Arsenal 1 - 0 Swansea: Wilshere saves the day for Arsenal
JACK Wilshere fired Arsenal into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a superb late winner against Swansea at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal - Wilshere (86)
The England midfielder – out for more than a year with ankle and knee injuries before returning to action this season – capped a man-of-the-match display to finally beat inspired Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm with a 20-yard strike on 86 minutes to set up a trip to Brighton and keep alive hopes of Arsenal’s first trophy since 2005.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger later hailed Wilshere. “Jack was outstanding,” he said. “He played in a different position, a bit higher up and it suited him well. I didn’t expect him to be this good at this stage.
“A complete midfielder can defend and attack and Jack can also dribble and give a final ball.”
Wenger hopes a contract extension with Theo Walcott can be pushed through sooner rather than later and maintains that is his focus rather than delving into the January transfer market.
“Let’s first try to finish the deal with Walcott,” he said. “I hope it will be very, very soon now.”
The Gunners were much improved from the lacklustre 2-0 Barclays Premier League defeat to Manchester City on Sunday and, but for a combination of poor finishing and brilliant defending, would have had last night’s replay wrapped up well before Wilshere’s fine late effort.
With France striker Olivier Giroud returned to the starting line-up and Walcott switched back to the right flank, Arsenal opened up full of the kind of movement lacking against City.
However, the visitors almost snatched the lead after 26 minutes when former Arsenal and Rangers player Kyle Bartley crashed a header off the crossbar.
In first-half stoppage time, Walcott’s corner rebounded back to Thomas Vermaelen in the six-yard box and his shot was booted off the line by Vorm.
Arsenal started the second half with intent and felt they should have been awarded a penalty after Walcott raced through onto Abou Diaby’s pass and looked to have been nudged in the back by Chico.
Swansea remained dangerous on the break and the Arsenal fans cranked up the temperature.
Wilshere’s shot was blocked by Vorm and Walcott’s rebound was kept out by Danny Graham on the line with the Arsenal striker claiming handball.
Arsenal continued to press and Wilshere’s 20-yard drive was beaten away by Vorm. In a rare flurry at the other end, Chico headed into the side-netting.
Walcott failed to connect with Bacary Sagna’s deep cross, which bounced back off the inside of the far post, but Vorm was eventually beaten with just four minutes to go when Giroud touched the ball off to Wilshere at the edge of the area and he lashed a left-foot shot into the net.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Diaby (Ramsey 82), Coquelin, Walcott, Wilshere, Cazorla, Giroud. Subs not used: Mannone, Podolski, Andre Santos, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arshavin, Jenkinson.
Swansea: Vorm, Bartley, Richards, Chico, Tiendalli, Agustien (Hernandez 59), Britton, Routledge, de Guzman (Ki 60), Dyer, Graham (Michu 71). Subs not used: Tremmel, Monk, Shechter, Davies.
Referee: M Clattenburg
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: West