Persie leads Arsenal fightback in 3-2 victory over Aston Villa

Arsenal staged a stunning comeback to reach the FA Cup fifth round as the Gunners recovered from two goals down to snatch a dramatic 3-2 win against Aston Villa yesterday.

Hot guns: Arsenal's Robin van Persie celebrates his goal. Pic/AFP

Arsene Wenger's side were heading for a shock fourth round exit after first half goals from Richard Dunne and Darren Bent put Villa in control at the Emirates Stadium.

But, three goals in seven minutes -- two Robin van Persie penalties sandwiching a lucky strike from Theo Walcott -- overwhelmed Villa and earned Arsenal a last 16 trip to Sunderland or Middlesbrough.

After a torrid start to the new year this was exactly the kind of spirited effort Wenger desperately needed to lift the gloom surrounding the north London club.

Earlier,  Sunderland came from behind to draw 1-1 with  Middlesbrough as the Premier League side forced a replay. Middlesbrough, who play in the second-tier Championship, took the lead through Barry Robson but Fraizer Campbell levelled the score for Sunderland.

Newcastle stunned
Second tier side Brighton, finalists in 1983, ousted Premier League high-riders Newcastle 1-0 on Saturday.
Newcastle could not break down dogged Brighton and were hit with a sucker-punch with 15 minutes remaining when Will Buckley broke away and his shot was deflected in by Mike Williamson.

FA Cup fifth round draw
Liverpool vs Brighton and Hove Albion
* Everton vs Blackpool or Sheffield Wednesday
* Chelsea vs Birmingham City
* Crawley Town vs Stoke City
* Stevenage Borough vs Tottenham Hotspur
* Norwich City vs Leicester City
* Sunderland/Middlesbrough vs Arsenal
* Millwall/Southampton vs Bolton Wanderers

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