Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta believes Eddie Nketiah is getting better and better after helping the Gunners set up an FA Cup fourth-round tie at Manchester City by beating Oxford United at Kassam Stadium.
Nketiah scored twice in six second-half minutes after Mohamed Elneny’s opener to secure the Gunners’ progression.
It is now five goals in his last six games for Nketiah, who has stepped up in the absence of injured striker Gabriel Jesus.
“He showed great composure,” said Arteta. “He’s a great finisher, with the timing of his runs as well.
“He showed his quality and his work-rate is getting better and better. I’m really happy with him.
“We have only one [striker] and to go many months before Gaby is back it’s not easy, but we have to get the most out of the players that we have at the moment.”
The Premier League leaders were frustrated in the first half by a well-organised and disciplined Oxford side before eventually overpowering their League One opponents.
Fabio Vieira was Arsenal’s creator-in-chief, sending in a perfect free-kick for Elneny to head past Oxford goalkeeper Eddie McGinty in the 63rd minute before playing a perfect pass for Nketiah to finish calmly finish seven minutes later.
Oxford, who had battled so hard, were now struggling to cope with Arsenal’s attacking threat and Nketiah was on the mark again after 76 minutes with a delicate chip over McGinty from Gabriel Martinelli’s pass to confirm that powerhouse meeting with City at Etihad Stadium.
There was concern for Arsenal before Sunday’s north London derby with Tottenham when Bukayo Saka went off with an injury, but Arteta played down the seriousness of it.
“He’s fine,” he told ITV Sport. “He’ll be OK.”