! Nottingham Forest 2-1 Arsenal (Eric Lichaj)

Oh my word, Lichaj has scored his second and it's an absolute screamer. A header from Arsenal only reached the edge of the box and the right-back chested the ball down before directing a volley into the top corner. Ospina didn't move.

There will be two minutes of added-on time.

HALF TIME: Nottingham Forest 2-1 Arsenal

The half-time whistle goes at the City Ground and a double from Lichaj has given Forest a 2-1 lead. It's been a brilliant match and Forest deserve their advantage. Ladies and gentleman - the FA Cup is very much alive.

Forest's opener came from a set piece with Lichaj heading home from no more than a yard after Dowell's clever set piece. Contact was made with the ball right next to Ospina but the goalkeeper had very little chance of getting anything in the way.

Arsenal's equaliser also came from a free kick, with Mertesacker showing excellent composure to sort his feet out to volley into the net. It was Ozil-esque, dare I say. It's not been a great afternoon for the German centre-back though. He is frequently been shown up by Brereton.

What can we say about Lichaj's second? The former Aston Villa man had only scored seven goals in his career before today but his 20-yard volley will undoubtedly be at the top of his list. It was the control which set up the chance. The ball was spinning as he chested it before directing the ball, without it bouncing, into the far corner.

The two teams are slowly emerging back onto the pitch. Wenger's not got a lot of experienced options on the bench so he is holding fire with his alterations for now.

KICKOFF! Forest get us back underway.

As expected, Arsenal have mounted a response since the restart but aside from a cross from Nelson which went straight out of play, they have created nothing of note.

Already, you can sense that Forest are prepared to play on the break in this half. It's a dangerous tactic. Arsenal are already building pressure.

Better from Forest who have at least managed to push Arsenal back into their own half. It's important that they give themselves a break from the attacks which are expected to come their way. We haven't seen anything of Brereton since the start of the second period.

The first change is coming up and it's for Forest. Brazil has seen something which he doesn't like because I can't see any injuries.

SUBSTITUTION! Tyler Walker is being introduced for Clough, who has been sidelined for a number of weeks. Maybe his fitness is a bit behind his teammates at the moment.

Arsenal have certainly had the better of this second half but they are yet to create anything. It will be a concern to Wenger. Walcott and Welback have barely been in the game.

The visitors earn a free kick on the right flank and Mertesacker and Holding are up. However, the cross goes closest to Welbeck, who can't get a touch which would have almost certainly led to an effort on target.

SHOT! As we move past the hour mark, Forest start to apply more pressure at the other end of the pitch and after Brereton almost nets at the near post, Vaughan sends a volley high over the crossbar.

PENALTY TO NOTTINGHAM FOREST! What a chance this is for Forest. Holding fouls Cash in the box and it is a definite spot kick.

GOAL! Nottingham Forest 3-1 Arsenal (Ben Brereton)

Forest are in dreamland! Brereton steps up and sends Ospina the wrong way with a remarkably composed spot kick. Wenger has never lost a game in the third round of the FA Cup. Is this the day?

SUBSTITUTION! Arsenal make their first alteration, with Nketiah replacing Willock.

Forest and their supporters are starting to believe. This is far from over but Arsenal are putting together nothing in attack. With no Ozil or Sanchez to call upon, I'm not sure they have got enough in their ranks to change this game.

CHANCE! Just as I say that, Nketiah takes it upon himself to get a shot away by drifting past a defender but his resulting effort from 12 yards is well blocked by Smith. It might be his first save!

When you watch Forest play like this, you wonder how they have put together such a poor run. They have been excellent this afternoon and although Arsenal have made changes, this is going to be a huge upset if Arsenal lose this.

Nearly a fourth for Forest. Dowell advanced down the right before reaching the byline, but his low cross was well snuffed out at the near post.

We are into the final 15 minutes now and there are no signs of an Arsenal comeback. I won't speak too soon but Forest are looking in good shape here, and are even prepared to take chances to put this game to bed.

For one of the first times this afternoon, Walcott gets free down the right flank but even with time to pick out a teammate, he delivers a poor low cross into the six-yard box and Forest survive.

GOAL! Nottingham Forest 3-2 Arsenal (Danny Welbeck)

It's game on again! A through-ball looks to be causing no danger to Forest but Smith fails to grab hold of the ball in a challenge with Welbeck and the forward takes the chance to roll the ball into the net.

It's going to be a very nervy 10 minutes for Forest. All of a sudden, Arsenal look like they have goals in them and chances are inevitably going to come.

CHANCE! Welbeck did nothing in this match for 75 minutes but it's a different story now. The forward glances a header wide of the post on this occasion.

PENALTY TO NOTTINGHAM FOREST! Unbelievable! Forest have another penalty which has been won by former player Traore, who raced clear of Debuchy before being brought down. However, the Frenchman has got a bit of the ball. Controversial!

GOAL! Nottingham Forest 4-2 Arsenal (Kieran Dowell)

This is incredible. Dowell slips and sends the ball into the roof of the net but Arsenal are saying that he kicked the ball twice. It's a tight one, but he may have clipped the ball with his studs before making contact with his other foot. Drama!

Arsenal are absolutely furious and yellow cards have been dished out for their protests. I have no idea how many times. Mertesacker has definitely been booked.

RED CARD! Now Worrall has been sent off for a lunge on an Arsenal attacker. Forest are down to 10 men! It's all happening.

There will be four minutes of added-on time. I think Forest have this won now.

CHANCE! It should be 4-3! Akpom is one on one with the goalkeeper but dinks the ball marginally wide of the post.

FULL TIME: Nottingham Forest 4-2 Arsenal

The full-time whistle goes at the City Ground and Nottingham Forest have completed one of their finest wins in recent years. They had some luck along the way, especially in the closing stages, but they deserve their success over a below-par Gunners side who fail to progress into the fourth round for the first time in over two decades.

That will be all from Sports Mole for this match. Thank you for joining us today and we hope to see you again soon.

If you would like to read our on-the-whistle match report, you can do so by clicking here. Goodbye for now.

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Arsene Wenger watches on during the Premier League game between Everton and Arsenal on October 22, 2017
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