Arsenal beat Oxford United after inspired second-half performance

Plucky Oxford United displayed some impressive resolve to hold Arsenal to a goalless draw in the first half this evening at the Kassam Stadium.

Mikel Arteta’s men struggled to get going, with their hosts looking in the mood for a battle.

The Gunners had a number of corners in the opening minutes, but they didn’t really trouble United, who were prepared to stay in the game, at least in that first half.

The first real threat from Arsenal saw Edward McGinty clear a Takehiro Tomiyasu pass into the Oxford box as Arsenal continued to dominate the early period of the game.

Bukayo Saka recovered from an early knock to cause some problems for the hosts, but they continued to defend well.

The next chance for Arsenal fell to Albert Sambi Lokonga, but he headed wide when he should have scored. That was the Gunners’ best chance at that stage of the fixture.

Just before the break, it was still all Arsenal as Eddie Nketiah put himself in a good position but shot wide, as another chance went begging for Mikel Arteta’s men.

Oxford almost took the lead four minutes after the restart, but Matt Taylor missed the sitter in shocking fashion. This was the first real warning for Arsenal.

Saka then had a good chance to give Arsenal the lead but couldn’t beat the goalie, however, a goal was coming.

Shortly after the goalie saved another Saka shot, Mikel Arteta subbed on Oleksandr Zinchenko and Granit Xhaka for Kieran Tierney and Albert Sambi Lokonga.

Two minutes later, Arsenal took the lead through Mohamed Elneny’s header from a beautifully struck Fabio Vieira free kick.

Viera assisted Nketiah for the second goal seven minutes after the first as Oxford struggled to contain Arsenal in the second half.

Shortly after, Saka had to leave the pitch because of an injury, which will be the only sad note from this game. Emile Smith Rowe replaced him.

Gabriel Martinelli then assisted Nketiah for his second goal as he chipped the goalkeeper to put the game to bed.

Smith Rowe would then miss another chance as Arsenal were now in the driving seat and threatened to run riot against the minnows.

However, there would be no more goals or big chances as the Gunners held on to reach the next round of the competition.

Tags Oxford v Arsenal


  1. We were completely rubbish for 2/3 of the game until we scored from the set piece. It seemed to break their resistance and morale luckily for us. If we play like this against City in the 4th round we’ll likely lose around 5-0.

    Eddie set up by 2 brilliant passes, every strikers dream.

    We need to sell Tierney, he looks like he’s lost all his passion and fight. Feel for Marquinios, guy must be wondering what he needs to do to get a few more minutes. Good to see ESR back.

  2. Based on the boys’ disorganization and misplaced passes in the first half, I think the team wasn’t prepared intensively. I suspect Arsenal prioritize EPL and EL over the minor cup competitions

    Nketiah’s and Vieira’s performances in the second half were simply beautiful. Hopefully all our main attackers will be fully fit for the NLD

  3. A game of two halves .
    A wins a win ,but some of our second string players leave a lot to be desired.
    Shame Marquinhos didn’t get more minutes.
    Overall cannot complain to much ,onwards and onwards .

  4. I knew this was going to be a diffilcult game against a team that really has nothing to play for. We have few positives: (1) Eddie can score, we just need to feed him in the box, (2)Turner is a realiable number 2, he can even challenge Ramsdale for number 1, (3)Lokonga is not as bad as people make him out to be, he just need a run of games and the coach trust. AREA WE CAN IMPROVE ON: Martinelli really need to work on his 1vs1, his strenght is running with the ball but he always seem to run out of idea when he cant run with the ball, he was dispossed at least twice today when 1vs1 with a defender. (2) Viera seem a good player he just need to add more muscle (3) Arteta needs to trust Maquinos more and give him more responsibility especially in cup games. My motm is Nketiah for his well taken second goal. Toth next.

  5. Adequate…
    Positives: 1 Eddie’s finishing 2 Vieira’s assists 3 ESR’s (albeit rusty) return 4 a comfortable win 5 Zinnie’s inflential cameo
    Negatives: 1 No breakout performances from the backups 2 Saka injured 3 Vieira careless and slow – can’t play in tight spaces 4 Holding thinks he is Saliba. Somebody please tell him to stop showboating 5 Another nervous Tomiyasu display. Where is our Tomi? 6 Did Lokonga even play? This guy couldn’t influence a game of Subbuteo 7 Tierney is not in Zinchenko’s league

    1. I think you are being too hard on Lokonga, he had a decent against a very physical opponent, i agree with you on holding he just need to be himself. I also think we should sell tierney if we can get good money for him. Tomiyasu will be back to his best soon.

      1. I like Lokonga and I want you to be right, but he just has no midfield “presence”, so I can’t see it. Agree on Tierney – he has never been a smiler on the pitch but he just looks so miserable and unenthusiastic out there. He is third choice and seems to know it. Tomi I think will be back eventually but it’s been a few games now and we need him SOON!

    1. he shouldnt have started this game to begin with. i was baffled he did . saka, mart, ode and partey needed a rest. looking at the games coming up this january…. oxford was the game we could have given them a rest.. spurs , man u, everton and add city

  6. Mark this …….Nketiah would be the next breakout star for us this season after Marty and saka… Flo as backup wud sort out our attack ( all without breaking the bank)

    Patino is next in line….

    I honestly feel that Ajax model is exactly what we should be operating as we really have a lot of solutions to our problems in our academy……the kids are taking over football globally and we have tonnes of good ones in our ranks

    1. Look at the Gabi,Pedri, vini,rodrygo,musiala, Enzo, etc keeping out experienced players from the first eleven of their various teams….

      The future of football is gradually tilting to an era of dominance for teams with good academy prospects.. retaining these young gems would be d defining factor in how successful teams would be

      Cuz a lot of money would be spent to buy them, the signs are obvious in the transfer market recently…

      In conclusion, we need to start integrating some of these kids into the team… So happy that Nketiah is finally getting his chance to be the next big number 14

      1. They keep our first team players from the first eleven then the go ahead to play rubbish and eliminate their teams from the world cup. Vini is not better than Martinelli especially off the ball. I Believe Brazil would have gone further with Martinelli instead.

  7. Amazed at the adverse comments concerning Tierney who was never beaten once.Yet within 10 mins Zinchenko, who is not and never will be a quality LB was left trailing twice.I’m afraid perception is reality to certain fans on JA when they should really focus on the facts.Credit to Oxford who made us look a very average side in the first half.Gabriel was head and shoulders above any player on the park and the lack of match practise in some players is the reason for the drop off in our performance in the first half.

    1. agree fully, zinchenko is better offensively and moving into midfield, but defensively tierney is miles ahead.
      altho lack of match practice could be a reason, the likes of lokonga, vieira and even elneny will not get game time with performances like that, they need to show something in the chances they get and they just didnt. i dont think 2 assists or a goal mask the issues our midfield had in that first half

  8. What this game shows , is how much we needs another top midfielder,

    Just hope we wrap this Mudryk deal by tomorrow, that we can turn our focus on a commanding midfielder.

    Not sure if we have enough time to tweak Smith Rowe , in taking some of that slots.

  9. After watching that performance I’m now more convinced we need a central midfielder who can help progress the ball and dictate play over a pure DM which can wait till the summer. Think it’s clear to see Arteta is content with Elneny as backup to Partey(regardless of what we think) so someone to backup Xhaka is necessity. Lokonga needs a Loan badly.

    Special mentions for Eddie 2 goals, Viera 2 assists, Martinelli an assist, Gabriel solid at the back, Elneny scored a good header, was decent overall too and Turner was impressive as well.

    Holding was shaky at times, Tomiyasu, Tierney, Saka were okay Lokonga was anonymous.

    Onto the NLD next, which will be tough especially if Spurs deploy the same tactics as Newcastle with more threat on the break but if it is an open game then I believe we will get our first league win there since 2014. Coyg💪🏾

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