FA Cup: Southampton dumps Arsenal out, City advances
Last season’s FA Cup winners Arsenal were eliminated from the competition in the fourth round courtesy of an own-goal in a 1-0 loss to Southampton, while Manchester City survived a scare to beat fourth-tier Cheltenham 3-1.
Arsenal has won the FA Cup a record 14 times and Mikel Arteta called it “our favourite competition” before kickoff. Arteta made seven changes to his side and were without captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for “a personal matter” , who scored both of Arsenal’s goals in the 2-1 win against Chelsea in last year’s final.
In an otherwise close game, Gabriel’s decision to try to block a shot from Kyle Walker-Peters proved decisive. Right-back Walker-Peters was allowed plenty of space to overlap the Arsenal defence, but his shot looked to be heading narrowly wide before Gabriel’s failed attempt deflected the ball off the post and in.
“I’m very disappointed because we wanted to continue in the competition, we had a dream to do it again like last year and the dream today is over,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said.
“I am as well disappointed with the way we conceded the goal in an area where we know we shouldn’t be doing that. At the same time, I cannot fault the effort of the players, how they tried and how they went to get a goal in the second half,” Arteta added.
Southampton will now face a trip to Wolverhampton in the fifth-round, which beat sixth-tier Chorley on Friday in the competition.
Cheltenham 1-3 Manchester City
Cheltenham Town narrowly missed out on perhaps the biggest FA Cup upset ever, as Manchester City scored three times in the final 10 minutes to come from behind and win 3-1.
Given the crowded fixture list all Premier League clubs are having to cope with amid the coronavirus pandemic, Pep Guardiola understandably shuffled his pack for the trip to Gloucestershire.
A long throw-in from Cheltenham captain Ben Tozer caused a mix-up in the City defence and Alfie May seized on a deflection to stab the ball into the net.
Cheltenham were positive and showed no fear in going forward, but they required heroics from captain Ben Tozer to preserve parity, the skipper’s outstanding header on the line keeping out Benjamin Mendy’s drive.
Griffiths’ smart low save denied Torres and, though City were not quite able to produce fireworks on the pitch in the first half.
In the 81st minute City finally pulled level as Phil Foden met Joao Cancelo’s cross at the far post and knocked the ball into the net.Gabriel Jesus scored City’s second three minutes later to avoid extra time.
Ferran Torres added a third in stoppage time to ensure City secured the victory. Manchester City have won 10 consecutive games in all competitions for the first time since a run of 11 between August-October 2017.
Manchester City will travel to South Wales to face Swansea in the next round of the FA Cup.
Other FA Cup results
West Ham 4-0 Doncaster
Barnsley 1-0 Norwich
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Blackpool
Millwall 0-3 Bristol City
Sheffield United 2-1 Plymouth Argyle
Swansea City 5-1 Nottingham Forest