OXFORD, England (AP)Arsenal set up a fourth-round match with English Premier League title rival Manchester City in the FA Cup by beating third-tier Oxford United 3-0 on Monday.
Eddie Nketiah scored twice after Mohamed Elneny’s opener, with all of the league leader’s goals coming in the space of 13 second-half minutes at an atmospheric Kassam Stadium.
Arsenal will head to Etihad Stadium on the weekend of Jan. 28-29 for the match against City in the last 32 of the famous old 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 trails Arsenal by five points approaching the halfway point of the season.
With four goals in as many games, Nketiah is impressing as the replacement up front for Gabriel Jesus, who was injured playing at the World Cup with Brazil.
His goals came in the 70th and 76th minutes, adding to a header from Elneny in the 63rd that broke Oxford’s stubborn resistance in a match between teams separated by 57 places in English soccer’s pyramid.
”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.
”Every player wants to play whatever the competition. I am grateful for the opportunities and I just want to keep working and keep helping the team.”
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta fielded a number of fringe players, including Portuguese playmaker Fabio Vieira – who set up two of the goals – and American goalkeeper Matt Turner.
Nketiah rounded the goalkeeper and slotted into an empty net after running onto Vieira’s pass for his first goal, then provided a deft chipped finish for his second off Gabriel Martinelli’s through-ball.
Arsenal avoided becoming the ninth Premier League team to be eliminated in the third round, after Everton, Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth, Brentford, Newcastle, Chelsea and Aston Villa were ousted over the last three days. Four of them were knocked out by lower-league teams.
Arsenal played in an all-white uniform as part of the club’s ”No More Red” initiative. It is designed to give young people more opportunities and tackle the root causes of violent youth crime.
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