Jack Wilshere inspired Arsenal to a 1-0 victory over Swansea City during their FA cup third round replay tonight at the Emirates Stadium.
The two sides drew in the original tie 2-2 at the Liberty Stadium and the match was just four minutes away from going into extra time, but man of the match, Jack Wilshere smashed home the winner for the home side that sees them face Brighton away in the fourth round.
Arsenal had an incredible 26 shots with 16 going on target compared to Swansea’s six shot with just one finding the target, so that tells you how much Arsenal were in control of the game.
The first half however, was very much an even battle with Swansea just edging the possession figures, but neither side could really come close until ex-Arsenal defender, Kyle Bartley, headered against the bar. The defender did exactly the same in the original tie much to his frustration.
Arsenal’s best chance fell to captain, Thomas Vermaelen just before half-time when a loose ball fell to him six-yards out, but Swansea keeper, Michel Vorm, made a top class save to deny the Belgium.
The second half was very much a domination from the home side. Chance after chance fell their way but they couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net.
Theo Walcott was the first man guilty of wasting a chance when he was released through one-on-one but could only chip the ball wide. Then came a corner taken from the Englishman who found advancing Olivier Giroud, but the Frenchman could only head the ball wide.
In the 62nd minute, after pinball in the Swansea area, the ball fell to Jack Wilshere who thundered a ball goalwards but only to see Vorm make a fantastic save. The rebound then fell to Walcott who could only hit the ball straight at Danny Graham who cleared the ball of the line and away for a corner. From the resulting corner, Giroud hit a goal-bound shot that was once again cleared off the line, but this time by Leon Britton.
Another chance fell to contract-rebel, Theo Walcott in the 69th minute, but his curling effort from just inside the box didn’t curl enough and rolled wide of the far-post.
Chance after chance then fell for Arsenal from the likes of Wilshere, Giroud and Cazorla, but Vorm could not be beaten.
It took 70 minutes for Swansea to register a shot on target, but when it did, it nearly found the back of the net. A long-range shot from Ki was creeping into the far corner, but Szczesny produced a fine save to deny the Swansea man.
Then in the 85th minute came the winner and it was from that man Jack Wilshere. After a piercing pass from Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud’s first time lay-off found Jack Wilshere who then left-footed thumped the ball past Vorm much to the delight of the home fans and all the Arsenal players.
After the goal Arsenal kept the ball and saw it out until the final whistle. Arsenal will be happy with the result and advancing through to the next round, but they will be wondering how it was only 1-0.
The Gunners will now go to Brighton in the fourth round.
Man of the Match and goalscorer, Jack Wilshere, said after the game: “It was a great set-up from Olivier Giroud. I didn’t want extra-time. It was important we got the winner before 90 minutes. We know Brighton play football, they play great football.”
Alex William Batt