Arsene Wenger admitted Preston North End were “unlucky” to lose to Arsenal in the FA Cup on Saturday and blasted the Gunners’ first-half performance in the 2-1 victory.
Arsenal stumbled out of the blocks for the second time this week (the first coming in a 3-3 draw with Bournemouth) and went behind after just seven minutes when Callum Robinson took advantage of poor defending to put the Championship side ahead.
Preston had several good chances to double the lead before the break as Arsenal kept making sloppy mistakes, but the visitors responded after the break as Aaron Ramsey equalised in the 46th and Olivier Giroud netted the winner in the 89th.
It had echoes of the Bournemouth draw on Tuesday, when Arsenal were also outplayed in the first half before mounting a late comeback, and Wenger was not impressed.
“The only positive in our first half was we were only 1-0 down,” Wenger told BT Sport. “In the second half it was a completely different game, but they defended well.
“They [Preston] can feel a bit unlucky tonight because they’ve created chances in the first half and we needed to give absolutely everything to win the game.
“We were not at the races in the first half, beaten everywhere. We were not compact, and didn’t win the duels. We were outplayed in the first half. But sometimes when you come out of the Christmas period and subconsciously you think it will be a bit easier, it’s more difficult in the FA Cup.”