Arsenal 1-2 Watford: Odion Ighalo and Adlene Guedioura goals dump holders out of FA Cup
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 13/03/16 10:57pm
Watford have made it through to the FA Cup semi-finals after a 2-1 win against holders Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Odion Ighalo opened the scoring five minutes after the restart, striking on the turn from 10 yards, before Adlene Guedioura made it 2-0 on 63 minutes with an incredible 20-yard strike from the right corner of the penalty area.
Arsenal substitute Danny Welbeck halved the deficit with two minutes remaining and missed a glorious opportunity to equalise moments later after Alex Iwobi had hit the post.
The visitors felt Gabriel should have been sent off in the first half for a two-footed lunge on Troy Deeney, but referee Andre Marriner kept his cards in his pocket.
The result means the Hornets have now reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the third time in 14 years, while Arsenal - booed off at the final whistle - have failed in their bid to become only the third side in history to win the FA Cup three times in a row.
Defeat ends the club's 37-month unbeaten run in the competition and raises the prospect of a trophyless season, with Arsene Wenger's side eight points off the pace in the Premier League and 2-0 down to Barcelona ahead of Wednesday's Champions League last-16 return leg at the Nou Camp.
Wenger reintroduced Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Francis Coquelin after the 4-0 win over Hull in midweek, while Watford also made three changes.
The first half-hour at the Emirates passed without much action, but Watford players were aggrieved shortly after following Gabriel's two-footed tackle on Deeney in midfield.
Referee Marriner failed to give a foul for the tackle, but replays show the Brazilian's actions were worthy of a red card as both players went into the full-blooded 50-50.
The first chance of the game fell to Mohamed Elneny on the right of the area having been found by Calum Chambers, but the Egyptian blazed high and wide in space from 12 yards.
Elneny then had another chance to grab his first goal for the club, but again hit the ball over unmarked from 15 yards after some sublime skill from Ozil on the right byline.
Joel Campbell then poked the ball over on the stretch from eight yards after Ozil's through ball, with Costel Pantilimon doing just enough to put the forward off.
Watford took the lead on 50 minutes through Ighalo, who collected Deeney's header down in the area before shooting on the turn past David Ospina and into the bottom right corner.
The visitors continued to press after going ahead; first Ighalo poked over from another Deeney knockdown in the area, before the Nigerian failed to make proper contact on Nathan Ake's superb ball across the face of goal.
Pantilimon then saved Olivier Giroud's effort from point-blank range, and seconds later Watford doubled their lead.
Taking on an ambitious shot from the corner of the penalty area, Guedioura brilliantly found the near top corner past the helpless Ospina with a fiercely-struck effort.
Chambers turned the ball just wide of the left-hand post after being set up by Sanchez, before Welbeck made it 2-1 with a right-footed finish into the bottom right corner from 10 yards having got on the end of Ozil's backheel.
The England striker should have equalised a minute later, but struck wide on the turn from eight yards with the goal gaping and Pantilimon floored after Alex Iwobi's effort had hit the post and bounced off the goalkeeper.
Welbeck then poked wide having done well to break past the Watford defence moments later, but after a frantic final few minutes, Watford held on to the delight of their 8,300 travelling fans in the Clock End.