Arsenal will face Manchester City in a mouth-watering FA Cup clash after making light work of Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium.
Mikel Arteta’s men showed their class in the second half as they ran out 3-0 winners against their League One opponents.
Mohamed Elneny headed the Gunners in front on 63 minutes before a brace from Eddie Nketiah secured them safe passage to the fourth round.
It was an easy win for Arsenal but their next outing will be far from that with a clash at the Etihad Stadium their next FA Cup date.
The only setback of the evening saw Bukayo Saka hobble off the pitch on 75 minutes after sustaining a knock.
It appears the substitution was a precautionary measure, with Arteta insisting the player is ‘fine’ ahead of Arsenal’s north London derby clash at Tottenham on Sunday.
An even opening half-hour saw Arsenal dominate the ball without testing Edward McGinty in the Oxford goal.
While five of those coming into the visitors’ side were fully-fledged internationals, there was a clear lack of the sort of cohesion which has seen them amass a five-point lead over Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions at the Premier League summit.
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Arsenal were denied a strong penalty shout as an Albert Sambi Lokonga drive was blocked by the flailing arm of Elliott Moore but, with no VAR in operation, referee David Coote was unmoved.
Not until 10 minutes after the interval did the capacity crowd witness a shot on target, Saka cutting inside before seeing his effort cleared off the line by Lewis Bate.
Arteta responded to the deadlock by introducing Granit Xhaka and Oleksandr Zinchenko from the bench – but it was another pair who combined for the opener.
Just moments after the changes and the 14-time FA Cup winners were ahead, Fabio Vieira – arguably the most ineffectual player on the pitch in the opening hour – providing a free-kick into the box which Elneny headed home with force.
Vieira was again on hand to lay on Arsenal’s second, slipping in a fine through-ball which was collected by Nketiah, who showed his cool by rounding McGinty and tapping home.
Nketiah would double up for the evening with a deft finish from a Gabriel Martinelli pass, although he appeared offside, with a lack of VAR working in Arsenal’s favour.
Saka had gone down injured moments earlier and limped around the side of the pitch to be replaced by Emile Smith Rowe – his fellow England international and Hale End academy product returning from a four-month injury lay-off.
He almost capped his return with a goal but saw an effort deflected inches wide of the post, although by that point the result was in hand.
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