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Arsenal: Gabriel was the real FA Cup hero against Oxford United

Arsenal progressed through to the fourth round of the FA Cup on Monday night as they beat League One outfit Oxford United 3-0 away from home.

The third tier opponents were no pushovers as they gave Matt Turner a scare at times in the first half and held the Gunners to 0-0 heading into half time.

However, the Premier League quality of Mikel Arteta’s side eventually came through and they scored the opener through Mo Elneny, who powerfully headed home from a corner.

Eddie Nketiah then added to his season’s goal tally by racing onto a through ball and rounding the Oxford goalkeeper before slotting it into an empty net.

The England under-21 international then scored his second and Arsenal’s third to put the tie to bed by brilliantly dinking the ball over the goalkeeper at an awkward angle.

Whilst the centre-forward got himself on the scoresheet twice and ultimately won the match with his strikes, the real FA Cup hero for Arteta on the night was central defender Gabriel.

Was Gabriel MOTM?





The hosts played 53 long balls and 10 crosses in the match and this shows that they were direct and willing to put pressure on the Premier League side in the hope of causing an upset.

They were not there to be easily beaten and put up a good fight but Gabriel’s performance at the back played a large role in Arsenal overcoming their efforts to cause a stir in the first half, particularly.

Defensively, the centre-back was almost faultless for the Gunners. As per Sofascore, the Brazilian colossus won ten of his 11 individual duels (91%) at the back as he won 100% of his ground battles and seven of his eight in the air. He also made four clearances, one block, and one tackle and he repelled numerous attacks from the home side.

The enforcer displayed his Premier League quality against the League One attackers on the pitch for Oxford and used his physical strength to dominate them in duels throughout the match, which allowed Arsenal to nullify the direct threat that they offered with their longer passing and crosses into the box.

Gabriel was also reliable in possession, as he completed 93% of his 59 attempted passes, and did not gift the hosts any chances to counter due to sloppy passing out from the back.

Therefore, he was the real for Arteta’s side as his dominance in defence and quality in possession provided the attackers with the dream platform to go and win the game from.