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Mikel Arteta

 Arsenal dumped out of FA Cup by Nottingham Forest

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Arsenal were dumped out of the FA Cup, after losing 1-0 to Championship side Nottingham Forest in the third round.

Substitute Lewis Grabban climbed off the bench to score the game’s only goal late on as Forest knocked out Mikel Arteta ‘s out-of-sorts side.

The first half was a drab affair, with a paucity of genuine goalscoring chances.

And it barely got better after the restart. But a boisterous home crowd roared their side on to a famous win against the Gunners.

Here are five talking points from the clash at the City Ground.

 

Arsenal have been dumped out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle

         Arsenal have been dumped out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle

Nottingham Forest celebrate Lewis Grabban's winning goal

      Nottingham Forest celebrate Lewis Grabban’s winning goal ( Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta gave plenty of players the chance to shine here.

But hardly any of them took their chances.

Eddie Nketiah barely had a sniff, but he wasn’t the only one to disappoint.

Arsenal never really looked up for it, whilst on the contrary Forest were right in the mood.

For a club with a proud record in this competition – their 14 wins is the most of any team – this was a feeble surrender by the Gunners.

Patino experiment doesn’t pay off

Charlie Patino made his first senior start in the FA Cup tie at Nottingham Forest

         Charlie Patino made his first senior start in the FA Cup tie at Nottingham Forest

This represented a first senior start for 18-year-old Charlie Patino.

The youngster has been talked up as being the next superstar to break through the club’s famed academy.

His only previous appearance, just before Christmas against Sunderland in the Carabao Cup, saw him find the back of the net during a 10-minute cameo.

Here he had plenty more time to make a big impression. But the first half hardly saw him get a kick.

Deployed in a central midfield role, he struggled to make much of an impact. When he did get the ball he was almost immediately pounced on by his Forest counterparts.

It was perhaps a step too far to expect Patino to shine through here, especially in the hustle and bustle of a fiery FA Cup tie. He lasted 69 minutes.

Arteta’s ruthlessness displayed

Mikel Arteta isn’t afraid to make big calls.

He’s showed as much on plenty of occasions. Lately, his decision to ostracise Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and strip him of the captaincy was debated at length by the Arsenal fanbase.

But it has proved, so far, to be the correct decision.

Here, Arteta once again showed his ruthless edge. Barely 30 minutes had elapsed when he hooked Nuno Tavares, despite the Portuguese not appearing to carry any injury.

Mikel Arteta hooked Nuno Tavares inside the first half - and the player was far from happy with the decision

         Mikel Arteta hooked Nuno Tavares inside the first half – and the player was far from happy with the decision

He was replaced by Kieran Tierney, and Tavares was clearly unhappy as he threw his gloves to the ground in disgust on his way to the bench.

Whatever fans thought of the eye-raising decision, you cannot deny that Arteta is a man who is not afraid to make big calls.

Forest on right tracks

Steve Cooper has transformed Forest from relegation candidates to being in with a sniff of the top six.

In front of a full house at the City Ground, the two-time European champions put in a fine performance against a side 25 places higher up the football pyramid.

Nottingham Forest have enjoyed a resurgence since Steve Cooper took over earlier this season

 b      Nottingham Forest have enjoyed a resurgence since Steve Cooper took over earlier this season

The club have been away from the top flight for more than 20 years now and they have more false dawns than fans care to remember.

But the initial signs under Cooper are promising.

Their two new recruits, Steve Cook and Keinan Davis, both impressed on debut here and with a few more canny additions this month do not rule out Forest for a play-off push.

This will give them a huge surge of confidence.

Important message sent out

You can’t have failed to notice that Arsenal were wearing an all-white strip for this fixture.

The specially-designed kit saw all red removed as part of the No More Red initiative, which aims to reduce knife crime.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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