LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 22: Robin van Persie of Arsenal (R) celebrates with Theo Walcott (L)and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (C) as he scores their first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 22, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

FA Cup Round 4: Arsenal Stage Comeback To Overcome Aston Villa

Aston Villa were cruising 2-0 up at halftime but three quick goals by Arsenal spared the Gunners' blushes and saw Arsene Wenger's side advance to the 5th round.

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Yohan Cabaye Charged With Violent Conduct

Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye has been charged by the FA with violent conduct after kicking Brighton's Adam El-Abd in the face during an ill-tempered FA Cup clash.


Arsenal Vs. Aston Villa, 2012 FA Cup Round 4: Gunners Stage Big Comeback To Advance

Things were all going wrong for Arsenal at halftime. Down 2-0 after a neat header by Richard Dunne and a superb side-footed finish from Darren Bent, the hosts weren't playing particularly well and were being punished by Aston Villa on the rare occasions that Alex McLeish's side ventured forward. Although Arsenal weren't two goals worse than Villa by the interval, it was still a pretty sad performance, and much improvement was required in the second half was required to have any hope of getting to the fifth round.

Fortunately for the home side, they did get a much improved performance, coupled with Villa absolutely falling apart. A red tide crashed towards Shay Given's goal - Stephen Ireland cleared a shot off the line as Arsenal showed their intent early - and it was only a matter of time before the Gunners found the goal. They got their chance when Dunne took Aaron Ramsey out for no reason inside the box, leaving Robin van Persie to slot home the resultant penalty and start the comeback.

An error by Theo Walcott somehow ended up levelling the match - the Arsenal winger's failure to cut the ball back led to Villa being able to clear their lines only for Alan Hutton to blast the ball off the back of Walcott's head and into the back of the net. The visitors' misery was compounded further by another penalty (this time the bizarre combination of Laurent Koscielny as foulee and Darren Bent as fouler), and van Persie stepped up again to give Arsenal a 3-2 lead.

Villa would regroup and do a decent job of threatening Lukasz Fabianski's goal in the closing stages, but although they had a few chances to level managed to blow all of them, and the match ended at 3-2 after four minutes of stoppage time. Arsenal could breathe a sigh of relief - they've advanced to the fifth round to face the winner of the Sunderland-Middlesbrough replay - but neither side was particularly impressive at the Emirates today.


FA Cup 5th Round Draw: Big Names Avoid Tough Matches

Unlike the previous two rounds, the fifth round draw of the 2012 FA Cup has failed to present us with any marquee games. The time might be ripe for some giant-killings, however.


Round 4 Wrapup, 2012 FA Cup

Queens Park Rangers vs. Chelsea

Chelsea, facing an opponent who barely bothered to show up, made very hard work of things against QPR, scoring only when Daniel Sturridge took a dive to win a penalty, which was converted by Juan Mata. Once the Blues got the lead, however, the match was not in doubt - the hosts offered no serious attacking threat until the 98th minute and deserved their 1-0 loss. Chelsea's Brazilian midfielder Ramires appeared to sustain a major knee injury in the second half.

Blackpool vs. Sheffield Wednesday

An injury time penalty saw Blackpool claw their way back against Sheffield Wednesday to earn an FA Cup replay. It looked as though Clinton Morrison's second half goal would be enough to give the Owls a win at Bloomfield Road, but in the 93rd minute David Batth brought down Gary Taylor Fletcher and Kevin Phillips made no mistake in leveling things, the match finishing at 1-1.

Bolton Wanderers vs. Swansea City

Bolton's mini-renaissance continued with an FA Cup win against Swansea City that was more convincing than the 2-1 score would otherwise indicate. The Trotters had most of the possession and most of the chances only to go behind thanks to Luke Moore's classy finish just before half time, but they struck back before the interval when Darren Pratley headed in a Martin Petrov free kick. Chris Eagles put the hosts in the driving seat when he knocked home a rebound, and although Swansea showed some fight in the late stages, hitting the woodwork twice, Bolton wouldn't have deserved to be pegged back.

Derby County vs. Stoke City

Stoke threw their weight around against Championship opponents Derby, going ahead early after a corner kick when Cameron Jerome slammed home from close range, Robert Huth providing the assist while manhandling everyone in his path, and although the fist hour of the match wasn't particularly convincing from the visitors, they finished very strongly and got a deserved second when Huth slipped a shot between Frank Fielding's legs. The match finished 2-0.

Hull City vs. Crawley Town

Crawley Town won this match 1-0, which would be a much nicer story if they weren't the very epitome of evil.

Leicester City vs. Swindon Town

Jermaine Beckford notched a brace against Swindon, leading the Foxes to a 2-0 win that was more interesting than it probably should have been. Despite going ahead early, Leicester failed to dominate the first half against their lesser opponents, and it took some good goalkeeping by Kaspar Schmeichel to maintain their lead with Swindon playing neat passing football. Beckford's second, which saw the striker bounce on a loose ball twelve yards from goal just after the restart, killed much hope of a Swindon comeback, and Leicester were able to see the game out in relatively comfortable fashion.

Millwall vs. Southampton

Darius Henderson was the hero for Millwall as the forward managed to strike very late to level the score and earn a replay against second-place Championship club Southampton. It was a deserved draw - Millwall had the best chances of the match and really ought to have netted before the 89th minute. A host of blown opportunities looked as though they'd be punished by Richard Lambert, who headed a Dan Harding cross in just after the half hour mark, but Henderson popped up at the last minute to save the hosts, doing well to hold off a pair of defenders before lashing past Bartosz Bialkowski to make it 1-1.

Sheffield United vs. Birmingham

Although Sheffield United are on a good run of form in League One, they were out of Birmingham's league in this FA Cup tie and everyone knew it. Nathan Redmond got the Birmingham party started in the 18th minute and Adam Rooney added a second just before the break, with goals also coming in the 58th and 78th minutes. The only scare of the night for the visitors came when the Blades hit the crossbar just after halftime, but by that point Birmingham were already two goals to the good. The one-sided match ended up finishing 4-0.

Stevenage vs. Notts County

A Damion Steward own goal in the 12th minute would prove to be Notts County's undoing as Stevenage emerged from a closely-fought game as 1-0 winners. Stewart, who was somewhat unfortunate to have deflected Luke Freeman's shot past Stuart Nelson and into the back of the net, nearly managed to redeem himself in the last minute with an equaliser only to see Stevenage goalkeeper Chris Day deny him.

West Bromwich Albion vs. Norwich City

Simeon Jackson scored a late winner as the Canaries beat West Brom 2-1 at the Hawthorns to advance to the fifth round of the FA Cup. Grant Holt and Marc Antoine-Fortune traded goals around the interval before Jackson robbed Craig Dawson inside the Baggies box and hit a shot past Ben Foster and into the back of the net. West Brom rallied, testing Jed Steer several times between Jackson's 85th minute goal and the end of the match, but ultimately couldn't find the net, falling out of the cup at the second hurdle.

Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Newcastle United

We got our first big giant-killing of the round as Championship side Brighton dispatched Newcastle at the Amex Stadium. It wasn't a great match by any means and most of the more interesting moments were sadly rather unsavoury - Yohan Cabaye kicking Adam El-Abd in the face comes to mind - but Brighton, though probably worse than Newcastle on the night, defended sturdily enough that it's difficult to begrudge them their 1-0 win. The goal came when, in the 76th minute, Will Buckley surged down the left and his attempt at a driven cross ricocheted off Mike Williamson and spun out of Tim Krul's reach.

Sunderland vs. Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough came reasonably close to pulling off an upset at the Stadium of Light thanks to Barry Robson's superb early volley, but they were ultimately foiled by the returning Frazier Campbell. Campell was the beneficiary of James McClean's interception of Robson's backpass, and the striker - who'd been out for almost eighteen months thanks to a string of knee injuries - made no mistake when he slotted past Danny Coyne to earn a replay.


Liverpool Vs. Manchester United, 2012 FA Cup 4th Round: Kuyt Snatches Win For Liverpool

Liverpool vs. Manchester United was the tie of the FA Cup's 4th round and it failed to disappoint, with the hosts coming away the winners after a pulsating encounter at Anfield. Although United dominated for long spells of the match, it was Liverpool who started and ended by far the better, and they ended up deserved 2-1 victors in a match that somehow managed to overshadow (despite the TV camera's best efforts) the racism dispute between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra that led to a long suspension for the Uruguayan.

Testing David de Gea with long shots and crosses was the order of the day for Liverpool, and it wasn't long until he was made to work very hard in dealing with both Andy Carroll and Daniel Agger on a corner, which he got nowhere near. Fortunately for the young goalkeeper, Steven Gerrard's delivery was incredibly poor and the ball floated out of play. However, the danger was clearly there and it came as no surprise when the hosts opened the scoring.

The industrious Stewart Downing embarked on a driving run before Jose Enrique saw a shot deflected behind for another corner, and with de Gea more interested in tangling himself up with Andy Carroll than tracking the flight of the ball, Agger stole in and nodded home via the top of the goalkeeper's head. The goal can't have helped de Gea's confidence, but he should have done much, much better with that.

United were playing pretty well by this point - Antonio Valencia had already hit the post with a quite brilliant shot, and the visitors had most of the possession, with Paul Scholes running things from the centre of midfield. As time went by, his influence grew, and with United very much looking like the better side by the half-hour mark nobody was shocked when Park Ji-Sung met Rafael da Silva's cross with a very nice volleyed effort that left Pepe Reina with no chance.

There was an interesting incident in the second half where Maxi Rodriguez jumped in two-footed on Ryan Giggs only to have his offence completely ignored by referee Mark Halsey (there wasn't even a booking!), but the match was mostly about attacking rather than committing fouls, with both sides having good chances throughout the game.

The best, however, was saved for last when Dirk Kuyt, guilty of a poor header when presented with a clear chance minutes earlier, picked up a flick by Carroll and drove straight through the United defence, dispatching the ball past a helpless de Gea with minimal fuss with two minutes left to play, making the score 2-1.

There was time enough for Kuyt to come close to making it three in injury time only for the Dutch international to roll the ball just wide of the far post, but Liverpool will hardly be too bothered about the miss - after three minutes of injury time they'd beaten the hated Manchester United and advanced to the fifth round of the FA Cup, joining Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton as the teams in the draw so far.


Liverpool Vs. Manchester United, 2012 FA Cup 4th Round: Lineups

The pick of the FA Cup's fourth round fixtures is upon us - Manchester United travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool. Unlike today's other racist abuse derby, the two players involved aren't both on the pitch. Luis Suarez is suspended, but suspect some lusty booing to be directed towards Patrice Evra as he takes the pitch. Oh, and there's some sort of football match happening too, or so I hear.

Liverpool starting lineup (5-4-1): Pepe Reina; Jose Enrique, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Jamie Carragher, Martin Kelly; Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard, Maxi Rodriguez; Andy Carroll.

Substitutes from: Doni, Glen Johnson, Sebastian Coates, Dirk Kuyt, Charlie Adam, Jonjo Shelvey, Craig Bellamy.

Manchester United starting lineup (4-5-1): David de Gea; Patrice Evra, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Rafael da Silva; Park Ji-Sung, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick, Antonio Valencia; Danny Welbeck.

Substitutes from: Anders Lindegaard, Rio Ferdinand, Dimitar Berbatov, Fabio da Silva, Javier Hernandez, Michael Keane, Paul Pogba.


Watford Vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 2012 FA Cup Round 4: Spurs Win, Somehow

Tottenham Hotspur managed to sleepwalk their way through their FA Cup tie against Watford, completely failing to impress but contriving to win 1-0 anyway. The statistics tell the story - the Championship side were by far the more dangerous of the two teams competing at Vicarage Road, ending up with 25 shots (and hitting the post twice) to Spurs' six, and even Harry Redknapp admitted his team was fortunate to have escaped with a win.

Rafael van der Vaart got the only goal of the match just before halftime when Scott Loach failed to do enough to stop the Dutch midfielder's 25-yard shot, but Watford looked for all the world like equalising for most of the second half, with Carlo Cudiccini and his goalposts doing double and then triple duty in keeping the hosts at bay. But for all their good play and hard work, the Hornets couldn't get the goal they deserved, and it's Tottenham who advance to the fifth round of the FA Cup.


Everton Vs. Fulham, 2012 FA Cup Round 4: Toffees Come From Behind To Win 2-1

The second Battle of Gettysburg ended up won thanks to a pair of flank attacks. Despite Fulham taking an early lead in a match that was billed - in the USA, at least - as a showdown between Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey, the hosts put in a fine performance to come back in what was ultimately a comfortable win.

Things looked like they weren't going to go too well for the Toffees when Donovan forgot about defending early on, allowing his man to blow past him and Fulham to rip open the heart of the Everton defence. The ball ended up getting cut back for Damien Duff, and the Irish winger's goal-bound shot was blocked by Johnny Heitinga, which would have been good defending if not for the centre back using his hands to do so.

Up stepped Danny Murphy to dispatch the ball beyond Tim Howard and give the visiting Cottagers a 1-0 lead. While the situation seemed to be fairly bad news for Everton, they soon rallied, and Donovan redeemed himself by racing up the right wing and flinging in a pinpoint cross for Denis Stracqualursi to nod beyond David Stockdale for his first Everton goal.

A similar setup produced Marouane Fellaini's winner, with Donovan (who won his battle against Dempsey pretty emphatically) again the architect, crossing for the giant Belgian to cushion the ball into the back of the net. By this point, Everton were in more or less total control, and the only real threat to Howard's goal was a Bryan Ruiz snapshot which fizzed barely wide.

Tim Cahill hit the crossbar in the latter stages of the match, but David Moyes and company won't be ruing the miss too much - after four minutes of stoppages, Howard Webb blew his whistle and Everton ended up 2-1 winners.

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