JACK WILSHERE’S GOAL four minutes from time was just enough for Arsenal to see off Swansea City 1-0 in an FA Cup third-round replay at the Emirates Stadium tonight.
Arsene Wenger’s side had dominated the second half but a succession of chances that were either missed, blocked on the line or hit the woodwork meant the tie appeared destined to go into extra time.
But Wilshere, who was his side’s man-of-the-match, finally broke Swansea’s stubborn resistance and the Gunners’ reward is a trip to second-tier Brighton, who knocked out Newcastle, in the next round.
Swansea’s first chance fell to Nathan Dyer but Thomas Vermaelen made an excellent block, as did Kyle Bartley, the former Arsenal defender, at the other end when Abou Diaby unleashed a powerful drive.
And the Welsh side hit the bar in the 25th minute when Bartley rose to head Wayne Routledge’s delivery past Wojciech Szczesny as the Arsenal defence failed to react.
Arsenal came close with the first attack of the second period, with Walcott out-pacing Flores — who did appear to make contact with a hand. The England forward stayed on his feet, however, and saw his chip elude Vorm but bounce wide of the far post.
The visitors’ goal lived a charmed life as Vorm pulled off a fine parry to deny Wilshere and Walcott’s volleyed follow-up was blocked on the line by Graham, with Arsenal’s claims he had used an arm to do so ignored by referee Mark Clattenberg.
Swansea were hanging on grimly and Dwight Tiendalli twice blocked on the line, first to keep out Mertesacker’s header and then to clear Giroud’s shot. But the pressure eventually told when Wilshere finally beat Vorm with a well-struck shot from the edge of the box after Giroud had set him up.