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29 January 2012
• Emirates Stadium, London
Referee: M. Jones
• Attendance: 60019
R. van Persie 54', 61'
T. Walcott 56'
R. Dunne 32'
D. Bent 45'
90' + 4'
FULL-TIME!! The referee blows his whistle and Wenger's men are in the fifth-round of the FA Cup. In a extraordinary cup tie, Arsenal found themselves 2-0 down before a fortunate goal from Walcott and two Van Persie penalties flipped the match on its head. The Gunners will face an away trip to Sunderland or Middlesbrough in the next round.
90' + 3'
Henry is nearly in for a fourth, but his touch lets him down and as he tries to cut in, the defender cuts it out. Surely Arsenal have done enough now?
90' + 2'
The Gunners looking to run the clock down now, as they win a free-kick deep in the Villa half and play it short with Van Persie holding the ball up.
90' + 1'
Sagna's first contribution is to slice a clearance up in the air inside his own box, luckily for him the a team-mate gets rid of it after.
Some good news for Arsenal fans, alongside the fact that it looks as if their side is heading for the fifth-round. Bacary Sagna has been introduced to the fray after returning to fitness following breaking his leg last year. Thierry Henry is also going to get a run-out. Four minutes of added-time at the Emirates.
Walcott with some good work on the right-hand-side, but his final effort is deflected behind for a corner. Van Perise plays it short, leaving just two men in the box.
Free-kick for Villa mid-way in the Arsenal half but the delivery is poor and goes straight into Fabianski's arms. The Gunners counter with Oxlade-Chmberlain but his shot is blocked.
As the final whistle nears Arsenal aren't sitting on their lead as they continue to look good value for another goal. It wouldn't be unlike them to throw it away late on though.
Yellow Card Laurent Koscielny
Chance for Robbie Keane! Villa's corner is headed down, and as the Irishman is about to hit the ball home, Van Persie gets a vital touch.
Corner for Villa, they take it short again as they did for one of their goals but this time Arsenal defend it better. However, the visitors did get a ball in eventually which Fabianski just about held on.
Oxlade-Chamberlain skips past his men yet again, he's having a good game. I wonder what the crowd would think if Wenger replaced him now...
Dynamic run from Oxlade-Chamberlain on the left, he gets the ball at his feet and then explodes out of the blocks before laying it off to Van Persie who swings in a teasing ball, but the Villa defence is equal to it.
For about the first time in this game, nothing has happened for a couple of minutes. Arsenal are still dominant though and look the more likely to score next.
Mikel Amatrian Arteta
Chance for Villa! Petrov receives the ball beyond the Arsenal back-four, he looked offside but the flag stays down, but the Villa captain can't find Bent in the middle as his pass is cut out.
Good hit from Walcott! The Gunners man breaks on the right-flank and unleashes a drive towards goal, the Villa keeper has to parry the powerful strike away.
Arsenal are getting their foot on the ball now, as they try to bring some normality back into the tie. A neat back-heel from Vermaelen on the right-hand-side finds Alex Song, who continues forward but is halted by Given.
Villa are going to have to dig deep to get something from this tie now, Stephen Ireland whips in a dangerous ball from the right, but Mertesacker heads clear.
So in an ironic turn of events. Just to clarify, the two players that gave Villa a shock 2-0 lead in the first half, have now both conceded penalties as Mcleish's men now trail 3-2.
Penalty Goal Robin van Persie
SCORED!! Van Persie slots home his second goal from the spot. 3-2 Arsenal, what a turn-around!
ANOTHER PENALTY TO ARSENAL! Kosicelney is brought down in the box by Bent, a typical strikers sliding tackle, you could say. Extraordinary!
Wayne Veysey at the Emirates: "Maybe Arsene Wenger had a revolver in his hand during his half-time team talk? Or maybe, more appropriately given his nationality, a guillotine. The mood is transformed here now, as Arsenal pour forward in wave after wave of attacks."
Goal Theo Walcott
GOOOOOAAAAALL! Arsenal equalise! What a strange goal, Walcott cut inside from the left and as Alan Hutton went to clear the danger, his attempted clearance hits the Arsenal player and bounces into the net past a helpless Given. What a cup tie this is turning out to be!
Penalty Goal Robin van Persie
SCORED! Van Persie makes no mistake from the spot, sending Given the wrong way as he brushes the ball low into corner. Dunne conceded the spot-kick with a rash siding tackle on Ramsey who was through on goal, but he escaped his second yellow card.
PENALTY TO ARSENAL!
The Gunners go close again with a powerful effort from Vermaelen, the defender is way out but the shot dips and moves going just wide.
Very bright start to the second-half, with Arsenal the better of the two sides. A powerful run from Oxlade-Chamberlain nearly brings a chance but the defence holds well. Then, neat link-up play from Ramsey, Rosicky and Walcott ends in the Welshman having a chance, but he has to stretch to poke the ball towards goal and doesn't get enough on it as Given gathers easily.
Off the line! The next corner comes in from the far side from Van Persie and Per Mertesacker's header is blocked by Carlos Cuellar on the goal-line.
Rosicky somehow gets a ball in from the right-hand side, the defender does well to head it behind and stop the ball reaching Oxlade-Chamberlain who takes the resulting corner which goes behind again, off a Villa player.
Arsenal kick-off in the second-half.
Some analysis on that first period from our correspondent Wayne Veysey for you: "We've got ourselves a really tasty cup tie here at Emirates Stadium following a job 'Dunne' very good by Villa in the opening half. There were boos to the right of the press box at half-time after Richard Dunne and Darren Bent capitalised on Arsenal's defensive slackness to put their team 2-0 up and place one foot, if not a full leg, in the fifth round. It's the same old story for Arsenal, who started well without much end product and then lost concentration at the back. Hope lies in a strong bench, where Thierry Henry is among those who lie in wait. Surely it is too much to expect for the club's greatest ever player to write a second FA Cup fairytale in three weeks."
HALF-TIME! As the players head for the changing rooms there will be vastly different team-talks from the two managers. Despite dominating the possession Arsenal have failed to create many clear opportunities and fund themselves 2-0 down after goals from Dunne and Bent. Be sure to stay with us for the second-half.
Goal Darren Bent
GOAAAALLLL! 2-0 to Villa! Arsenal are punished for throwing players forward, as Bent scores on the counter. The England forward's first effort is parried by Fabianski but the ball falls to Bent again who finishes.
Yellow Card Richard Dunne
Good chance for Ramsey, who shows brilliant close control in the box to sidestep a defender before smashing an effort goal-wards from an acute angle. Given manages to block the shot as the ball goes out for a corner. The Welshman takes the set-piece and wastes it with a poor delivery.
Arsenal are continuing to have the greater share of the ball, despite being a goal down, as they manage to pepper the Villa box without really having any more clear chances. A strike from Francis Coquelin could have gone anywhere after it is blocked by a slide tackle, but it ends up away from the goal.
Nearly even more luck for the Irish. A clearance from Koscielny strikes Keane him and is directed back towards Arsenal's goal, but Fabianski saves.
Wayne Veysey at the Emirates on that goal: "'We shall not be moved' sing the ecstatic Villa fans after watching Richard Dunne take advantage of Arsenal's defensive vulnerabilities. We have got ourselves a corking cup tie now. The hosts are going to have to be far more prescise with their final ball to take advantage of the threat of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott on the flanks."
Arsenal have replied brightly, Oxlade-Chamberlain firstly produces a cross which is cleared and then Rosicky hits a low-shot from distance which Given spills at first, but does gather in the end. Luck of the Irish ey.
Goal Richard Dunne
GOOOAAAALLL to Villa! Stilian Petrov takes the corner short to Keane and when the cross eventually comes in Richard Dunne heads a powerful effort past Fabianski!
A long-ball from Stephen Warnock plays in Robbie Keane who tries to flick it over Laurent Koscielny, but the defender blocks it and concedes a corner...
Fantastic cross-field ball from Ramsey to find Walcott on the near-side, whose touch is equal to it, but the Gunners' man can't find a red-shirt with his cross though and the danger is extinguished.
Oxlade-Chamberlain then shows his quality control by bringing an aerial ball down brilliantly, he then moves it on to Rosicky who shifts it to Van Persie. The forward gets to the byline and wins another corner. Villa clear the set-piece.
On-loan striker Keane beginning to get involved for Villa now, he controls the ball with a deft touch but misplaces his cross as the ball rolls out for a throw-in.
Another corner to Arsenal but the delivery is headed away. The ball falls to Oxlade-Chamberlain on the edge of the box who controls well and beats one man but then goes down after a slight nudge from the next defender, no foul given and Villa break with Robbie Keane playing in Agbonlahor on the left-flank but he over-hits his cross and the attack fizzles out.
End to end stuff at the Emirates. Darren Bent nearly beats Fabianski to a cross, but the English forward didn't really look as if he wanted it enough. Then the Gunners break with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who used that lightning pace to get away from his man of the left-hand-side, before cutting in a dispatching a low effort just wide. Good game.
Another good chance for Arsenal! Some good work from Walcott on the right hand side allows his to fire a dangerous ball into the middle, Van Persie gets something on it but can't direct in goal-wards. Ramsey is then fouled just outside the box but the Dutch striker hits the wall with the set-piece. If anything it was probably too close to the area.
Some neat passing around the midfield area from the Gunners, as you would expect, but no more chances as yet with Villa defending well.
Gabriel Agbonlahor pounces on some sloppy defending by Arsenal and breaks down the left eventually winning a corner, but the home-side defend it well and clear the danger.
Great chance for Arsenal! Theo Walcott wins the ball in the air and knocks it to Tomas Rosicky who then threads the ball through for the Englishman who races away from the back-four but slices his shot wide when one-on-one with the keeper. Should have done better there.
The game has started at a very good pace indeed, Villa launch a free-kick from deep into the Arsenal penalty box but Lukasz Fabianski punches it away confidently.
Theo Walcott uses his pace to break into the Villa half before passing it on to Van Persie, the Dutch forward cuts inside onto that dangerous left-foot of his but gets the ball slightly stuck under his feet and the defender puts it out for a corner. Again, the visitors clear the set-piece though.
Arsenal have a free-kick from a way out, Robin Van Persie rolls it short to Thomas Vermaelen who smashes it towards goal and forces a good diving save from Given. The Gunners fail to capitalise on the resulting corner.
A quick update from Wayne Veysey at the ground: "Welcome from a distinctly chilly Emirates Stadium, where the cold snap has extended to the reception for Andrey Arshavin, the new Arsenal scapegoat. When the subs were announced, Thierry Henry was greeted with a warm cheer while poor Arshavin's name was greeted with either indifferent silence or audible but, by no means vociferous, jeers."
Decent start by the hosts, they have had virtually all of the ball since kick-off and have the first attempt on goal, but Aaron Ramsey's strike is tame and straight at Shay Given.
The visitors get this FA Cup fourth-round tie underway.
The last time Wenger met Mcleish in a cup competition, the Scot defeated the Frenchman in the League Cup final with his former club Birmingham. That's about it for match facts, with kick-off imminent.
Only three clubs have won the FA Cup more times than Villa, Manchester United, Tottenham and today's opponents Arsenal, with the Midlands outfit triumphant in seven campaigns, however the last one was in 1957. If Alex Mcleish's men are victorious today, it will mean a place in the last 16 for the fourth season in a row.
Some BREAKING fifth-round draw news for you now. The winners of this afternoon's tie will face an away trip to either Sunderland or Middlesbrough, who face a replay after that draw I mentioned earlier.
The Gunners are the second most successful club in FA Cup history, being crowned champions 10 times (one fewer than Manchester United), finishing runners-up on seven occasions. Since the North-London club won the cup in 2006, they have only ever failed to make the fifth round twice.
Out of the 182 meetings between the teams, Arsenal have won 73, Villa 65, with 44 draws. In terms of the FA Cup, today's game is the 10th fixture, Arsenal have won six while the Villans won three of the past ties, the most recent being a quarter-final in 1983.
Sunderland and Middlesbrough played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in the other fourth-round tie earlier today, so let's hope that our two sides can follow on with a good game. Some match facts for you now...
Let's have a bit of reaction to Wenger's team seletion from Wayne Veysey at the Emirates: "Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose substitution caused such a furore against Manchester United a week ago, retains his place in the Arsenal starting X1 today but there is caveat from Arsene Wenger in the shape of a warning expecting too much of the 18-year-old. "I always said that I thought he would be ready in the second part of the season," writes the manager in his programme notes. "As expected, he's ready now, and he was so convincing that people did not want him to come off on Sunday. What he did was highly promising for the future, but in England you have to calm things down a little bit because the temptation can be to think 'one game, one star'. It doesn't work like that, but I'm a huge believer in Alex and I am confident that a lot more will come out of him this season."
Arsenal: Fabianski; Coquelin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen; Rosicky, Song, Ramsey; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Van Persie, Walcott. Subs: Szczesny, Sagna, Arteta, Benayoun, Arshavin, Park, Henry. Aston Villa: Given; Hutton, Cuellar, Dunne, Warnock; Ireland, Clark, Petrov, Agbonlahor; Keane, Bent. Subs: Guzan, Heskey, Bannan, Weimann, Lichaj, Baker, Gardner.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE! commentary of Arsenal v Aston Villa in the fourth round of the FA Cup. The Gunners will be looking to maintain their incredible home record in the competition under Arsene Wenger, having only lost once in 33 ties. Team news to follow.
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