London: Arsenal staged a remarkable recovery from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 as they kept their FA Cup hopes alive with a dramatic fourth round win at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
The Gunners, without a major trophy since winning the FA Cup seven years ago, were booed off by their own fans at half-time with their realistic chances of winning a trophy this season left hanging by a thread after a Richard Dunne header and Darren Bent strike had put Premier League rivals Villa 2-0 in front.
But three goals in seven second half minutes courtesy of two Robin van Persie penalties separated by a Theo Walcott effort, after an Alan Hutton clearance rebounded in off the England international, turned the match on its head.
"We wanted to stay in the Cup," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told ESPN when asked how the Gunners had recovered.
"Two-nil was very harsh for us at half-time. It was just a question of keeping our structure and then we got an early (goal to make it) 2-1."
Frustrated Villa manager Alex McLeish added: "We had a terrible eight minutes...The goal they (Arsenal) got gave them a huge lift and they scored the second goal far too quick after that."
Arsenal, still in the Champions League but 18 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, will now play either Sunderland or second-tier Middlesbrough in the last 16 after they drew 1-1 earlier on Sunday.
Middlesbrough were on course for an upset win at north-east rivals Sunderland's Stadium of Light when Barry Robson gave them a 16th-minute lead with a spectacular volley.
But the hosts levelled just shy of the hour mark when Fraizer Campbell struck a first time shot from a cross by James McClean after Robson's poor attempted back pass gifted Sunderland possession.
"We started off slowly in the game, which was surprising considering it was a cup game, and an important match for us," Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill told ITV.
"But in the second half we got a bit of tempo in the game. Fraizer Campbell got us a big goal, gave us a big lift and then we thought we might be able to get it, but it would have been hard luck on Middlesbrough and we both live to fight another day."