Arsenal have to be prepared for opposition commitment and attitude in every game
By Gavin Garthwaite
Thoughts on Saturdayís FA Cup visit to Deepdale
This was my first visit to Deepdale, but a couple of lads who I travelled up to Preston with had been before for our previous meeting in 1999. One of them still has the match worn shirt from Patrick Vieira!
The stadium in itself is quite modern, with four built up one tiered stands with a capacity of just over 23,000. There is a lot of emphasis on former players with the stands named after Alan Kelly, Bill Shankly, Tom Finney and the Invincibles Team of 1889, respectively.
The one thing that doesn't sit right with me is the Invincibles tag they give their former team. The fact it was only a 22 game season back in those days and the competition wasn't as fierce as it is today, devalues Arsenal achievement in 2004. In my eyes - there is only one Invincibles team!
The atmosphere before the game was building and I must say that for all the recent years of suffering (albeit a couple of FA Cup wins), we have such a loyal away support with fans that will follow Arsenal no matter what, through thick and thin. We love the club and it hurts us when we don't deliver on the standards expected of the players.
With team news confirming Cech, Sanchez, Ozil and Kos would be rested, there was a confident expectancy that the Gunners would outclass their opposition from the off and secure a relatively straightforward passage into the next round.
How wrong we were...
We never got going. Maitland-Miles looked out of his depth, Xhaka looked a shadow of the player he was for Switzerland in last summer's Euros and Gabriel looked his normal lightweight self.
If the scoreline had been 3-0 to Port Vale at half-time, I don't think anyone could have had any complaints.
I didn't feel a statutory Arsene Wenger team talk would have ignited something in the team for the second half, so it was difficult to see where the increased effort and commitment was going to come from.
How wrong we were again. Instantly Preston were on the back foot from kick off and Ramsey produced a neat finish to give hope to the travelling supporters, within 50 seconds of the restart. Preston were pegged back into their own half for the entire 45 minutes.
Iwobi looked sharper, The Ox was more penetrative and Perez showed glimpses of what he could be about.
Enter the captain for the day and the current man of the moment. When Arsenal call, he responds and again he got his late goal and rewards.
The passion from Giroud as he celebrated was fantastic to see. As fans, of course we want to see all the quality in the world but if we get the desire, hunger and commitment every game from the first eleven - then our performances will improve tenfold.
It was a case of job done in the end, but it could have been a nightmare. This would have given Wenger food for thought - so let's hope this provides a wake up call for the upcoming vital period of games for us.
A quick mention of Giroud and Ramsay mentioning in their post match interview that they were surprised with Preston's commitment and attitude... hello! This is the FA Cup and they are playing The Arsenal - we have to be prepared for this in EVERY game.
9th January 2017
User Comment and Reaction
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Ron 14:48pm 9th Jan 2017
With all due respect, yr 3rd para is badly misconceived. Competition levels in any era are relative. PNE were as equally'invincible' then as Arsenal were back in 04. You cant qualify that or split hairs over it either. Ill second yr view re away support though. Always been good. - Post No. 102527
Exeter Gunner 14:57pm 9th Jan 2017
If you tried to invalidate Preston's invincible season I suppose they could point out Arsenal actually lost 5 games that 'Invincible' season, just none of them in the league. And liked the line about Wenger being given 'food for thought'... don't you know what he's like at all? - Post No. 102528
mbg 16:41pm 9th Jan 2017
A big difference in the teams from 99 and the rubbish TOF has assembled now, and the displays, that team coached and marshalled itself, instead of pushing on it just goes to show how much we've regressed in the last eleven years, And would have given wenger food for thought and a wake up call ? don't make us laugh, him and his little dwarfs will still be as sleepy in the next game and the rest after that, TOF and his ballerinas never learn, and never will, it's you that needs a wake up call there. - Post No. 102535
Arseneknewbest 16:49pm 9th Jan 2017
I agree with Ron - it's a bit of a cheap shot to denigrate their season of invincibility in that way. Who knows? If the league had contained twice as many teams back then, it's conceivable that they could have gone through the season unbeaten, and therefore eclipse what we did. I know little about Preston but they are an old club who have had good times and good players - they deserve a bit of respect. "If the scoreline had been 3-0 to Port Vale (sic) at half time..." (your para 8) then we would have witnessed our first ever three-way FAC tie I guess. Gavin - of course they have to be "prepared for opposition commitment and attitude in every game". It's a truism really - but the point is that we have a manager who consistently fails to do that. If he leaves and is replaced by a proper manager, then we have a chance of at least ensuring that particular truism occurs every game (as it used to under GG much more of the time). - Post No. 102536
Ordinary Boy 13:12pm 10th Jan 2017
'Invincibles' isn't a tag 'they' gave their team, it existed for 115 years before we acquired it - Post No. 102573
mbg 16:19pm 10th Jan 2017
Ordinary Boy, yes indeed, it just wouldn't/doesn't do for someone else other than Lord wenger to have the title. wenger and Ozil out. - Post No. 102579
15th January 2017
Online Ed: Arsenal win comfortably at Swansea