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VIDEO: Elneny’s Arsenal knocked out of FA Cup by Watford
Elneny started his third game in a row for Arsenal as midfield options continue to be depleted. Arsenal are still without Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla while Jack Wilshere is nearing a comeback.
Arsenal’s starting line-up: Ospina; Chambers, Gabriel, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Coquelin, ELNENY, Özil; Sanchez, Campbell, Giroud.
Watford’s starting line-up: Pantilimon; Nyom,Prodl, Cathcart, Ake; Watson, Capoue, Behrami, Guedioura; Deeney, Ighalo
The game started with Arsenal dominating and building up trying to create a decent chance. They were able to do exactly that in the first 20 minutes when Giroud converted Sanchez’s ball into the net, but unfortunately the offside flag was already up. But that didn’t stop Arsenal as decent build-up play allowed Chambers to find Elneny in the box in the 30th minute, but the Egyptian midfielder failed to convert Chambers’ ball.
In the 40th minute, Mesut Özil continued his fine, creative form with a fantastic flick creating a chance for Campbell in the box who had set it up for Elneny, but the midfielder’s shot was skied once again. Özil shortly after created another chance as he managed to deliver a wonderful pass to Campbell, but the Costa Rican didn’t manage to find the goal either.
In the second half Elneny was involved as he was able to test Pantilimon with a drive from 30 yards, however the shot was straight at the keeper. Following a huge mental shift from the Watford players, the London side capitalized scoring the first goal in the 50th minute through Nigerian striker Ighalo. Following a throw-in, a knock down to Ighalo allowed the striker to swivel and lash the ball past Ospina. Arsenal seemed to be deflated from the goal which gave the visitors the advantage to add the second goal in the 63rd minute with a powerful drive to the top corner delivered by Algerian international Guedioura.
Arsenal followed the two goals by three substitutions with Elneny, Campbell and Giroud departing, while Welbeck, Walcott and Nigerian international Alex Iwobi arriving. Arsenal continued fighting for the chance to get back in the game, with Welbeck converting a wonderful assist by Özil into the goal in the 88th minute. Unfortunately Danny Welbeck failed to equalize with a clear cut chance after Gibbs’ pass in the box.
With that Arsenal’s FA Cup title hopes fades away and they turn their attention to the Barcelona game in the Champions League on Wednesday, March 16th.