The Gunners are flying in the Premier League at the moment. Even though we dropped two points at home against Newcastle United midweek, we are still five points clear at the top of the Premier League table.
The focus for now, however, is on the FA Cup, and we travel to the Kassam Stadium to take on Oxford United.
Chris Sutton makes surprising Oxford United vs Arsenal FA Cup prediction
Arsenal are the kings of the FA Cup having won the competition on 14 occasions – more than any other side in England. Mikel Arteta has already won one as a manager, and he’d love to add another to his collection this season.
If the Gunners play like we have all campaign, there’s every chance we can go all the way in the competition, but it definitely won’t be easy. The magic of the FA Cup often causes upsets, and we’ll have to be careful about that when we take on Oxford on Monday.
BBC pundit Sutton believes Arteta’s side will hit a bump on the road at the Kassam Stadium.
The pundit wrote on BBC Sport: “I don’t see a repeat of last season, when Newcastle were upset by another League One side, Cambridge, at St James’ Park, but they might have to survive a bit of a scare to make it through to round four – and I think it will be a similar story for Arsenal.
“It wasn’t on the same scale as Newcastle’s shock exit, but the Gunners also suffered a surprise defeat in last season’s FA Cup when they went out to Nottingham Forest.
“We are going to see Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta use plenty of his fringe players again here, which is understandable given their position at the top of the Premier League. I have a feeling Oxford will rise to the occasion in front of the TV cameras and although I don’t see Arsenal going out, they might need to take the U’s back to Emirates Stadium to finish the job. Prediction: 1-1.”
The Insider’s View:
The FA Cup is usually a great opportunity for managers to rotate their sides, especially when they come up against a side from the lower leagues.
However, don’t be surprised if Arteta decides to name a fairly strong XI.
The players would’ve got six days of rest following our 0-0 draw against Newcastle, while our next game in the Premier League – the North London Derby against Tottenham – is scheduled to take place six days after our FA Cup clash on Monday.
We still expect the likes of Rob Holding, Fabio Vieira and Mohamed Elneny to come into the side, but don’t be surprised if players like Gabriel Magalhaes, Granit Xhaka, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah also get the nod.