Wenger: Arsenal’s Aston Villa fightback shows Gunners spirit

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says he understands fans' frustrations after Gunners book their place in fifth round with win over Villa

arsene wenger
Arsene Wenger's side will play Sunderland or Middlesbrough in the fifth round PA Photos

arsene wenger

Arsene Wenger hailed his side’s fighting spirit after Arsenal came from two goals down at half-time to beat Aston Villa 3-2 and book their place in the FA Cup fifth round.

Richard Dunne had nodded Villa ahead and Darren Bent netted on the stroke of half-time to put Alex McLeish’s side in command going into the break at The Emirates.

But the Gunners emerged for the second half inspired. Robin van Persie stroked home his penalty in the 56th minute after Dunne brought down Aaron Ramsey in the box, before Theo Walcott levelled matters just two minutes later.

Moments later, Bent was adjudged to have fouled Laurent Koscielny in the penalty area and Van Persie lashed in his second spot-kick of the game to win it for the Gunners.

On the back of three successive Premier League defeats, the home crowd voiced their discontent at their side’s first-half display when the referee blew for half-time – and Wenger insists he understands their frustration.

“Maybe because we are coming out of a bad period [they booed],” he said. “I am sad we cannot always keep them happy, the only thing we can do is show the spirit that we showed today.

“They have seen some interesting things today, I felt Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had another good game, and [they saw] we have some quality.

“I just want to do well for this club that I love. I understand that people question my decisions, but I wouldn’t understand if they questioned my commitment and my dedication.

“I hope [the win means] that we can bounce back in the Premier League as well. I hope it convinces the team we have the required qualities and we can transfer that to the Premier League.”

Arsenal will travel to either Sunderland or Middlesbrough to play for a place in the sixth round.

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