Preston North End vs Arsenal Preview: The Invicibles meet

Preston North End vs Arsenal Preview: The Invicibles meet

Arsenal travel to Deepdale to meet Preston North End in the FA Cup, as the Gunners start their quest to claim a record breaking 13th triumph.

James Eagles

It's a game that sees the only two clubs in English top flight history to go an entire league season unbeaten, go head to head. There may be over 100 years separating Preston North End and Arsenal's respective invincible years, but both are equally impressive, one must say.

Although, there's been a rather large gap between the two sides in more recent years. Arsenal, consistently in and around the top, but never quite there; Preston yo-yoing between the divisions, unable to find stability. Their last top flight campaign came to a halt 56 years ago, a season where Arsenal finished 11th and Tottenham won the league.

But it's their time to test themselves amongst the giants of English football once more. Dare they dream of an upset? The FA Cup is held in high regard by the competition's joint most successful manager, Arsene Wenger.

Preston look for rare cup run

The last time Preston reached the Quarter-Final of the FA Cup was in 1966, in recent years all they have to show is a few Round 5 appearances. Last season, they fell out of the competition at this stage to fellow Championship outfit Peterborough United. The last time they faced Premier League opposition was two years ago in Round 5. Manchester United were the victors that day.

In terms of league form, Simon Grayson's side sit in 11th place in the Championship, after a decent run of results, having only lost one of their last six matches. Monday's trip to Burton Albion was made worthwhile by a 1-0 win.

Arsenal in need of result after Bournemouth draw

They don't do things the easy way, do they? It took Arsenal to go three goals down away to Bournemouth to spark them into life, snatching a last-gasp equaliser to cap off a stirring comeback.

The visitors will be keen to make their lives a little easier tomorrow evening, and keep up their proud record of having advanced past Round 3 in every year of Wenger's reign, now in it's 21st year. Having won the cup in two of the last three years, and holding Premier League status, Wenger's side are expected to ease past Grayson's challengers, having won all but one of their last 36 ties against lower league opponents.

But, take nothing for granted in the FA Cup.

Previous meetings

It's a fixture with a lot of history, just not recent. The two have met 79 times in all competitions over the years, the most recent clash coming in October 1999. They have met in the FA Cup 3rd round, in that year as well.

Date Competition Home Away Score
5.3.1960 Division One Preston Arsenal 3-0
23.8.1960 Division One Arsenal Preston 1-0
30.8.1960 Division One Preston Arsenal 2-0
4.1.1999 FA Cup Preston Arsenal 2-4
12.10.1999 Worthington Cup Arsenal Preston 2-1

Team news


Out: Beckford (suspension), Woods (knee), Walsh (calf)

Doubtful: Vermijl (groin)


Out: Coquelin (hamstring), Cazorla (achilles), Elneny (international duty with Egypt), Mertesacker, Gibbs (both knee)

Doubtful: Ozil (illness), Walcott (calf), Lucas (ankle)

Probable lineups

Preston North End (4-2-3-1)  Lindegaard; Baptiste, Clarke, Wright, Cunningham; Johnson, Brown; Robinson, Pearson, McGeady; Makienok.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1) Ospina; Maitland-Niles, Gabriel, Holding, Monreal; Ramsey, Xhaka; Reine-Adelaide; Iwobi, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Giroud.

Referee: Robert Madley