• Arsenal striker 'put elbow to Cuéllar's face,' says Alex McLeish
• Aston Villa want FA to look into incident at the Emirates
Robin van Persie, Arsenal's match-winner in a tumultuous FA Cup tie, could be in trouble with the Football Association after Alex McLeish complained about an alleged elbow on Carlos Cuéllar three minutes after the Dutchman scored the game's decisive goal.
Van Persie made contact with the defender in the middle of the pitch as he tried to control a long clearance from Lukasz Fabianski. The referee, Michael Jones, was close to it and allowed play to continue. No retrospective action can be taken if the official confirms to the FA that he saw the incident.
Although Cuéllar did not make a fuss, and even McLeish sounded doubtful about its severity until he had a second viewing, Aston Villa's manager did suggest the governing body look at it if there was a clear offence.
"If you look at my nose it's the result of elbows throughout my career," he said. "The referee didn't seem to think there was anything in it. I thought he put an elbow to his face. It's dangerous. I don't like to point the finger at players but it's happened to me enough times," he said, rubbing at his battered features.
Van Persie enjoyed an otherwise profitable afternoon, as his composure from the penalty spot enabled Arsenal to mount an unlikely recovery, coming back from a two‑goal deficit at half‑time. He took his goalscoring tally for his club to 120, joining another famous Dutchman, Dennis Bergkamp. He also had some choice captain's words at half‑time, which were heeded.
Arsène Wenger was delighted to see his team react from a position of desperate concern. To go out of the FA Cup, on the back of three consecutive Premier League defeats, would have added to the negativity in these parts. His players took that on board at half‑time and came out intent to do something about it. They scored three times in seven highly charged minutes.
"I was very impressed because when you come out of a bad period and you are 2-0 down you can feel sorry for yourself," said Wenger. "Or you can show you have the mental qualities to play for this club. So I was very proud that the team came out on full cylinders and showed they're not ready to lie down.
"I hope from that we can bounce back in the Premiership as well and it will convince the team that we have the needed qualities to transform that form. I sense that battling spirit. Sometimes I feel last year was a learning process. We went for four trophies and in January we were still in all four. When we played the final of the Carling Cup we were a bit nervous maybe because we hadn't delivered. But they've learnt from that and hopefully they can show it this year."
McLeish was, naturally, saddened to see his team throw away a handsome opportunity. "It's difficult for me to explain that seven minutes. It's a missed opportunity. We have to learn from that and try to attain that winning mentality."
There was further good news for Arsenal when Wenger revealed that the initial signs on Jack Wilshere's injury are better than expected. "The first news we have is quite positive. He's not in a boot. His morale looks quite good. I hope it will be a short setback. There are more tests this week."