FA Cup - Third Round
Preston1Arsenal2

Preston North End 1-2 Arsenal

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FA Cup: Preston North End 1-2 Arsenal highlights

Arsenal progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup as Olivier Giroud's late goal saw off a spirited Preston at Deepdale.

The Gunners had fallen behind to their Championship opponents when Callum Robinson took advantage of poor defending to finish from close range.

Robinson then had a goal disallowed before Aaron Ramsey equalised early in the second half with a powerful drive.

Giroud then sealed victory with his fourth goal in as many games.

Wenger has now overseen 21 wins in the 21 FA Cup third-round games he has been in charge of at Arsenal, but it was far from a comfortable win after a disappointing first-half display in which Preston were unfortunate not to lead by more than one goal.

Upset avoided, but defensive concerns remain

Just four days ago, Arsene Wenger's side produced a shambolic opening 45 minutes at Bournemouth that left them trailing 2-0 at half-time.

They managed to turn things around in the second half to rescue a 3-3 draw, but for Arsenal fans there will have been a worrying sense of deja vu during the early stages of the first half on Saturday.

Preston, 11th in the Championship, have scored in every game they have played since 19 November and immediately had the Gunners defence on the back foot.

Aiden McGeady's creativity proved particularly troublesome for the visitors and the former Everton man played a pivotal role in Preston's opener. He beat Ramsey with a clever spin before his pass between Nacho Monreal and Gabriel ricocheted into Robinson's path and the forward fired home.

The rest of the key chances in the first half fell Preston's way, as David Ospina saved well from Ben Pearson before Robinson had a goal disallowed.

But to Arsenal's credit, they improved after the break. Ramsey's strike came out of nothing as he drove in from the edge of the area and they were more successful at containing Preston's attacks.

It looked like the tie was heading for a replay at Emirates Stadium but Giroud, who scored a 90th-minute equaliser against Bournemouth, left it late again and his deflected finish from Lucas Perez's clever backheel in the final minute ended Preston's resistance.

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Robinson gives Preston surprise lead

The year of Giroud?

Giroud's long-term future at Arsenal had seemed uncertain as he started the campaign on the bench and had to wait until November to make his first start.

However, the France striker has enjoyed a fine run of form since 26 December. He has scored four goals, including the winner against West Brom, the 'scorpion' goal against Crystal Palace and the dramatic Bournemouth equaliser.

Against Preston he was made Arsenal captain for the first time - perhaps as reward for his recent resurgence - and the 30-year-old could prove crucial in their bid to end the season with silverware.

Man of the match - Lucas Perez

Lucas Perez
Lucas Perez was Arsenal's best player in a poor first half by the Gunners and it was his determination to chase down a lost cause that led to Arsenal's winner. He has now played a part in 11 Arsenal goals this season (six goals, five assists)

What they said

Preston boss Simon Grayson: "We have got mixed emotions tonight. I am very proud of how hard they worked and the quality against a top, top team. We will draw the positives as much as possible and hopefully in the future we will be on the end of a victory, not a defeat.

"We stopped them playing and got on the front foot. We just didn't quite take the opportunities when they came. We have had good chances, but you need a second or third goal against a team like Arsenal.

"We warned the players to start the game quickly in the second half but we let Ramsey have room that we didn't in the first half. It was a kick in the teeth when the goal went in at the end."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "Someone reminded me yesterday that I have never been out in the third round in 21 years, but tonight, in the first half, it was close. Preston played with enthusiasm and quality in the first half, they were quicker than us all over.

"Maybe subconsciously we thought that it would be easier and at half-time we knew we could have been out.

"I believe that we have a togetherness and fighting spirit and that is why we have these comebacks. It was a typical cup tie with English enthusiasm and the crowd cheering on their team."

Record-breaking run - the stats

  • Arsenal have progressed past the third round of the FA Cup in each of the past 21 seasons, the longest current run in the competition.
  • Indeed, Arsene Wenger has never lost at this stage, with Arsenal last being eliminated by Sheffield United in 1996.
  • Olivier Giroud has scored in each of his past eight starts for Arsenal in all competitions, netting 10 goals in total.
  • Despite having the same number of attempts as Arsenal in the first half (eight), Preston failed to muster a single shot after half-time.
  • Arsenal have lost just one of their past 37 FA Cup ties against lower league opposition (0-1 v Blackburn in February 2013).
  • Four of Aaron Ramsey's five FA Cup goals have come in a third-round tie, with the other coming in the 2014 final.
  • Preston have lost 15 of their past 16 FA Cup games against top-flight sides, with a solitary win coming at Derby in January 2008 (4-1).

What next?

Arsenal have the fourth-round draw to look forward to. It takes place on Monday at about 19:10 GMT and will be broadcast live on BBC Two and online. The Gunners then travel to Swansea in the Premier League on 14 January, while Preston host Brighton in the Championship on the same day.

Line-ups

Preston

  • 22Maxwell
  • 2Vermijl
  • 5Clarke
  • 23Huntington
  • 3CunninghamBooked at 65mins
  • 12GallagherSubstituted forBrowneat 60'minutes
  • 4PearsonBooked at 75mins
  • 11JohnsonSubstituted forHorganat 81'minutes
  • 14McGeady
  • 25HugillBooked at 44minsSubstituted forMakienokat 75'minutes
  • 37Robinson

Substitutes

  • 1Lindegaard
  • 7Horgan
  • 8Browne
  • 9Makienok
  • 13Doyle
  • 17Spurr
  • 18Pringle

Arsenal

  • 13Ospina
  • 55Maitland-NilesSubstituted forHoldingat 90+2'minutes
  • 20Mustafi
  • 5GabrielBooked at 70mins
  • 18Monreal
  • 8Ramsey
  • 29Xhaka
  • 9PérezSubstituted forReine-Adelaideat 90+2'minutes
  • 17Iwobi
  • 15Oxlade-ChamberlainSubstituted forWelbeckat 83'minutes
  • 12Giroud

Substitutes

  • 16Holding
  • 23Welbeck
  • 25Jenkinson
  • 26Martinez
  • 31Reine-Adelaide
  • 41Da Silva
  • 68Willock
Referee:
Robert Madley
Attendance:
22,185

Match Stats

Home TeamPrestonAway TeamArsenal
Possession
Home32%
Away68%
Shots
Home8
Away17
Shots on Target
Home3
Away8
Corners
Home2
Away6
Fouls
Home10
Away6

Live Text

Match ends, Preston North End 1, Arsenal 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Preston North End 1, Arsenal 2.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Chris Maxwell.

Attempt saved. Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Jeff Reine-Adelaide replaces Lucas Pérez.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Rob Holding replaces Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Attempt missed. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Goal!

Goal! Preston North End 1, Arsenal 2. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lucas Pérez.

Attempt saved. Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Shkodran Mustafi.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Danny Welbeck replaces Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Daryl Horgan replaces Daniel Johnson.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Tom Clarke.

Foul by Alex Iwobi (Arsenal).

Ben Pearson (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Arsenal. Lucas Pérez tries a through ball, but Olivier Giroud is caught offside.

Offside, Preston North End. Callum Robinson tries a through ball, but Greg Cunningham is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Simon Makienok replaces Jordan Hugill.

Booking

Ben Pearson (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ben Pearson (Preston North End).

Attempt saved. Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with a cross.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Greg Cunningham.

Booking

Gabriel (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Gabriel (Arsenal).

Jordan Hugill (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ben Pearson (Preston North End).

Booking

Greg Cunningham (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Lucas Pérez (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Greg Cunningham (Preston North End).

Attempt blocked. Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Lucas Pérez.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Marnick Vermijl.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Alan Browne replaces Paul Gallagher because of an injury.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Jordan Hugill (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Paul Gallagher.

Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ben Pearson (Preston North End).

Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ben Pearson (Preston North End).

goal

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