Forest fire Arsenal out of FA Cup

Nottingham Forest 4 Arsenal 2
Lichaj (20, 44 ), Brereton 64 pen, Dowell 85 pen, Mertersacker 23, Welbeck 79

Arsenal crashed out of the FA Cup with a humbling 4-2 drubbing at the hands of Championship side Nottingham Forest. It was the first taste of defeat for Arsene Wenger in the 3rd round of the competition and despite his making nine changes, this was not the result he would have wanted in what may be his last taste of the FA Cup. With seven FA Cups under his belt, and three from the last four seasons, Wenger has certainly done well in the competition, but now with the Premier League surely out of the Gunners’ reach given Manchester City’s lead, it seems the focus will now very much switch to two trophies which have eluded Wenger namely the League Cup and the Europa Cup. Arsenal have been to the finals in both of those competitions, but having gone behind early against Forest, never looked like emulating their Wembley FA Cup success from last year.

Late Bellerin leveller caps a brilliant 2-2 with Chelsea

Arsenal 2 Chelsea 2
Wilshere 64, Bellerin 90+2,Hazard pen 67, Alonso 84

Hector Bellerin grabbed a stunning late leveller to earn Arsenal a point in a thrilling London derby which lived up to all the hype with both sides genuinely going for the win. Eden Hazard’s controversial penalty after he was adjudged to have been caught by Bellerin saw Chelsea get back on level terms after Jack Wilshere had given Arsenal the lead with a stunning left foot drive. Having clawed their way back, the Blues then looked to have sealed the win when Marcos Alonso prodded in from close range. With six minutes remaining that seemed to be that. Arsenal however dug deep and from a central position, Bellerin latched onto Alonso’s poor clearance. The Spain defender combined the right amount of pace and precision to beat Thibaut Courtois in the second minute of time added on as the Arsenal players and fans celebrated as the away end suddenly fell silent.

Arsenal held by late controversial penalty at Albion

West Bromwich Albion 1 Arsenal 1
Rodriguez pen 89, McClean og 83

What is it about closing out games that Arsenal don’t get? So, maybe this time there were rightly extenuating circumstances for why the Gunners couldn’t see out Alexis Sanchez’s free kick which went in off James McCLean after 83 minutes. Do we read too much into having to hang on for seven minutes plus time added on, or is it really that difficult ? Whatever the case, referee Mike Dean’s controversial penalty award when Kieran Gibbs saw his attempted cross catch the arm of Calum Chambers was one of the poorest decisions he will ever make. Closest player Gibbs didn’t even appeal for the spot kick, but nevertheless Dean pointed to the spot and Jay Rodriguez smashed in the late leveller to ruin Arsene Wenger’s record 811 games in charge as well as Petr Cech’s search for his 200th clean sheet.

Alexis double helps seal win at Palace

Crystal Palace 2 Arsenal 3
Townsend 49, Tomkins 89, Mustafi 25, Sánchez 62, 66

Arsenal secured only their third away day Premier League win of the season with a hard earned win at Crystal Palace. Shkodran Mustfai put the Gunners in the lead going into the break, only for Andros Townsend to score to draw Palace level four minutes after the restart. With their tails up, Palace appeared to be making Arsenal rue their lack of converting their other first half chances when Mesut Ozil twice went close. However, Alexis Sanchez struck twice in four minutes to increase the Gunners lead firstly when converting from Alexandre Lacazette’s lay off, and then the Chile striker grabbed his second and Arsenal’s third when Jack Wilshere found him with a defence splitting 30 yard pass.

Arsenal and Liverpool in Xmas cracker as both sides share the points

Arsenal 3 Liverpool 3
Alexis 53, Xhaka 56, Özil 58, Coutinho 26,
Salah 52, Firmino 71

Arsene Wenger called for a ” big December,” but perhaps he didn’t have this Christmas cracker of a match in mind when he spoke. This game however was big! Brilliant for the neutral as Arsenal and Liverpool played out a stunning 3-3 draw at the Emirates stadium on Friday evening. Liverpool had a 1-0 half time lead courtesy of Philipe Coutinho and doubled that after 52 minutes courtesy of Mohamed Salah. Then came six minutes of unbelievable Arsenal firepower. Alexis Sanchez headed in to make it 2-1 a minute later. Granit Xhaka then redeemed himself from an indifferent first half with a 30 yard Exocet of a strike to draw the Gunners level.

Welbeck strike sends Arsenal into League Cup semi-finals

Arsenal 1 West Ham United 0
Welbeck 42

Arsenal secured safe passage to the Carabao Cup semi-final with a 1-0 win over West Ham United at the Emirates stadium on Tuesday night. Danny Welbeck scored three minutes before the break, after Mathieu Debuchy headed back from the right. Arsene Wenger made eleven changes from the side which beat Newcastle United by the same scoreline, however this was anything but a game for the purist. The Hammers fielded a much changed side who were unable to muster a single effort on David Ospina’s goal. The Gunners made their only effort tell, with Theo Walcott also seeing a header were off target. One bit of bad news for Arsene Wenger, Olivier Giroud came off with a hamstring injury and looks to be out of contention for Friday’s Premier League hosting of Liverpool.

Superb Ozil strike sees off Newcastle 1-0

Arsenal 1 Newcastle United 0
Özil 23

A Mesut Özil moment of brilliance was the difference between Arsenal and Newcastle United at the Emirates stadium, although with their superior possession and passing game, the Gunners should have had much more than the German’s solitary stunning first half volley. On the back foot and under the cosh for the majority of the match, Newcastle stirred for the final ten plus minutes of this game and almost grabbed an equaliser, as the hitherto sound Arsenal back four looked anything but composed and comfortable. Careless loss of possession, combined with a resurgent Magpies tested the nerves of the Emirates stadium faithful, but Petr Cech held firm. At the final whistle it was the Gunners who had grabbed the win, their first in the Premier League in December.

Gunners unable to fire and are held by Hammers

West Ham United 0 Arsenal 0

Arsenal have hit the buffers again. Having salvaged a point at Southampton, the Gunners could only fire blanks against a spirited West Ham United and their desire to defend deep and with numbers. Jack Wilshere was given his first Premier League start of the season, and he gave us a glimpse of what has been missing from the Arsenal game. He replaced Aaron Ramsey who was injured at St.Marys. Ainsley Maitland-Niles was given the nod in the left back role in a back four. Hector Bellerin slotted in on the right with Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny the two central defenders.

Giroud rises to head in late leveller at Southampton

Southampton 1 Arsenal 1
Austin 3, Giroud 88

Olivier Giroud came off the bench to head in Arsenal’s leveller two minutes before time. With Southampton taking the lead after three minutes when Charlie Austin clipped his effort past Petr Cech from Dusan Tadic’s incisive pass, Arsenal initially struggled to cope with the Saints’ bright football. The three man Gunners’ defence of Nacho Monreal, Hector Bellerin and particularly Per Mertersacker were continually exposed, as Sead Kolasinac and Granit Xhaka failed to track back. Ramsey had a low strike well saved by Fraser Forster, with Alexandre Lacazette going close. The France striker had a good claim for a penalty when Maya Yoshida cut through him, but no one in the way blue strip appealed when replays suggested there was a valid claim for one. Another Austin carve up, and Oriel Romeu, and Ryan Bertrand could have extended Southampton’s lead. But Arsenal continued their second half siege of the Saints’ goal. With time running out, Giroud rose to powerfully flick his header past Forster from Alexis Sanchez cross and Arsenal had salvaged a point.

Rampant Arsenal hit Borisov for six

Arsenal 6 Bate Borisov 0
Debuchy 11, Walcott 37,Wilshere 43, Polyakov og, 53, Giroud 64, pen, Elneny74

Europa League last 32 job already done, Arsenal hit Bate Borisov for a 6-0 thrashing. The much changed Gunners fired courtesy of Mathieu Debuchy, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, an own goal when Bate defender Denis Polyakov turned in from Walcott’s cross. Olivier Giroud then struck from the penalty spot after Walcott had been upended by Nemanja Milunovic, with the sixth goal coming from Mohammed Elneny for his first goal at the Emirates. Despite the manner of the victory, morale boosting as it is following the Premier League disappointment against Manchester United in a game which Arsenal dominated, only 30,000 turned up on a cold December night. The official attendance or tickets sold put that figure at the 59,000 mark but that looked optimistic judging by the number of empty seats.