Bloomberg News

Arsenal Rallies to Beat Aston Villa 3-2 in Soccer’s F.A. Cup

January 29, 2012

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Arsenal rallied to defeat Aston Villa 3-2 in English soccer’s F.A. Cup and set up a fifth-round meeting with Sunderland or Middlesbrough, who tied 1-1 in yesterday’s other match.

Goals from Richard Dunne and Darren Bent gave Villa a two- goal advantage at halftime at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium before the Gunners replied with two Robin van Persie penalties and a goal from Theo Walcott in a six-minute spell of the second half.

“At 2-0 down, it’s always going to be a hard task to come back,” Van Persie told ESPN. “But a crazy six minutes in the second half changed the game. We worked so hard and we’re excited for the next round.”

Arsenal, with its only win in four matches coming against Leeds in the last round of the competition, forced Villa goalkeeper Shay Given to tip over a free kick from Van Persie early in the game before Thomas Vermaelen fired a long-range shot toward goal and Walcott shot wide after a breakaway.

The visitors became more competitive and took a 33rd-minute lead with a header from center-back Dunne.

Arsenal pushed for the tying goal, with Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain testing Given with a low shot from 20 yards (18 meters), before Villa made it 2-0.

As the match entered injury time at the end of the first half, Bent collected a pass from Stephen Ireland and hit a shot that Lukasz Fabianski parried back to the striker, who scored with a low shot from a tight angle.

Two Penalties

Van Persie replied for Arsenal on 54 minutes after Dunne fouled Aaron Ramsey to concede a penalty. Soon after, Walcott scored when an attempted clearance hit the winger and rebounded into the net.

Another penalty kick was awarded when Bent brought down Gunners defender Laurent Koscielny and Van Persie scored again.

Arsenal hasn’t won a trophy since claiming the F.A. Cup for a 10th time in 2005. Van Persie said the players are ready to end that run.

“This cup means so much to us, we want to win this trophy,” he said. “We need to show the fans we’re ready.”

At the Stadium of Light, Fraizer Campbell scored on his return from an 18-month injury absence to earn Sunderland a replay at second-tier Middlesbrough.

The Premier League hosts, who trailed at halftime after a volleyed goal from Boro midfielder Barry Robson in the 16th minute, introduced former Manchester United forward Campbell as a halftime substitute.

Man Down

Sunderland tied the match on 59 minutes, even with only 10 players on the field after Wes Brown limped off with an injury. James McClean intercepted a backpass from Robson and crossed for Campbell to fire a low shot into the net.

It was Campbell’s first goal since April 2010 and he last played for the Black Cats in August that year. He has since suffered two knee injuries.

In other fourth-round matches, Liverpool defeated record 11-time champion Manchester United 2-1, Chelsea beat Queens Park Rangers 1-0, Everton won 2-1 against Fulham, while Tottenham beat Watford 1-0. Bolton won 2-1 against Swansea, Brighton upset Newcastle 1-0 and Norwich defeated West Bromwich Albion 2-1.

There were also wins for Stoke City, League Two club Crawley Town, Leicester City, Birmingham City and Stevenage. Millwall and Southampton tied 1-1, while Blackpool and Sheffield Wednesday drew 1-1.

--Editor: Dex McLuskey.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Cone in London at jcone@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.


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