McLeish Angry At Van Persie Elbow

The Villa boss is frustrated after Arsenal's stunning comeback.

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro

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Following Aston Villa's 3-2 loss against Arsenal yesterday, Villa boss Alex McLeish has spoken out against the questionable elbow Van Persie planted in the face of Carlos Cuellar.

The heated match saw Villa take a 0-2 lead in the first half before Arsenal fought back for the 3-2 victory, with Van Persie taking advantage of 2 penalties awarded to the Gunners following mistimed challenges from Dunne and Bent respectively. A deflection from Walcott's arm also contributed to Arsenal's win. 

Alex McLeish, who had previously complained that Walcotts deflection was a handball, used the post-match interview to vent his frustration at Van Persie's seemingly unintentional elbow to the face of Cuellar.

"I thought it was an elbow in the face, it was clear. But the referee didn't seem to see anything in that" he said of the lack of punishment given to Van Persie by referee Mike Jones.

"If it was an elbow in the face, I would like it looked at by the FA." thought he hit him. He lifted the elbow up towards his face. The big man is not a guy to lie down. He would get up pretty quickly.

"Look at my nose, it's the result of elbows throughout my career — it's dangerous. I don't like to point the finger at players but it's happened to me enough times."

Speaking of his teams loss, McLeish continued:  "I'm bitterly disappointed that we didn't see it out. Arsenal have a great cup record at this stadium. It's a missed opportunity. We thank our fans for their phenomenal support from start to finish and the players will be gutted at letting this lead slip."

Regardless of whether or not Van Persie deserved a card for the incident Arsenal were still the dominant side, having 66% possession in the first half despite being 0-2 down. They entered the changing rooms in the interval to a chorus of boos from their supporters, but came out fighting in the second half with Van Persie and Walcott in particular leading the charge. 

Henry was brought on in the closing moments of the game and, although he didn't extend the score line on the pitch, he did do his part as an impromptu manager when his squad were losing, pacing the touchline and shouting orders to his teammates.

Of the victory unintentional goalscorer Walcott said: "We always believe we can come back. It was a very dodgy first half but we've always got to believe we can win especially at home and we just went at them.

"This cup means a lot to us because obviously we haven't won anything in a long time."