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Jan 16, 2013

Wilshere receives plaudits for late winner

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and captain Thomas Vermaelen were full of praise for Jack Wilshere after the young midfielder's late winner sent the Gunners into the FA Cup fourth round at the expense of Swansea.

• Highlights: Arsenal 1-0 Swansea
• Laudrup: Arsenal deserved win
• ESPN Analysis

Wilshere struck late on at Emirates Stadium to secure a 1-0 victory over the Swans, just as it looked like the match was destined to head into extra-time.

Vermaelen hailed his team-mate's decisive contribution, saying: "He's a world-class midfielder and he showed again today, he played really well and was important for us. I'm really happy for him that he got the goal, and happy for the team.''

Wenger echoed his skipper's sentiment, telling ESPN: "What is pleasing is that he's ahead of schedule. Jack is completely back to his best and I would never have believed that would have happened as soon as January.

"He can play everywhere - he can defend and attack. He has got back his burst with the ball so I used him closer to the strikers and he was always dangerous.''

And the Arsenal manager was relieved to finally break the deadlock, adding: "I always felt maybe one (chance) will go in. It was unbelievable that we didn't score (earlier). At least we scored before the end.''

Wilshere was delighted to have netted the winner and immediately looked ahead to the Gunners' FA Cup fourth round clash with Brighton.

"I don't know if I'll ever hit another one like that in my life, and it was a great set-up from Olivier (Giroud)," Wilshere told ESPN. "It was important we got the win in 90 minutes, we'd created chances (before the goal) but we just couldn't put it in.

"We know what the FA Cup means in England. It's a great competition and we wanted to be in the next round, but we've got a tough game away to Brighton.''

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup saluted his side's defensive efforts but admitted Arsenal were deserving winners.

"The first half was very even, they had a bit more of the ball but we were at the same level,'' he said. "In the second half they were the better team, they deserved the win and good luck in the competition. They created chances and pushed us back, we defended great but we couldn't get out of there.

"It was nice to see Michel Vorm back at his best and we blocked a couple of big chances. They had one or two where you say 'How did they miss that?', and then they scored with a few minutes left. Last time it was us, this time it was them.''

• Be part of the Budweiser 2012-13 FA Cup fan film. Share your photos on Twitter: #tothedream

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