Oxford United 0-3 Arsenal: Eddie Nketiah scores twice as Gunners progress

Arsenal set up an FA Cup fourth-round tie at Manchester City after showing their class to defeat League One Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium.

Mikel Arteta’s Premier League leaders were frustrated in the first half by a well-organised and disciplined Oxford side before eventually overpowering their opponents.

Fabio Vieira was Arsenal’s creator-in-chief, sending in a perfect free-kick for Mohamed Elneny to head past Oxford goalkeeper Eddie McGinty in the 63rd minute before playing a perfect pass for Eddie Nketiah to finish calmly seven minutes later.

Oxford, who had fought so hard, were now struggling to cope with Arsenal’s attacking threat and Nketiah was back on the pitch after 76 minutes with a delicate chip over McGinty from Gabriel Martinelli’s pass to confirm the high-energy encounter with City at the Etihad Stadium.

Arsenal get the job done

Arteta will have been disappointed by the Gunners’ sterile first-half performance, but once they got into gear they were inevitably too much for Oxford.

Nketiah and Vieira were the two stars of the show, the latter coming through a first-half struggle to show his quality in delivery and passing as the Premier League side finally used their authority.

Vieira’s free-kick was the perfect invitation for Elneny to break the deadlock with a powerful header from close range, and his pass to Nketiah to round McGinty was just as good.

Nketiah showed his class in front of goal with his third as he continued to place so well for the injured Gabriel Jesus.

Arsenal weren’t exactly sparkling, but that’s not the priority in these games. It goes into the next round and they achieved it with something to spare, Oxford not creating a serious moment of danger in the game.

The visitors upped the ante and pressed after the break and once Elneny put them in the lead it was never going to be a shocker.

Oxford can take heart despite defeat

Oxford’s hopes of producing an FA Cup shock to go along with Stevenage’s win at Aston Villa on Sunday failed to materialise, but Karl Robinson’s side can take a lot from this game despite the defeat.

They were untroubled in the first half, but the biggest problem for Oxford was that they had no threat of their own in attacking areas and Arsenal goalkeeper Matthew Turner, in for the rested Aaron Ramsdale, had a very quiet night.

To Oxford’s credit, they tried to maintain their passing style and were well drilled throughout the first half as Arsenal failed to make any inroads.

It was also a night for Oxford’s fans to send a message off the pitch with a large banner behind the goal reading “SOS Support Our Stadium. Secure Our Future. 24/01/23”.

This was a reference to plans to build a new stadium and move away from Kassam, which will be discussed by Oxford Council officials on January 24, and which the club consider vital if they are to have a more prosperous future.

Lineups

Oxford Ed

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 21McGinty
  • 33Anderson
  • 5Moore
  • 2Long
  • 16brownOrdered in 59 minutesSubstituted forFlemingon 84′minutes
  • 14Bate
  • 8Brannagan
  • 23MurphySubstituted forWild shooton 62′minutes
  • 18McGuaneSubstituted forJohnsonon 84′minutes
  • 7BodySubstituted forGoodrhamon 77′minutes
  • 9tailorSubstituted forO’Donkoron 77′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Fleming
  • 4Findlay
  • 1. 3Eastwood
  • 24Johnson
  • 27Goodrham
  • 28Negro
  • 30Wild shoot
  • 32So they
  • 39O’Donkor

Arsenal

Formation 4-3-3

  • 30Gymnast
  • 18TomiyasuSubstituted forWhiteon 81′minutes
  • 16Holder
  • 6Gabriel
  • 3TierneySubstituted forZinchenkoon 61′minutes
  • 21Fabio VieiraSubstituted forMarquinhoson 82′minutes
  • 25Elneny
  • 23Sambi LokongaSubstituted forXhakaon 62′minutes
  • 7The thingSubstituted forSmith Roweon 75′minutes
  • 14Nketiah
  • 11Martinelli

Substitutes

  • 4White
  • 5Party
  • 8Ødegaard
  • 10Smith Rowe
  • 27Marquinhos
  • 31Hein
  • 34Xhaka
  • 35Zinchenko
  • 43Butler-Oyedeji

Judge:
David Coote

Participation:
11,538

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