The Preston manager was planning a quiet meal out with his wife and children when North End were picked to face the Gunners in one of the most intriguing pairings of the round.
"The pub just erupted when the draw was made," the former Celtic centre- half said. "It's the biggest game the club has had for years and I could tell straight away what it means to our fans."
Moyes and his ambitious club could pick up a small fortune from the tie against the holders, with a sell-out 21,000 crowd expected and perhaps live television revenue as well. However, Preston are going all out to reach the First Division and Moyes said: "I hope this does not take away from our main job of promotion. But on the plus side it will keep the players on their toes and desperate to make the team for the Arsenal tie."
Manchester United, the winners in 1996, have an attractive home encounter with Middlesbrough, managed by the former Old Trafford stalwart Bryan Robson, in one of two all- Premiership ties. United have been installed by bookmakers as the 5-1 favourites for the Cup.
Leeds United, currently in third place in the Premiership, must face a non-League team, with the winners of the Rushden & Diamonds against Doncaster Rovers replay next week lying in wait.
Chelsea, the 1997 winners and the joint second favourites at 6-1 with Arsenal, are also forced to travel to lower-league opposition in Oldham Athletic or Brentford.
Southport, one of two non-League clubs definitely in the third round, were drawn at home to the winners of the Leyton Orient against Kingstonian replay. The other, Yeovil Town, along with Southport the outsiders at 1,000-1, must travel to Cardiff City, the Third Division leaders.
In the other all-Premiership tie, Charlton Athletic must make a swift return to Blackburn Rovers, where they lost in the league on Saturday. Kevin Keegan takes his Fulham side to Southampton, where he had a spell as a player late in his distinguished career.
Port Vale will take a break from their battle to stay in the First Division with a home tie against Liverpool in a game that provides Gerard Houllier's team with plenty of potential for embarrassment.
Hull City, bottom of the Nationwide League but unexpected winners at Luton on Saturday, have a splendid reward: a trip to Birmingham to face the Premiership leaders, Aston Villa. It will be a big test for Warren Joyce, the Tigers' new player-manager, and his side, but at least it should earn them some much-needed funds to put towards strengthening their squad and trying to stay out of the Conference.
FA CUP THIRD-ROUND DRAW
Sheffield Wednesday v Norwich City
Manchester Utd v Middlesbrough
Sheffield Utd v Notts County or Wigan Athletic
Southampton v Fulham
Tranmere Rovers v Ipswich Town
Swindon Town v Barnsley
Blackburn Rovers v Charlton Athletic
Nottingham Forest v Portsmouth
Bournemouth v West Bromwich
Wycombe Wanderers or Plymouth Argyle v Derby County
Leicester City v Birmingham City
Queen's Park Rangers v Huddersfield
Tottenham Hotspur v Watford
Doncaster Rovers or Rushden & Diamonds v Leeds Utd
Oldham Athletic or Brentford v Chelsea
Southport v Kingstonian or Leyton Orient
Port Vale v Liverpool
Wimbledon v Darlington or Manchester City
Newcastle Utd v Crystal Palace
Bradford City v Grimsby Town
Bristol City v Everton
Crewe Alexandra v Oxford Utd
Bolton Wanderers v Wolves
Preston North End v Arsenal
Coventry City v Macclesfield
Rochdale or Rotherham v Exeter or Bristol Rovers
West Ham Utd v Swansea City
Wrexham v Scunthorpe Utd
Aston Villa v Hull City
Bury v Stockport County
Lincoln City v Sunderland
Cardiff City v Yeovil Town
Ties to be played Saturday 2 or Sunday 3 January