‘Millions will be cheering for us against Arsenal’

    Dennis Bergkamp celebrates his 100th goal for Arsenal after scoring against Oxford United in the third round of the FA Cup in 2003
    Date: 9 January Venue: Kassam Stadium Kick-off: 20:00 GMT Coverage: Listen live on BBC Radio 5 Live; Live text commentary and highlights on the BBC Sport website and app.

    Oxford United will have “millions of people willing us on as underdogs” when they face Arsenal in the FA Cup, says boss Karl Robinson.

    The League One club host the Premier League leaders and record-14 time winners in the third round on Monday.

    “We’re massive underdogs, a League One side playing the best team in the country,” said Robinson, whose side sit 15th in the third tier.

    “But this is the FA Cup and we know that anything can happen.”

    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is expected to make a number of changes but the Gunners, who last won the FA Cup in 2020, are strong favourites to progress.

    They are unbeaten in their past 11 league games, winning nine of those to open up a five-point cushion on nearest challengers Manchester City.

    Oxford boss Robinson believes his players can make it a difficult evening for the Gunners at a sell-out Kassam Stadium.

    “With respect to the millions of Arsenal fans, we won’t just have the support of Oxford United’s fanbase on Monday, we will have millions more people willing us on as underdogs,” he told the Oxford Mail.external-link

    “All we can promise is total commitment and passion. We can’t wait.”

    Arsenal were eliminated at the first hurdle last season, losing to then-Championship club Nottingham Forest in the third round.

    Arteta, who apologised for his side’s display after that game, is keen to make up for that early exit this time.

    “It is a competition that brings back huge memories to our football club and the team, because not many years ago we won it,” he said.

    It is the first meeting between Oxford and Arsenal since the third round of the FA Cup in 2002-03, which Arsenal won 2-0 with Dennis Bergkamp scoring his 100th goal for the club in the game.

    The Gunners, who could welcome back England forward Emile Smith Rowe from a groin injury, went on to win the FA Cup that year.

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