By Bulldog Drummond
Here’s a frightening piece of information. Arsenal played Oxford six times in the old League Division One and have played them nine times in total. And although you might expect this to result in a nine-nil victory list for Arsenal this is not the case. They have beaten us twice including once in Division One. These top league games also saw two goalless draws, including one at Highbury.
Here’s the full list…
|30 Jan 1963||Arsenal v Oxford United||W||5-1||FA Cup|
|31 Oct 1984||Oxford United v Arsenal||L||3-2||League Cup|
|16 Nov 1985||Arsenal v Oxford United||W||2-1||League Division One|
|05 May 1986||Oxford United v Arsenal||L||3-0||League Division One|
|20 Sep 1986||Arsenal v Oxford United||D||0-0||League Division One|
|25 Feb 1987||Oxford United v Arsenal||D||0-0||League Division One|
|10 Oct 1987||Arsenal v Oxford United||W||2-0||League Division One|
|30 Mar 1988||Oxford United v Arsenal||D||0-0||League Division One|
|04 Jan 2003||Arsenal v Oxford United||W||2-0||FA Cup|
As for Oxford United today they are in League One and are currently in 14th place, 27 points behind the league leaders, Plymouth Argyle.
But despite the different league within which Oxford United play there is nothing to stop us doing the regular home and away consideration.
|18||Oxford United home||12||4||3||5||16||13||3||15|
Now because of the different number of games each team has played to get a fair evaluation we need a per game analysis, so here it is…
|Oxford United home||33%||25%||42%||1.3||1.1||+0.2||1.25|
In fact no matter what way one looks at these things this should be a simple game for Arsenal, and really the only question remains what sort of team Arsenal put out. A number of backup players ought to get a place, not least because we don’t want any of our prized possessions being kicked to pieces by a third division player with a weak lack of knowledge as to where the ball is (as opposed to the player), and a ref who fancies helping the underdog.
Oxford had a difficult time in the early stages of the league this season and by 22 October last year, after 13 games they were just two points above the relegation places. Had they remained in the lower reaches that could have meant a return to the even lower reaches of the league, which they last left in 2016 when they came second in League Two.
In fact before that they had returned to the Conference which they last graced with their presence in 2006/7 having been in the Premier League as recently as 1998.
In 2017 they did reach the last 16 in the FA Cup and were knocked out by Middlesbrough. Their average crowd last season was 7598. The capacity is said to be 9500.
If we have a look at their games from mid-November onward we can see their two FA Cup matches this season, and also their recent spell of form.
|16 Nov 2022||Woking v Oxford United||W||1-2||FA Cup|
|19 Nov 2022||Oxford United v Forest Green Rovers||D||1-1||League One|
|26 Nov 2022||Oxford United v Exeter City||W||4-1||FA Cup|
|03 Dec 2022||Accrington Stanley v Oxford United||D||1-1||League One|
|17 Dec 2022||Sheffield Wednesday v Oxford United||D||0-0||League One|
|26 Dec 2022||Ipswich Town v Oxford United||L||3-0||League One|
|29 Dec 2022||Oxford United v Charlton Athletic||W||3-1||League One|
|01 Jan 2023||Oxford United v Exeter City||L||0-1||League One|
Thus they have beaten Woking and Exeter to get this far, but since that 4-1 defeat of Exeter City (who currently sit four places above Oxford in League One) five league games have been played by Oxford and only one has been won. Two have been draws, two have been defeats (including a home defeat to Exeter). A typical run up to a big cup match – no one wants to get injured and miss the big one.
Of course, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about, but there is always one big shock each season…
- Arsenal v Tottenham; the team and some rather jolly recent history
- We are running out of referees, and the reason is the PGMO.
- Arsenal v Tottenham: the key fact the media won’t to tell you – and why they won’t
- Arsenal v Tottenham: different clubs, different managers, different successes
- Arsenal v Tottenham with clubs now getting more cards than they put in tackles!