As Oleksandr Zinchenko and Granit Xhaka stood at the touchline, Arsenal have been way past the purpose of realizing they have been in an FA Cup tie. For 60 mins, Oxford United had performed as much as their position of annoying the Premier League leaders and Mikel Arteta’s aspect have been compelled to resist some awkward moments, resulting in the Arsenal supervisor coming to the belief that reinforcements have been essential.
However 10 mins later, any ideas of a final giant-killing to wrap up a weekend of FA Cup shocks were impulsively put to mattress. Two incisive moments of high quality from Fabio Vieira broke Oxford’s resistance, first putting in place Mohamed Elneny’s thumping header with a whipped loose kick, ahead of taking part in thru Eddie Nketiah to double Arsenal’s lead. After rounding goalkeeper Edward McGinty to complete his first, Nketiah scored his moment with a pleasing dink. It urged Arsenal into the fourth around, the place they are going to face name opponents Manchester Town in an early preview in their upcoming Premier League battles.
It had began to get moderately uncomfortable for Arteta, who have shyed away from a repeat of ultimate season’s third-round go out following their defeat to Nottingham Woodland precisely a yr in the past. After Oxford made it into part time degree and greater than conserving their very own, the League One aspect had an excellent probability to take the lead when Matty Taylor spun in at the back of and reached a ahead punt ahead of goalkeeper Matt Turner. Had the striker been in a position to prod the danger previous the Arsenal quantity two then this may have was an overly other night, however ultimately the standard of Arteta’s aspect shone thru.
With Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli at the pitch, their opener got here from an not likely supply. Elneny scored his first Arsenal objective since Might 2021 to wreck the impasse on 63 mins, equipped splendidly from Vieira’s inswinging supply. Vieira additionally equipped the move for Nketiah seven mins later, however the completing touches have been produced via the 23-year-old striker as he took his objective tally to 5 in as many video games. After rounding McGinty for his first, Nketiah discovered a lovely end for the second one, the most recent instance that he can lead the road within the absence of Gabriel Jesus.
It modified the complexion of a night that were some distance from simple till the hour-mark. There have been 59 positions isolating the Premier League leaders and Karl Robinson’s Oxford, fifteenth in League One, however 5 Premier League groups had already crashed out to lower-tier opposition this previous weekend. Few had given the likes of Stevenage or Sheffield Wednesday a lot probability, both, forward in their victories towards Aston Villa and Newcastle respectively.
As the hole exchanges made transparent, the 14-time FA Cup winners weren’t in for a easy night. Even supposing Arteta deployed a Premier League ahead line – Saka, Martinelli and Nketiah could be first desire to begin towards Tottenham on Sunday – there have been indicators of rust within the departments of the workforce the place the seven adjustments were made. Elneny and Vieira blended for Arsenal’s leap forward second however toiled to begin with along Albert Sambi Lokonga, as Arteta’s second-choice midfield 3 struggled to growth the ball thru to the first-choice attackers.
After you have during the first passage of play unscathed, Oxford started to reveal their enamel. There was once no obtrusive shift; moderately, Oxford began to chase down with extra depth, left their foot in when they may, and agitated Arsenal simply sufficient to allow them to know they have been in a fit. Cameron Brannigan’s barge on Kieran Tierney was once an extra signal that Oxford weren’t ready to turn the Premier League leaders any admire, and the house crowd spoke back to their aspect’s efforts. By way of part time, Arsenal had did not have a shot on course however Oxford have been thankful for Djavan Anderson’s very good sliding lunge on a surging Martinelli, in addition to Nkeitah lifting a presentable probability over the bar from Tierney’s lengthy throw.
Oxford have been conserving their very own however had to take their probability when it got here. Most likely the turning level was once after they did not, as Turner did simply sufficient to avoid wasting at Taylor’s ft following a hopeful lengthy ball. Arsenal became it on from there. Vieira arrange Saka with a artful again heel, forcing Sam Lengthy into an excellent clearance off his objective line. Arsenal had higher the force however Arteta was once nonetheless feeling fearful sufficient to summon Zinchenko and Xhaka, who he had possibly been making plans to relaxation forward of Sunday’s north London derby. It was once an indication that Arsenal have been in a sport, however they then discovered the standard to drag thru.