London – Nottingham Forest knocked 14-time F.A. Cup winner Arsenal out of this year’s competition on Sunday after Tottenham and Liverpool survived scares against lower-league opposition to progress.
West Ham defeated Leeds 2-0 in the day’s only third-round match featuring two Premier League teams, while Wolves defeated Sheffield United 3-0.
But Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal huffed and puffed against Forest at the City ground in the evening kickoff and paid a heavy price for a subpar performance in a 1-0 loss.
The decisive moment came in the 83rd minute, when Lewis Grabban converted a superb Ryan Yates cross to set up a tie against Leicester, the reigning champion, in the next round.
“I don’t want to use excuses, I expect the team I put out to do better and when you don’t in the cup you are out,” said a despondent Arteta, who now has only the Premier League to focus on.
“Today showed we were not capable of winning against Forest away from home and didn’t put in the level to win the game,” he said. “It’s a collective issue and today we have not done it.”
Jubilant Forest boss Steve Cooper said his side deserved the win.
“I’m really proud of the boys, pleased with the performance,” he said. “It’s brilliant to get through and I hope the players now really believe in what we’re doing.”
A Tottenham side featuring a number of changes was trailing at halftime against League One opponent Morecambe before Harry Winks evened the score and substitutes Lucas Moura and Harry Kane scored late to seal a 3-1 win.
Morecambe boss Stephen Robinson missed the game — against the club at which he began his playing career — after testing positive for COVID-19.
Spurs — 59 places higher than their third-tier opponent on the English soccer ladder — fell behind in the 33rd minute when Morecambe captain Anthony O’Connor converted from close range following a corner.
The home side struggled to impose itself and Tottenham boss Antonio Conte summoned Moura and Kane from the bench with just over 20 minutes to go.
Spurs still needed a slice of luck to level the score — Winks’ free kick was hit too hard, but it flew over flailing Morecambe goalkeeper Trevor Carson and into the far corner.
Moura put Spurs ahead in the 85th minute after rounding the goalkeeper following a charge from midfield, and then Kane made sure Spurs advanced.
“We deserve to win because in these types of games you have to show your strength,” Conte told BBC.
“They defended with 11 players and that’s normal in these games, but it is important to find the right solution.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, back in the dugout at Anfield after completing his isolation period following a positive test for COVID-19, watched as his side went behind before recovering to win 4-1.
Liverpool named five youth team players in its team to face League One side Shrewsbury after COVID-19 affected its preparations for the match, with more academy players on the bench.
The Merseyside club, whose training ground was shutdown for 48 hours during the week due to a virus outbreak, is also without Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, all of whom are at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Shrewsbury struck with its first real attack, with Daniel Udoh firing home from close range following a Nathanael Ogbeta cross.
The home side was level just seven minutes later when Kaide Gordon, aged 17 years and 96 days, became the second-youngest goalscorer in the club’s history.
Fabinho gave Klopp’s men the lead from the penalty spot shortly before halftime, and there also goals from substitute Roberto Firmino and a second for Fabinho.
Goals from Manuel Lanzini and Jarrod Bowen were enough for West Ham to beat Leeds 2-0 at the London Stadium, while Daniel Podence scored twice in a 3-0 win for Wolves against Sheffield United.
Third-tier Cambridge, which shocked Premier League side Newcastle on Saturday, will play Luton in the fourth round while non-league side Kidderminster host West Ham.
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