Mikel Arteta has provided a team news update ahead of Monday night’s FA Cup 5th round clash with Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

Following the demoralising 2-1 defeat to Olympiacos in midweek, the manager has to ensure his team don’t let themselves wallow in misery, and looks likely to make changes for this fixture.

One of them might see January loan signing Pablo Mari make his debut having joined from Flamengo last month. He had a lot of fitness work to do as the Brazilian season ended last year, but now appears be to ready, along with Reiss Nelson, Rob Holding, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles who all played 45 minutes for the U23s on Friday night.

Asked if the Spaniard might start in the cup, Arteta said, “Yes, I think he needed minutes, like Rob did, like Ainsley and like Reiss as well.

“I think it was a good game for them to get their fitness levels tested as well and they trained today really well.

“They are all, I think, ready to play.”

There was also an update on Kieran Tierney who has been sidelined since November with a shoulder injury.

“He is much closer,” said Arteta. “He is evolving really well. He feels fit. He feels confident now.

“He’s doing the stuff with contact, so hopefully we can have him soon.”

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Really looking forward to having Nelson back, he was looking good on the right with new guidance and I’m excited to see him progress.


Would love to see Holding and Mari start. We need better centre back play and maybe one or both of these two could step up in the premier league.


Yeah, two CB’s who’ve never played a first team game together, away from home in a one off cup tie, against a League 1 team in flying form. What could possibly go wrong…

North London is Redder

Flying form? They’ve just lost a few on the trot.


Dont know what Portsmouth you’re on about, but the one we play on Monday night have won their last 4 at home scoring 11 in the process


Yes they have. Against the might of Rochdale, Milton Keynes Dons and Shrewsbury Town who lie 20th, 19th and 15th in the league.

I’d be shocked if Arsenal don’t give them a more difficult day.


Been to Fratton Park many times. Never easy. Last thing we need after being knocked out of one cup is to be knocked out of another by a League One side the same week. Expect a strong side.


I would go with:

AMN Sokratis Mari Saka
Guendouzi Xhaka
Reiss Eddie Gabi


possibly torreira instead of guendo if he’s fit for 90


Surely Saka can’t play in this game, the kid needs a break.


Saka needs a rest and Willock need some game time. I think we forget that he was quite good in the first part of the season…. Let the kids play 🙂

Sokratis Mari Rob AMN
Guendouzi Torreira
Reiss Eddie Gabi

Laca New Signing

CEBALLOS IS NOT A 10. unless you see something Arteta and even Emery and Zizou wouldn’t see.

Nicholas Hattersley

Totally off subject but… Come on Watford!!! Only one Invincibles (since 1889)


Lets see what he’s made of.

Worth a go in the FA cup. Luiz starting to look leggy.

Maybe either of Mari or Holding paired with Sokratis.


Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older and Mari were a phenom!


Looking forward to seeing AMN back on the pitch.


Will be worth a go. In absence of the recently excellent Mustafi… Sokratis and Luiz still seem to be unfocused…Holding an imaginary force to some with phantom injury (he has been on the bench available if some prefer not to recognise so) May as well give Mari a go at it. We have 8 Cback options come the summer and will need to cull. Luiz should go. Sokratis may decide to go. Jury still out on Holding. Again nothing wrong with him just not selected by the gaffer not phantom injury. Mustafi one of the better recent players some fans… Read more »