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 making their class tell to overcome League One Oxford United at Kassam Stadium.

Mikel Arteta’s Premier League leaders were frustrated in the first half by a well-organized 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 finish seven minutes later.

Oxford, who had battled so hard, were now struggling to cope with Arsenal’s attacking threat and Nketiah was on the mark again after 76 minutes with a delicate chip over McGinty from Gabriel Martinelli’s pass to confirm that powerhouse meeting with City at Etihad Stadium.

Arsenal get the job done

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

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

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

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

Arsenal were not exactly sparkling but that is not the priority in these games. It is getting 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 increased the tempo and urgency after the break and once Elneny put them ahead there was never going to be a shock.

Oxford can take heart despite defeat

Oxford’s hopes of creating an FA Cup shock to stand alongside Stevenage’s win at Aston Villa on Sunday did not materialize but Karl Robinson’s side can take plenty away from this match despite defeat.

They were untroubled for the first half but the major problem for Oxford was they did not possess any threat of their own in the 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 when Arsenal could not make any inroads.

It was also a night for Oxford’s fans to send a message off the pitch with a huge 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 the Kassam, which will be discussed by Oxford council officials on 24 January and which the club regard as vital if they are to have a more prosperous future.

Line-ups

Oxford Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 21McGinty
  • 33Anderson
  • 5Moore
  • 2Long
  • 16BrownBooked at 59minsSubstituted forFlemingat 84′minutes
  • 14Bate
  • 8Brannagan
  • 23MurphySubstituted forWildschutat 62′minutes
  • 18McGuaneSubstituted forJohnsonat 84′minutes
  • 7BodinSubstituted forGoodrhamat 77′minutes
  • 9TaylorSubstituted forO’Donkorat 77′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Fleming
  • 4Findlay
  • 13Eastwood
  • 24Johnson
  • 27Goodrham
  • 28Negro
  • 30Wildschut
  • 32Sade
  • 39O’Donkor

arsenal

Formation 4-3-3

  • 30Turner
  • 18TomiyasuSubstituted forWhiteat 81′minutes
  • 16holding
  • 6Gabriel
  • 3TierneySubstituted forZinchenkoat 61′minutes
  • 21Fabio VieiraSubstituted forMarquinhosat 82′minutes
  • 25Elneny
  • 23Sambi LokongaSubstituted forXhakaat 62′minutes
  • 7SakaSubstituted forSmith Roweat 75′minutes
  • 14Nketiah
  • 11Martinelli

Substitutes

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

Referees:
David Coote

Attendance:
11,538

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