Arsene Wenger has hailed Jack Wilshere for leading a more ‘balanced’ Arsenal team to a well-deserved FA Cup victory over a defensively stubborn Swansea side.
Producing a dominant performance in the centre of the park the England international finally scored a cracking winner with five minutes remaining, easing the tension in the terraces after the home side had squandered a host of fine chances.
The goal, volleyed in after a tidy assist by Olivier Giroud, now sets up an exciting tie away at Brighton in the 4th round.
Speaking after the game, Wenger praised his prodigy for a terrific all-action showing.
“He was outstanding tonight. I felt many players played well. As a team we played well and he was in a different position, he was high up and it suits him well.
“I have no experience of player being out for 17 months in my whole career, but honestly I always said that if we got Jack on January 1, then we would have done well. But he is ahead of what I could imagine.
“He is at the complete midfielder, he can play anywhere. He is a guy who can dribble and give a final ball, so the closer he is to goal, the better it is. He has quality and enthusiasm, and love for the game. That is the most important thing to me.”
Looking back on the game as whole, the boss continued, “It was unbelievable that we couldn’t score, but we got it in the end.
“We persevered and were rewarded and we had a good performance. It gives you a lot of regrets that we played with 10 men on Sunday when you see our second half and our game tonight.
“It is important that we continue to develop like that as a team.”
In further positive news the boss also hinted that the club were close to a resolution with Theo Walcott over a new deal. While there’s no doubt room for a few more tabloid ‘exclusives’ charting the twists and turns, Wenger admitted the saga was drawing to a close.
“I hope it will be soon, very, very soon now. I cannot tell you much more.
All in all, a much better day at the office. It’s Chelsea at the Bridge on Sunday and then three home games in quick succession at the Emirates. It’s time to build some momentum…