Nottingham Forest fans have voiced their excitement after the club drew Arsenal at home in the FA Cup third round.
Steve Cooper’s side will welcome the record 14-time winners from North London on January 8, 2022, after the two teams came out last from the hat on Monday night.
It will mark the 101st meeting between the sides since they first played in 1904, and the fifth time they have met in the FA Cup.
Matt Marsden, 35, an IT manager and Forest fan, said: “I think we did well against them last time didn’t we?”
“We played Arsenal a few years ago in the cup and we beat them then.”
Indeed, it was at the same stage in the 2017-18 season that Forest won 4-2 against the Gunners, dumping the then-FA Cup holders out of the competition.
Two goals from Eric Lichaj made the American a Forest icon on that occasion, while penalties from Ben Brereton and Kieran Dowell secured the win.
Marsden added: “It looks like [Arsenal] are a better team now than they were then, so yes, it’s going to be a tough game.
“I think we’re on the up, so you know, if there’s not too much rotation in the side, it gives us a chance.”
Forest are, of course, on a run of just one defeat in 14 games after previous manager Chris Hughton was sacked and replaced by Cooper.
Simon Redgate, 39, is a Forest season ticket holder who lives in the city.
He said: “Arsenal will probably win, but you know, it’s the FA Cup so it could go either way.
Mr Redgate was in the crowd for the 4-2 win in 2018 and said: “They were in between managers at the time and [caretaker manager] Gary Brazil put a lot of faith in the youngsters.
“Ben Brereton had a good game, scored a penalty, there was Matty Cash, Ben Osborn, so it was a team packed with youngsters.
He added: “[Forest] stand a chance, yeah. It all depends on what kind of line-up Arsenal put out, they’ll probably want a cup run.
“They’re not going to win the Premier League so they’ll probably be thinking that the FA Cup is their best chance of silverware.
Both teams enter at the Third Round stage after it was made traditional for England’s upper-tier teams to do so in the 1925-26 competition.
There is debate, however, over whether it has led to some complacency from bigger sides in recent years.
Having been part of a group that attempted to start the European Super League last season, Arsenal would certainly be classed amongst this elite.
Nowadays, despite a proud history, Forest are a smaller side by comparison, and haven’t won the competition since 1959.
Asked whether the FA Cup was still taken as seriously by big teams, Matt Marsden said: “No, but then that gives us an opportunity to do well, doesn’t it?”
“I think, for the Championship teams – particularly with the form that we’ve got at the minute – it gives us an opportunity to go on a bit of a run.
“I’m not saying we’ll win it or anything like that, but I know Millwall and Wigan and lesser sides have got to the latter stages of the competition in the past, so it’s an opportunity.”
Forest welcome Arsenal to the City Ground on Saturday 8 January. Tickets are set to go on sale soon.