FA Cup: Manchester City date for Arsenal
Premier League leaders Arsenal booked an FA Cup fourth-round clash with Manchester City after they beat third-tier Oxford United 3-0 on Monday night, thanks to second-half goals from Mohamed Elneny and Eddie Nketiah.
Oxford more than held their own in the first half, giving Arsenal a few worrying moments while restricting their illustrious opponents to half chances down the other end.
Once the deadlock was broken by Elneny, with a bullet header from a Fabio Vieira free-kick in the 63rd minute, Arsenal were too strong for Oxford. It was the Egyptian’s first goal for his club since May 2021.
Nketiah made sure of the victory seven minutes later from another Vieira assist, before he netted his fifth goal in his last five matches in all competitions for the Gunners 14 minutes from time to put the seal on a hard-earned Arsenal win.
A trip to Premier League champions City is Arsenal’s reward for the win, as Mikel Arteta’s side continues their fine season.
Arsenal have now won their last 14 FA Cup ties against sides from outside the top-two divisions of English football. Wrexham were the last side not in the top-two leagues to eliminate Arsenal in January 1992.
Arsenal will head to the Etihad Stadium on the weekend of January 28-29 for the match against City in the last 32 of the competition. It will be the first of three games in a three-month span between the top two clubs in the country this season, with league meetings scheduled for February and April.
City, the defending league champion, is in second place and trail Arsenal by five points approaching the halfway point of the season.
“It is always difficult to win in these rounds,” Arteta told ITV Sport. “You have to be patient and we were, waiting for the openings to come.
“Eddie is scoring goals and contributing to the way we play and I am delighted for him. He has to be scoring goals and he is doing it.”
With four goals in as many games, Nketiah is impressing as the replacement up front for Gabriel Jesus, who was injured playing for Brazil at the World Cup.
“We had to stay patient, we had to up the level as it wasn’t good enough from us in the first half and we did that in the second,” Nketiah said.