Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said that he felt “sad” after seeing his side’s two-year reign as FA Cup holders ended by a 2-1 quarter-final loss to Watford on Sunday.
FA Cup winners in 2014 and 2015, Arsenal were bidding to become the first team to win the competition for three consecutive years since Blackburn Rovers between 1884 and 1886.
But their hopes of a record-extending 13th FA Cup triumph were shattered at the Emirates Stadium as Watford prevailed courtesy of second-half goals from Odion Ighalo and Adlene Guedioura.
“Our fantastic run has come to an end on a day where we felt that our performance deserved a win,” said Wenger, whose side replied through substitute Danny Welbeck in the 88th minute.
“Credit to Watford, they created few chances, but took them all. It’s sad because we gave everything.”
With Arsenal eight points off the pace in the Premier League and 2-0 down to Barcelona ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League last 16 return leg, their chances of silverware are fading fast.
But Wenger said that all hope was not lost ahead of the mid-week trip to Camp Nou.
“It is very difficult against Barcelona, but we have to see it as a challenge and try to make the impossible possible,” said the Frenchman.
Watford join Crystal Palace, Everton and either Manchester United or West Ham United in the semi-finals, which will be played at Wembley next month.
“I have memories on television of the old Wembley and watching in Spain and seeing the finals of this competition,” said Watford’s Spanish manager Quique Sanchez Flores.
“Now it is a new Wembley. I’ve just arrived in England and to get there is exciting. I’m really happy for the fans and they deserve this kind of day.”
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