Watford stunned Arsenal in the FA Cup quarterfinal 2-1 to move into the last four of the tournament. Arsenal could have won the prestigious cup for the third time in a row this season, but their hopes were dashed by the Hornets, Sunday at the Emirates Stadium.
Odion Ighalo and Adlene Guedioura scored a goal each to put end Arsenal's hopes.
Both sides failed to find the back of the net in the first half of the match. Watford were very strong defensively and were constantly guarding the threats from Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and others.
Ighalo, who caused a lot of problems for the Arsenal defenders whenever the ball came to his feet, opened the deadlock in the 50th minute of the match. Captain Troy Deeney earned the assist as he found Ighalo near the post, where he was being carelessly marked by Gabriel. David Ospina could not stop the shot from Ighalo and Watford put their noses in front.
Arsenal were alarmed with that strike from Ighalo and started playing better football. But 10 minutes later, Deeney was instrumental again to set up one of the brilliant strikes one has seen in recent times, from Adlene Guedioura.
Deeney just nudged the ball to Guedioura who was on the run from the right side and he blasted the ball past Ospina and then came the moment when Arsene Wenger realised that he needs to alter things as his hope of lifting the FA Cup for the third time in a row was fading fast.
Arsenal had their share of chances in the last 10-15 minutes or so. They were absolutely brilliant. They were trying to hustle out opportunities and that made the Watford defense vulnerable towards the end of the game.
Substitute Danny Welbeck pulled one back in the 88th minute of the game and all of a sudden the momentum was back with the Gunners. Two minutes later Welbeck could have equalised as it was a glorious opportunity. Alex Iwobi's shot struck the woodwork and returned to Wlebeck's feet but he somehow managed to hit it over the bar.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was clearly disappointed and said that one mistake changed the game for the Hornets.
"Our long, long run has come to an end in a very sad way because I don't think that we deserved to lose. We have to look at ourselves for the first goal. The second goal was a fantastic shot. I felt that it was a real cup game where they defended very well and took their chances on the break, the few chances they had," Wenger was quoted as saying as the official website of Arsenal.
"As long as we didn't score the first goal they kept their belief. They were physically very strong but we had enough chances to win the game.
"We had enough technical superiority to win the game and to score goals. It was down to not making a mistake and keeping it 0-0 until the last 20 minutes. If we would have done that then we might have won the game. Unfortunately we made one. It is sad.
"We've come out of a very long run in the FA Cup. The FA Cup is the FA Cup, you cannot guarantee you will win it."
Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores dedicated this victory to the fans and was really happy with the way his boys played on the pitch.
"I am dedicating this to the fans. To the players and the fans the most; they deserve something special to happen during this season. They have always been with us – everywhere. We played the match to the plans we had made," Flores was quoted as saying by the official website of Watford FC.
"We wanted to reduce the space of Arsenal and to stop their best players having any time on the ball to think about what to do.
"It was very difficult to make sure this happened for 90 minutes – but I think for 80 minutes it was difficult for Arsenal to create chances."
Watch the full highlights of the match here: