Oxford 0-3 Arsenal: Clinical second-half performance secures FA Cup tie with Manchester City

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Arsenal booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup with a clinical second-half display that earned a 3-0 win over Oxford on Monday night.

Despite Mikel Arteta playing his strongest possible front three with the fit-again Emile Smith Rowe on the bench, the Gunners struggled to get going at the Kassam Stadium.

Neither side managed a shot inside the first 25 minutes with Arsenal being made to wait until the 35th minute for Albert Sambi Lokonga’s effort which hit Elliott Moore’s arm and bounced away for a corner.

David Coote waved away what would have been a harsh spot-kick, the Oxford defender sliding to block the ball and at the very least saved from a second look by the lack of VAR.

Eddie Nketiah flicked a poacher’s finish over the bar as the Gunners lacked any kind of edge against a League One team confident of knocking it around at the back to take any sting out of the game.

Little changed in the second half as Arteta sent out his players early and yet Matty Taylor broke through after 48 minutes, forcing Matt Turner into a smart intervention off his line.

Oleksandr Zinchenko and Granit Xhaka were thrown on before the hour mark and the Ukrainian helped craft the opening goal, playing in Gabriel Martinelli to win a foul on the edge of the box. Fabio Vieira’s accurate deliver was powered home by Mohamed Elneny’s header.

It was 2-0 only six minutes later as Vieira slid in Nketiah for the striker to steer his run calmly around the goalkeeper and roll home.

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The tie was over when, with a hint of offside, Nketiah broke in from Martinelli’s pass to apply a casual, chipped finish for his seventh goal of the campaign.

In amongst the scoring, there was a fresh injury worry for Arsenal as Bukayo Saka was forced off and replaced by Smith Rowe.

The Gunners head to Manchester City for their fourth-round tie.