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17 January 2013
• Emirates Stadium, London
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 58359
J. Wilshere 86'
It was a sad day for Swansea, but a great day for the Gunners. Neutrals, however, will forever remember this day as the Wilshere show. Good night, folks, I've been Tim Poole and you've been a superb audience.
The home side kept pushing and pushing, although Swansea did some pressing of their own - Kyle Bartley heading against the crossbar in the first half. Still, it was the talismanic Wilshere who was really the only man to do anything of note, scoring the pivotal winner.
The referee blows his whistle and it's jubilant scenes for the 50,000 or so Arsenal fans to have made the journey tonight! Full-time and it's 1-0 to the Gunners thanks to a brilliant late strike from 21-year-old Jack Wilshere.
90' + 2'
It won't get any easier in the next round if the Gunners do hold on, with a tough trip to Brighton on the cards. But Arsene Wenger will be delighted to have passed this difficult test.
90' + 1'
Three minutes of injury time here but it looks a foregone conclusion. Swansea sending long balls into the Arsenal box but even now the hosts look likelier to score on the break.
It was all building up and now everything seems how it was meant to be. The hosts were getting restless but Wilshere coolly and calmly put paid to any doubts. Fantastic from the England midfielder.
Only 21 years of age but so, so important for his side. A fantastic half-volley from outside of the area sees Wilshere give Arsenal a precious, precious lead.
GOALLLLL! Jack Wilshere strikes for Arsenal!!! That dramatic goal has come!!!
CHANCE! Can Arsenal come any closer? I'm running out of words to describe how close they've come as another block denies Giroud this time.
Yet another save from Vorm! Make that a double save! Walcott denied initially before the Swansea goalkeeper sends the ball out for a corner. Wilshere and Cazorla are doing everything to try and break the deadlock, but Arsenal are not putting their chances are away!
Abou Diaby comes off, signalling an end to an impressive 81 minute contribution from the Frenchman. His return from a three-month lay-off is going rather well. Welshman Aaron Ramsey replaces him.
End to end stuff as Swansea first come close but are denied by Szczesny's safe hands and Walcott's header hits the post!
The Swans are seeing more of the ball now and have even dared to enter the Arsenal half. Whether this has changed the course of the match is another matter, however.
A goal now would be a dramatic one as extra-time has looked a likely outcome for quite some time now. The Gunners have come at the visitors will all they have but the Welsh side have been sensational at the back.
The home side persist in trying to break the Swans' defence down with passing moves that initiate in midfield. Arsenal go central then look wide before a cross is delivered, or - as has frequently occurred - a corner is won.
And another chance for the home side! Vorm has been a revelation for the Swans since announcing himself on the Premier League stage but rarely has the shot stopper had to work harder to earn his salt than tonight.
If this goes to extra-time, be sure to follow it here. Live on Goal.com!
Graham - a surprise starter in my view - is replaced by Michu on 70 minutes and massive boos ring out around the Emirates. The Arsenal fans know how dangerous this man is and have made their feelings clear - they don't want him anywhere near the pitch!
All Arsenal, nonetheless. But the Swans are defending resolutely. This has been a magnificent defensive effort from the away side.
Is it? Could it really be? Yes... the villain in Mertesacker's nightmares... Michu is preparing to come on!
But what's this... there's a Spaniard coming on...
Our man on the ground Jay Jaffa 'does not know' how Arsenal have not scored - and I can certainly agree. The Gunners are piling on the pressure, here.
Remember, Swansea have won at the Emirates already this season. They have also won at Anfield and Stamford Bridge in the Capital One Cup.
Is a goal coming? It certainly seems that way. And if the inevitable is to happen, it will surely be the home side who get it. Still, if the visitors can weather the storm here they will know just one counterattack could sneak a famous win.
Arsenal have had 13 shots to Swansea's four. The Gunners have also had five shots on target to the visitors' none. Dominant but wasteful from the hosts!
It's absolute pandemonium here! A string of chances unfold from the corner as Danny Graham first blocks off the line and another header is cthen leared off the line just moments later. Earlier, Wilshere had gone close but was expertly denied by Vorm.
Jonathan De Guzmán
Chico Flores intervenes to stop yet another Wilshere run. Good defending from the visitors but the hosts are smelling blood here.
Laudrup ringing the changes, here, with Ki and Agustien coming on for the visitors.
Another corner for the hosts, their seventh of the match. Walcott has taken them all and this time whips a great ball in that Giroud is able to get on the end of. Unfortunately for the home fans, the Frenchman sends his header just wide.
The hosts win a corner, however, and are turning the screw once more.
Michael Laudrup - linked with the Real Madrid manager's job (premature, however it may be) - has rotated his squad to good effect recently. He's changed the shape of his side again today but so far it has suited his side aptly.
Despite bundles of empty seats around the Emirates, the home fans are making some real noise. My word, they want their players to respond. The visitors are frustrating them, however, and are holding their cards (and the ball) close to their chest.
Giroud comes close... well, he had a shot. It wasn't close, in fairness, but if we're being fair we must also admit that Arsenal are getting nearer and nearer. Walcott with the best chance so far, with ease, though.
The shot was caught sweetly by the Spaniard's right-foot, and though it was down the middle, it had enough height to cause Vorm problems.
The home side have definitely come out with purpose in this second 45 as Wilshere produces another fine run and pass to Cazorla, who fires a stinging shot just over from distance.
BIG CHANCE! The first real poignant moment of the half sees Walcott, albeit slightly off-balance, go one-on-one with the keeper and send a delicate chip very narrowly wide.
And.... we're..... off!
It's anyone's game this - who said the FA Cup has lost its magic? Join us soon for the action's resumption.
The half-time whistle brings an eventful 45 to an end. Considering the first leg, this tie has still seen four goals already, despite a lack of clinical finishing thus far this evening.
45' + 1'
CHANCE! The final moment of the half sees Vermaelen snap a lethal shot in from the corner but Vorm saves brilliantly with his legs.
One minute of injury-time added as Giroud attempts to win a corner down the left... and to the surprise of many fans, does so successfully.
The hosts are holding the ball but in unadventurous fashion. It also doesn't help that the away side are very much holding them back. Half-time looms.
Cazorla finds Coquelin finds Gibbs finds Cazorla... ping ping ping, but the Spaniard's final pass is not met by anyone and sizzles tamely into Vorm's hands. It's as though Cazorla had too much vision for the rest of his teammates.
The pendulum has swung from side to side this half, with both teams enjoying productive and quiet periods in equal measure. Now would seem to be Arsenal's turn again, although Cazorla wastes a pass that could very well have led to something..
But a chance for the home side, perhaps their best of the half so far as Wilshere drives forward yet again and is dispossessed, with the ball rolling to Walcott who thumps a drive straight at Vorm. Power but no placement.
No goals spell drama - and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see extra time here. For a side who have not won a major trophy since 2005, the Gunners just don't look that up for it. Swansea's itch may burner hard though, having only ever reached the FA Cup semi-finals.
A pattern has developed whereby the hosts provide a few moments of football and then leave it to the visitors - who you would assume were the more accomplished side based on this performance.
The away side continue to cling onto the ball like a cat would a ball of string.
The visitors' turn to show how the beautiful game is played with some slick passing as De Guzman plays a great through ball into Dyer, who is prevented from getting his shot away by Vermaelen. Corner.
Swansea holding the ball very efficiently when they are in possession but it's a period of Arsenal dominance at the minute, with every white shirt stuck deep behind the half-way line.
Wilshere makes a sensational run into the visitors' box but is ruled offside after a very effective one-two with Walcott.
A brief period of calm breaks out after a frenetic end-to-end few minutes. A chorus of 'Come on Arsenal!' attempts to get things going again.
The visitors know they could very easily be 1-0 up here and may live to regret not taking a good chance as Diaby and Wilshere dictate things in midfield. On this occasion, however, Diaby is penalised for bringing a Swansea midfielder to the floor.
But now a free-kick down the other end for the home side, though it is skewed well wide.
CHANCE! Bartley heads against the bar for the visitors after a fantastic cross from Routledge. Dyer started the move with a calm sideways pass to Routledge - who was in acres of space and the woodwork was then severely rattled, Swansea are making an impression here.
The visitors are very much earning themselves a reputation as a cup side this season, having already made the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup - and having one foot in the final.
An even game at the moment. Despite Arsenal's persistence, Swansea look in no way intimidated by their higher-ranked opponents and are passing the ball around well.
Mertesacker at full stretch to cut out a long ball in behind from the visitors. It's not often you see the German at full speed - and even then you'd think it was just Lukas Podolski jogging.
And Vermaelen's free-kick sails just over the bar after clipping the wall, a venomous shot there that leads to an Arsenal corner. Francis Coquelin takes a strong shot thereafter but it goes straight to Vorm.
A surprising stat for you early on, however, as it is revealed Swansea have had 57% of the possession so far... but it's Arsenal with the chances and the hosts now have a free-kick on the edge of the box after Theo Walcott seemingly tripped over and was fortuitously given the benefit of the doubt.
Danny Graham fires a rare shot at goal for the visitors but it peters out without any sign of a threat to Szczesny.
To throw a cliche out there... it's Arsenal so far.
Chance for the home side! Diaby comes close but has his shot blocked before Gibbs wins a corner for Arsene Wenger's men.
Theo Walcott is almost slipped in behind the Swansea defence, early danger signs for Arsenal as the home crowd egg their side on with raucous support.
It's goalless here so far at the Emirates as a Gunners side who have not won in 2013 attempt to break down Michael Laudrup's Swansea, who are unbeaten in seven games in all competitions.
Danny Graham is looking extremely isolated up front for Swansea on his own, Swansea need more force in midfield. They are currently getting overrun.
And here is our man at the ground, Jay Jaffa, with his thoughts on the early action: "Lively start from Arsenal who are pressing Swansea all the way back to their goal-line and they have just fashioned a good chance thanks to Theo Walcott's electric burst past Dwight Tiendalli, who is playing left-back. Walcott's cross is right on Olivier Giroud's head, but the big Frenchman can only guide it over Michel Vorm's crossbar.
CLOSE! Arsenal controlling proceedings at the moment and Giroud could, and probably should, have given his side the lead after latching into Walcott's near-post header... but, he can't direct it on target. Poor finishing, that.
Oh dear, it is going to be a long game for Swansea if they continue to defend like that. While initially looking under no pressure at the back, hesitance from Chico almost allows Walcott to nip in, before the centre-back recovers in the nick of time.
Arsenal straight on the front foot as Walcott tries to find Wilshere's darting run into the area, but Richard's sticks out a leg to intercept.
And we are underway!
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