FA Cup holder Arsenal eliminated, Man City survives scare

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Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe, center, battles for the ball with Southampton's James Ward-Prowse, left, and Stuart Armstrong during the Emirates FA Cup fourth round soccer match at St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, England, Saturday Jan. 23, 2021. (Catherine Ivill/PA via AP)

SOUTHAMPTON – Last season’s FA Cup winner Arsenal was eliminated from the competition in the fourth round on Saturday thanks to Gabriel’s own-goal in a 1-0 loss to Southampton, while Manchester City survived a scare to beat fourth-tier Cheltenham 3-1.

In an otherwise close game, Gabriel's decision to try to block a shot from Kyle Walker-Peters proved decisive for Arsenal losing its hold on the cup.

Right-back Walker-Peters was allowed plenty of space to overlap the Arsenal defense, but his shot looked to be heading narrowly wide of the far post before Gabriel's failed attempt deflected the ball off the post and in. It was the first goal Arsenal had conceded since Dec. 26 after five consecutive shutouts.

"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," he added. "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.”

Arsenal has won the FA Cup a record 14 times and Arteta before kickoff called it “our favorite competition.” Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored both of the team's goals in the 2-1 win over Chelsea in last year's final, but he wasn't available Saturday due to what Arteta called “a personal matter.” Arteta said he couldn't yet predict when Aubameyang might return.

Southampton moves on to a fifth-round game away at Wolverhampton, which beat sixth-tier Chorley on Friday.

CITY UNDER PRESSURE