Yet again Arsenal put themselves in a difficult position and yet again they were lucky to escape from another embarrassing defeat yesterday against Preston North End.
Manager Arsene Wenger had stated before the game that the FA Cup was a priority for the Gunners this year, and he reflected that with a strong team selection. But the performance on the pitch was sloppy yet again. Preston were able to score and early goal and should have had at least one other, with a succession of chances not quite finding the net.
Things changed in the second half, but despite scoring an early equaliser Arsenal didn’t look fluid at all. Preston sat deeper and deeper but the attacking trio of Alex Iwobi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lucas Perez was highly disappointing behind Olivier Giroud.
The superior quality and fitness of the Premier League stars began to tell later in the game, as did the strength on their bench. Olivier Giroud’s late goal was just about deserved – but it was hardly convincing.