Danny Welbeck
Danny Welbeck could make his first appearance for Arsenal this season after returning from a knee injury he suffered in May last year Getty

Arsenal will travel to the Deepdale stadium to take on Preston North End in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday (7 January).

Where to Watch Live

Kick-off is set for 5.30pm GMT. Live coverage of the game will be on BT Sport 2.

Overview

Arsene Wenger begins his quest for a seventh FA Cup title during his Arsenal reign but will have a tough task against Championship side Preston North End. The Gunners have suffered a slump in recent weeks and had a difficult festive period and are coming into the game following a 3-3 draw against Bournemouth, which they were close to losing after being 3-0 down after 70 minutes.

Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Per Mertesacker, Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla are unavailable due to injury. The French manager however, is likely to make a number of changes to his squad or the trip to Lancashire and has already confirmed that top scorer Alexis Sanchez along with Mesut Ozil and Laurent Koscielny will be rested for the game. Rob Holding is likely to get the nod in defence while Oxlade-Chamberlain could join Alex Iwobi and Olivier Giroud in attack. Danny Welbeck could make his long awaited return from injury and take a place on the Arsenal bench.

Arsenal have a strong record against lover division sides in the FA Cup having lost just once in their last 36 matches – 1-0 vs Blackburn Rovers in 2013.

Preston North End are coming into the game on the back of a 1-0 win over Burton Albion and will be hoping to cause an upset when Arsenal visit. Simon Grayson's team are currently 11th on the Championship table, but league positions do not matter in cup games.

It will be exactly seven years on Tuesday when Grayson's Leeds United, then of League One beat Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United in the third round and the Lilywhites manager will be hoping for another scalp on Saturday.

Marnick Vermijil is a doubt for Preston owing to groin injury, while Jermain Beckford is suspended for the clash. Aiden McGeady and Paul Gallagher are likely to start the game for Grayson as they continue their comeback from injury.

What Managers Say

Simon Grayson: "It's a great game for our supporters, the players as well who are going to be up against some world-class players. We are not sure who is going to be in that team but whoever it is they will be international players.

"It's a tough task, but one we will thrive on and really enjoy and look forward to. If we cause an upset it would be a massive achievement. It would be up there with some of the results we have had and it would be fantastic for everybody.

"There is a lot we have to do to achieve that. But we know we have a chance, because we have some good players, an enthusiasm about us, a desire about us," via Eurosport.

Arsene Wenger: "I just believe that the cup is more intense, more concentrated, more focused on the day than any other competition.

"It's always that day or never and I love that. I've won the cup in every country I've worked in and, for me, it's something special. It's always a special opportunity," via Arsenal's official site

Betting Odds (betfair)

  • Preston win: 4/9
  • Draw: 19/5
  • Arsenal win: 13/2

Team News

Preston North End

Possible XI: Lindegaard; Baptiste, Clarke, Wright, Cunningham; Gallagher, Pearson, Johnson, McGeady; Makienok, Hugill.

Arsenal

Possible XI: Ospina; Bellerin, Gabriel, Holding, Monreal; Xhaka, Ramsey; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, Reine-Adelaide; Giroud.