Mikel Arteta says he isn’t giving any assurances to any players about their place in the team, regardless of the competition we’re playing in.

In seasons past we’ve had defined ‘cup keepers’, which has seen the position shared between the likes of the Petr Cech, Bernd Leno, David Ospina, Emi Martinez and others.

That has changed under Arteta, with Leno chosen over the Argentine for the Europa League – a decision which was widely believed to be the right one. However, the number one made a crucial mistake which played a part in our exit to Olympiacos last Thursday.

Ahead of tonight’s FA Cup clash with Portsmouth, the Arsenal boss again refused to say who would start in goal and said his selection decisions would be based on how the players perform and compete.

“I like to play the player I think is in the best condition for that game,” he told the Evening Standard.

“If it is Emi, it is Emi, And if it’s Bernd, it’s Bernd. It’s the same with the right-backs or the centre-backs. Because they played on Thursday, I am not going to say ‘oh, they cannot play on Monday’.

“If I send that message to them, they are going to be tired, they are mentally not going to be prepared. It is not right.

“We try to make the decision based on who we believe is better to win that competition.

“Players have to respect that, fight and compete between them. And if I made a wrong decision, probably sometimes I will do.”

Arteta is expected to make changes for this evening’s game, and could hand an Arsenal debut to January signing Pablo Mari at the centre of the defence, with the likes of Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Gabriel Martinelli and Rob Holding expected to feature.

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PGunner
PGunner
2 months ago

Saying the right stuff again, gaffa.

Richie
2 months ago

I fancy Arteta will pick something like Martinez – Sokratis, Holding, Mari, Maitland-Niles – Torreira, Guendouzi – Nelson, Willock, Martinelli – Nketiah.

Although I can see a strong case for Lacazette to start and build up some form again.

The FA Cup may be our best route back into Europe for next season; after tonight there’s only 2 rounds left and then the final.

C.B.
C.B.
2 months ago
Reply to  Richie

We hope. After going out of the EL I’m not thinking like that.

pierre lacapeppe
pierre lacapeppe
2 months ago
Reply to  Richie

holy shit. did you come from the future? 9/11 correct. oracle-like, considering the amount of changes made

C.B.
C.B.
2 months ago

Isn’t the fighting the players are doing making them tired? We have seen performances drop off later on in matches.

Can’t they just be nice to each other when they aren’t playing a match, and relax a bit?

Rich
Rich
2 months ago

There’s no excuses not to go all out for the FA cup. If we get to the final? We have 15 games in 11 weeks. These are professional athletes, who now have plenty more time to recover and prepare for games, thanks to their own ineptitude. There’s 5 sleeps between Portsmouth and West Ham, it’s ridiculous the amounts of excuses players have for poor form. And it’s funny how players never seem to get tired when they’re winning. I want to see a strong team tonight, Arteta will be under pressure to reduce season ticket credits for next season.

Frank Bascombe
Frank Bascombe
2 months ago
Reply to  Rich

Oh, do fuck off.

Martin Petersons
Martin Petersons
2 months ago
Reply to  Rich

Bit rich coming from you

Santori
Santori
2 months ago

So he says. BUT I don’t see good management with Ozil. He is a 50-60 minute player. We need to find an alternative beyond the inexperienced Willock. Why he is not trying Cebellos higher up is beyond me. It will allow us to have at least Torreira if not the more aggressive Guendouzi functioning next to Xhaka. Out wide, we could afford to use far more of Martinelli. Either as a surrogate to Lacazette or as an alternate to Pepe, another one who doesn’t last the course, over complicates with ineffective dribbles and loses far too many take ons but… Read more »

Santori
Santori
2 months ago

Arteta has had the same squad as Unai.

As much as you can say he is handicap by it, there should also be zero excuse if despite ‘improvements’ we are still where we are struggling to surface past 10 and getting dumped out of europa….

We are (should be) in the results business.

FA cup anyone?

There was once a chap called Wenger not too long ago who could deliver FA cup and fourth.

Schadenfeude. Be careful for what you wish for.;)

Teryima Adi
Teryima Adi
2 months ago

You’re the Boss, Arteta. It’s your call.

WengersNoseHair
WengersNoseHair
2 months ago

Except for Ozil. Even Lacazette has been dropped for Nketiah.