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Published: 15:06 | 13/3/16

Watford dump Arsenal out of FA Cup

Hornets too hot for holders

Arsenal's hold on the FA Cup is over after Watford beat them in an entertaining sixth round clash at the Emirates.

Second half goals from Odion Ighalo and a thunderbolt from Adlene Guerdioura shattered the Gunners' hopes of winning the trophy for the third season in succession.

Danny Welbeck's third goal since returning from a long injury lay-off gave the hosts hope with two minutes remaining and they should have grabbed an unlikely equaliser when Welbeck spurned a great opportunity from close range after Alex Iwobi's effort had rattled the post.

However, the Hornets held on for a fully-deserved victory that their energy and disciplined display throughout the 90 minutes merited.

Arsene Wenger will be left wondering why it took until the final few minutes for his side to show the drive and attacking intent you would expect from a side who had the cup as their best opportunity to pick up some silverware this campaign.

After losses to Swansea and Barcelona, this was a third home defeat on-the-spin for them, their worst run of form at the stadium since they moved into it in 2006.

Arsenal are now left hoping they can reel in Leicester City and neighbours Spurs at the top of the Premier League table while for Watford, the prospect of capping a satisfactory first season back in the top flight with an FA Cup is a real possibility.

After a first half in which the home side had the best chances, Igalho put the visitors ahead on 50 minutes when Troy Deeney did well to beat two Arsenal defenders to nod on a throw-in, the ball falling to his strike partner who turned Gabriel with ease before firing a clinical sstrike past David Ospina.

Quique Sanchez Flores' side were rampant and they should have doubled their lead when Nathan Ake did brilliantly to drive down the left, his centre was inch-perfect for Igalho but the forward somehow stood on the ball with the goal at this mercy and the chance was gone.

However, Watford didn't have to wait long to get their second, on 63 minutes Deeney doing well to hold up the ball before laying it off for Guedioura who blasted an unstoppable drive past Ospina into the top corner.

Arsenal were rattled and looked like exiting the competition with barely a whimper until Welbeck ran onto Mesut Ozil's backheel before applying a neat finish.

They should have levelled in stoppage time when Iwobi's shot from outside the area beat Costel Pantilimon but the ball rebounded off the post to Kieron Gibbs, the left-back passed inside to Welbeck who spun and shot but his effort somehow went agonisingly wide of the goal.

Arsenal continued to apply severe pressure but Watford hung on to book their first FA Cup semi-final place in nine years.

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