Oxford United vs Newcastle United Preview: Magpies hoping to change FA Cup rhetoric
Oxford United vs Newcastle United Preview: The Toon can change FA Cup rhetoric

Oxford United vs Newcastle United Preview: Magpies hoping to change FA Cup rhetoric

Having made it past the first hurdle, Newcastle have the opportunity to change their 11 year barren run in the FA Cup by reaching the fifth round, provided they can beat Oxford United first.

Katie Mishner

The FA Cup returns to the English football league in all its glory, boasting the cliché tag-line "the magic of the FA Cup." 

The magic that it refers to is so called 'giant killings' whereby a lower league team knocks out a larger team from the competition. Most recently seen with non-league club Lincoln City knocking out Ipswich Town.

And this weekend, Oxford United hosting Newcastle United has the potential to be a fixture filled with the FA's brand of magic. 

It is going to be a cold afternoon with the rain threatening to make a daunting appearance over the 12,500 capacity Kassam Stadium. Pathetic fallacy out of the way, there is a chance that League One Oxford could cause a 'cupset' for the travelling Toon Army.

History of bad cup runs

In the Magpies' run in the historical cup they have triumphed six times but those days are long gone considering their last victory came in 1955.

Newcastle came close several times after that, even in the Premier League era - two times runners up, consecutively between 1998-1999. In fact, the closest thing to glory in the tournament was being knocked emphatically by Manchester United in the semi-finals of the 2004-05 campaign.

Looking at the more recent history paints a more accurate picture of the position that the club are in now. It has been 11 years since Newcastle have reached the fifth round and playing a lower league, side who have recently been promoted, is a prime opportunity to break this bad spell.

Oxford's history does not look bright either with their most successful run ending at the quarter finals back in 1963. In more modern times, the fourth round is the furthest that the club have reached since the millennium. They can often be found alternating between round

Alluding back to the 'magic' of the cup, this comparison is what it is all about.

Ones to watch

Looking to how Rafa Benitez fielded his squad against Championship counter-parts Birmingham Cityit is safe to assume there will be a rotation of players. 

Second choice striker and fan favourite Aleksandar Mitrovic could be in the running for a place in the starting line up having had his stitches out from the first leg of the Birmingham game.

If this is true, Newcastle would look dangerous from the onset. Mitrovic is the kind of striker who can hold the ball up and test defenders, home or away.

However, the Us have their own secret weapon fresh from the transfer market. 19 year old Toni Martinez joined the Yellows from West Ham earlier in the week and is eligible to be fielded by boss Michael Appleton. 

The Spanish youngster has a lot of offer a side going forward, energetic with the ability to score goals. At U-23 level for West Ham, Martinez netted seven goals in just seven games.

Against Birmingham City, Benitez gave several youngsters their opportunity to shine. Including YouTube sensation Yasin Ben El-Mhanni whose skill did not fully transfer onto the pitch but his potential is obvious.

Currently there are players missing from the usually deep squad, being held either by injury or participation in the Africa Cup of Nations. A League One opponent again could be the prime time to give Peter Beardsley's youngsters the run out.

Current form

Since promotion to League One, Oxford have been unpredictable. Currently sat in the 12th spot of the table with their number of wins (10) mirroring the number of losses. 

Newcastle United have performed in the Championship like expected. Mostly winning. Having suffered a recent blip in form, the return of midfield maestro Jonjo Shelvey has put the club back on track and at the top of the table.

Interestingly, both teams come into the match filled with the confidence injected from 4-0 victories in their respective league matches.