Jack Wilshere’s late strike gave Arsenal a deserved 1-0 FA Cup win over Swansea City on Wednesday, while Manchester United also triumphed.
In the two remaining third round replays, the English giants recorded narrow victories as the famous cup competition was narrowed down to 32 clubs.
Wilshere struck with just four minutes left at the Emirates Stadium to give Arsene Wenger’s side their first win of 2013.
Rotations were high for the clash; Swansea made six changes and Arsenal three; and both sides made a lively beginning.
For all the intricate build-up play though, chances were few and far between in the early stages, with Francis Coquelin going closest when he stung the palms of Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm with a left-footed drive.
Swansea were always a threat on the counter-attack and were inches away from taking the lead when Arsenal old boy Kyle Bartley nodded a teasing Wayne Routledge cross against the post.
Arsenal almost scored before the half was out as well, with a lunging block from Dwight Tiendalli denying Theo Walcott from close range.
And Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen had a shot blocked by the shins of Vorm as both sides entered the break on level terms.
The Gunners came out firing after the break and after a neat Abou Diaby pass played him through, Walcott saw his effort beat Vorm.
Sadly for the Englishman his effort hit the post though, while Danny Graham and Leon Britton were forced to make goal-line clearances for Swansea as they tried to withstand what was becoming an Arsenal onslaught.
Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla wasted efforts to open the scoring and although Swansea introduced this season’s top scorer, Michu, off the bench, Arsenal continued to press with Walcott again denied by the woodwork.
Wenger’s side finally broke the deadlock on 86 minutes though as Giroud laid off for Wilshere, with the 21-year-old driving home a low strike from the edge of the penalty area to delight the home fans.
The night’s other match saw Manchester United defeat West Ham United 1-0 at Old Trafford.
Sir Alex Ferguson made a whopping 10 changes to his team for the clash and his side were far from convincing in the win, which came thanks to a ninth-minute goal from striker Wayne Rooney.
Rooney – playing his first game in almost a month after a knee injury – tapped home Javier Hernandez’s cross for the opener.
The English forward had a chance to double his account for the evening from the penalty spot with 11 minutes to play after West Ham defender Jordan Spence handled a Ryan Giggs cross in the penalty area.
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