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Oxford v Arsenal preview: Arsenal can get FA Cup campaign off to a winning start

The FA Cup's most successful side, Arsenal, begin their quest for a record-extending 15th triumph when they head to Oxford on Monday.

Mikel Arteta won this competition at the first attempt as a coach in 2019/20 but has since seen his team crash out to Southampton in the fourth round and then Nottingham Forest in the third round last year.

While winning the Premier League is undoubtedly their priority for the season, this is another excellent chance to lift a trophy and they will expect to have the depth to deal with the League One outfit.

Karl Robinson's men have won just once since beating Exeter 4-1 in the second round and, having scored only four times in that spell, may struggle to break down a much-changed Gunners side.

WhatOxford v Arsenal, FA Cup
WhereKassam Stadium, Oxford
When20:00, Monday 9th January
How to watchITV and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsOxford 10/1, Draw 8/1, Arsenal 1/6

Experienced fringe stars to prove their worth

After a busy Christmas and New Year period, Arteta will likely use this match to rest some of his key players and give minutes to those who usually find themselves among the substitutes.

Rob Holding, Kieran Tierney and Mohamed Elneny will provide valuable experience alongside the likes of Albert Sambi Lokonga, Fabio Vieira and Marquinhos.

The game could also see the return of Emile Smith Rowe, who has not played since September due to a groin injury.

In contrast, injuries mean Robinson may have to pick his strongest possible XI with Sam Baldock and Kyle Joseph both out, while Brandon Fleming could make his debut after being signed on loan from Hull.

While Oxford are a tidy team who play good football, they lack true firepower and 'No' is available at 3/4 in the Both Teams to Score market.

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There is an evident gulf in class with Arsenal top of the Premier League and Oxford 15th in League One and the Gunners should have too much.

Interestingly, the London club have never won away at Oxford but are just 1/6 to correct that statistic in the Full Time Result market and a successful evening could set them on the road to a 15th FA Cup success at 7/1.

Vieira might be one to watch

A player who has seen limited game time in recent weeks is Vieira, who looks to have fallen down the pecking order at the Emirates.

The 22-year-old's summer acquisition from Porto was seen as a real coup for the Gunners but he has made just one Premier League start so far this season, with the majority of his minutes coming in the Europa League.

With Arsenal out of the EFL Cup, the FA Cup could provide his best opportunity to force his way back into Arteta's thinking, with his only appearance since the top-flight returned before Christmas being a two-minute cameo in the 3-1 Boxing Day win over West Ham.

Vieira has netted twice so far this season and has the type of football intelligence that can trouble lower-league teams.

With an ability to both drop deep and glide into the box, he is 2/1 to be an Anytime Goalscorer.

The Portuguese is also featured in several of bet365's suggested Bet Boost offers, with 9/1 available for Vieira to Score Anytime in the Match, Vieira to provide over 0.5 Assists in the Match and Over 6 Corners in the Match.

Oxford to play their part

While Arsenal should not be unduly troubled, Oxford will not let the game go easily and have cup pedigree, most recently reaching the fifth round of this competition in 2016/17, beating Newcastle along the way.

The U's like to play with the ball and this often gives them plenty of territory to work with, often resulting in corners.

Robinson's side average 6.75 corners at home and are available at 4/5 in Over 2.5 for Team Corners, while they are 5/6 with a +5 start in the Corner Handicap.

With both teams keen to play football, there is also a chance for cards in this game as they aim to disrupt each other's momentum.

A 'Yes' on Both Teams to Receive 2+ Cards is 4/1, while a value Player to be Booked could be 8/1, Ciaron Brown.

The Northern Ireland international has picked up four cautions this season and his rugged style could see him pick up a fifth.

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