What with all the fixture congestion and the injury problems that Arsenal have had to deal with in the first half of the season, together with the fact that Arsene Wenger has often admitted that the FA cup is below the Premier League title and the Champions League on his list of priority goals for the Gunners, I was half expecting the Frenchman to field a team of nearly unknown players today.
But Wenger has given the FA cup and our opponents today all due respect by selecting a strong Arsenal team that includes the recent late goal and scorpion kick scoring goal hero Olivier Giroud. The big Frenchman will lead the line in what is likely to be a tough physical test away to the Championship club Preston North End and it looks like he will have Lucas Perez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the flanks with Alex Iwobi getting another chance to impress in the number 10 position usually played by Mesut Ozil.
Arsenal have a strong central midfield pairing with Ramsey and Xhaka in front of a strong back four that sees young Maitland-Niles join Gabriel, Mustafi and Monreal, with David Ospin between the sticks. Wenger has certainly picked a strong Arsenal XI, so will they get the job done at Deepdale today?