Arsenal suffered their second third-round exit in 26 years in the FA Cup and it took a late goal from Lewis Grabban to wreck such havoc.
Although Mikel Arteta rested some legs for the tie at ‘The City Ground’, the starting lineup still paraded Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli and Bernd Leno.
But Arsenal’s lacklustre performance saw them finish the first half goalless.
The hosts almost took the lead through Phillip Zinckernagel but was denied by second choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
Tragedy finally struck inside the last 10 minutes as Lewis Grabban who had been on the pitch for the last 15 minutes of the game converted well at the far post from Ryan Yates cross.
It should be recalled Nottingham Forest muscled out Arsenal in the FA Cup in 2018. This time they did so without the Gunners getting a shot on target.
Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper said he was “really proud” of his players.
“We came up against a really good team and we had a clear game plan. We wanted to be brave with our pressing and get at them on the counter and that’s how we scored,”he began
“I’m really proud of the boys, pleased with the performance. It’s brilliant to get through and I hope the players now really believe in what we’re doing,” he continued.
“[Grabban] is the club captain. He’s experienced and we work together in terms of how we use him. Then we brought him on and he scored.” He concluded.
In a stark contrast, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta could only ask for apologies after his side were bundled out.
“We were not good enough and we have to apologise for it,” the spaniard told newsmen.
“Today showed we were not capable of winning against Forest away from home and didn’t put in the level to win the game. It’s a collective issue and today we have not done it. What we have done today is nowhere near the level and standards that are required.” Arteta said.
“We needed more drive, more hunger to win at any cost in every single action, much more. We were not at our leve”I’m really disappointed with the performance, first of all. Not with the attitude but how much purpose we have and what determination we showed to change the game when it’s difficult to play against and the way they play.” Arteta added
“It is really hurting. It is a competition that is very related to our history and to get out of it is a big bump.” said, the former Everton man.
Up next for Arsenal is the rescheduled Carabao Cup tie against Liverpool at home on 13th January, then they take a walk to neighbors Tottenham Hotspurs in the league before moving to Anfield to play the return leg the following midweek.