With matches against Bournemouth and Preston North End this week, there was plenty to talk about.

Starting with the 3-3 draw against Bournemouth, in which the Gunners came back from 3-0 after an abject performance, Arsene Wenger was full of comments about mental tests, excuses about Arsenal being unlucky and coming back.

It’s more than a little frustrating since this is a reoccurring theme when it comes to Arsenal and rather than just put his hands up and admit how horrific we played, I feel like Wenger acts as a buffer between us and the players. All this does, however, is make him seem in denial.

“I thought we suffered defensively,” Wenger told Arsenal Player.
“They looked sharper than us at the start. It took us a while to get into the game and you could see they had better recovered than us – that was predictable. 
“It’s difficult to say [whether it was down to tiredness]. I could see we were not at our usual level. I believe that we were not on even ground with our opponents, that is for sure, in the preparation of the game. 
“We were a bit unlucky as well, I think penalty or not a penalty… after on the third goal we were unlucky again. But we have to cope with it and I think we responded very well.
“I felt that it was a mental test for us to fight back. We have shown an outstanding fighting spirit to come back and it shows great resilience and a refusal to lose the game – that is quite positive.”
Moving on to the FA Cup clash against Preston North End, the players began their media duty of attempting to rally the fans after a disappointing result. This week, it was Rob Holding’s turn to talk about how great the fans are and how important they are to results.
“I always say it’s the crowds [that make cups special],” Holding said.
“The crowds make it different. To a footballer it’s just another game, but the crowds are a bit more up for it and the away fans have a bigger capacity than normal, so there’s a bit of that rivalry and it gets everyone going a bit.”
The boss also explained why he was giving Alexis Sanchez a rest for the game, considering how much the Chilean has been playing recently.
“Alexis wants always to play,” said the boss, “and on one side when I don’t play him, people say ‘why don’t you play him?’ and on the other hand I am criticised for using him too much. 
“But I always planned in my head, no matter what happens, that in January he will need a breather. 
Wenger also confirmed that it looks like the club will extend Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla’s contracts, saying, “We have an option on both of them and I think we will take it.”
Although he admitted that he doesn’t know what Santi will be back after his ankle surgery.
“At the moment, he is far [from returning]. It’s not going as quickly as I imagined it, so certainly in January he will not come back.”
Finally, Arsenal managed to beat Preston 2-1 in the FA Cup after going 1-0 down early on. Olivier Giroud scored the winner, making that five goals in five starts this season. Here’s what Wenger had to say about the French striker.