Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock both started as Arsenal suffered a 4-2 defeat away to Nottingham Forest today in the third round of the FA Cup.
Arsenal were woeful throughout and fell behind when Eric Lichaj found the net in the 20th minute but Per Mertesacker levelled shortly afterwards.
A fine strike from Lichaj restored Forest’s lead and in the second half Ben Brereton, who produced an outstanding performance, put the hosts 3-1 up.
Danny Welbeck’s late strike gave Arsenal a glimmer of hope but Forest made it 4-2 when former Gunner Armand Traore was adjudged to have been brought down in the area by Mathieu Debuchy and Kieran Dowell stepped up to score from the spot.
Forest were reduced to ten men in the closing stages as Joe Worrall was sent off but they managed to hold on for a deserved victory.
Arsenal were awful defensively, with Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding frequently being caught out, while Theo Walcott offered little going forwards.
Willock was unable to have much of an impact in central midfield, although there were some encouraging signs from Nelson, who was stationed on the left wing, in the first half.
Eddie Nketiah and Chuba Akpom entered the fray as substitutes and made Arsenal more of a threat going forwards, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the holders from being eliminated.
Matt Macey, Jordi Osei-Tutu and Josh Dasilva were all unused substitutes but Arsenal’s aim of retaining the FA Cup has already been dashed.