Thursday 17 January 2013
Scroll down for the FA Cup fourth-round draw
Jack Wilshere and Ryan Giggs were singled out for special praise by their respective managers as Arsenal and Manchester United both progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup after narrow home victories over Barclays Premier League opposition on Wednesday night.
"Wilshere is back to what he was before the injury"
Arsene Wenger hailed Wilshere after the midfielder crowned a standout performance with a late winning goal for the Gunners at home against Swansea City.
Having already beaten Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in the Barclays Premier League last month, and drawn 2-2 at the Liberty Stadium 10 days ago to force the third round replay, visitors made a c confident start and struck the bar through Kyle Bartley, the defender who signed from the Londoners in August, but the hosts were much improved after the break.
But, inspired by the dynamic Wilshere, Wenger’s charges created numerous chances, with Theo Walcott coming close on three occasions, before Arsenal’s No10 buried a lay-off from Olivier Giroud from the area’s edge with four minutes remaining to set up a fourth-round trip to Brighton & Hove Albion.
"I didn't expect him to be this good at this stage," said Wenger of the 21-year-old, who was sidelined for 18 months with ankle and knee injuries before returning to action this season. "I always thought that if we could get Jack back to a reasonable level by January, we will have done well but he is ahead of what I could imagine.
"He is back to what he was before the injury. A complete midfielder can defend and attack and Jack can also dribble and give a final ball so the closer players like him are to the goal the better it is for them. He has quality and enthusiasm – and a love for the game, which is the most important for me."
Another England international made a goalscoring comeback for Manchester United as Wayne Rooney’s ninth-minute strike took the Red Devils into the fourth round.
"Giggs will play for another year"
Sir Alex Ferguson
The striker, who has been sidelined for five matches due to a knee injury sustained on Christmas Day, turned in Javier Hernandez's square ball from close range on nine minutes and passed up on the opportunity to double his tally when he sent a penalty over the bar with 10 minutes remaining.
As in the first match between the two sides, which also finished 2-2 at Upton Park, Ryan Giggs gave another telling contribution, and manager Sir Alex Ferguson was quick to laud the enduring quality of the Welshman he made captain for the evening.
"He will play for another year,” he said of the 39-year-old veteran. "There is no discerning signs of tiredness or weakness in his game; his quality is still there, he has fantastic balance and he has appetite for it. He is just an incredible human being."
With the victory United earned the right to host Fulham in the fourth round.
Arsenal 1-0 Swansea City
Blackpool 1-2 Fulham (AET)
Bournemouth 0-1 Wigan Athletic
Manchester United 1-0 West Ham United
Stoke City 4-1 Crystal Palace (AET)
Sunderland 0-2 Bolton Wanderers
West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Queens Park Rangers
All ties 3pm kick-off unless specified otherwise
12.45pm Stoke City v Manchester City
Bolton Wanderers v Everton
Brighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal
Derby County v Blackburn Rovers
Huddersfield Town v Leicester City
Hull City v Barnsley
Macclesfield Town v Wigan Athletic
Middlesbrough v Aldershot Town
Millwall v Aston Villa
Norwich City v Luton Town
Queens Park Rangers v MK Dons
Reading v Sheffield United
5.30pm Manchester United v Fulham
12pm Brentford v Chelsea
2pm Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur
4pm Oldham Athletic v Liverpool