Portsmouth v Arsenal Team News
Mikel Arteta's desire to win the FA Cup as Arsenal manager could see him name a strong line-up in Monday's fifth-round tie at Portsmouth.
The Gunners will travel to Fratton Park off the back of Thursday’s disappointing Europa League last-32 away goals exit at the hands of Greek side Olympiakos at the Emirates.
And, as they currently sit 10th in the Premier League, their chances of qualifying for Europe via that route is looking limited with games running out.
Therefore, the FA Cup is the last chance for the north Londoners to claim some silverware and secure at least Europa League football again next season.
As a result, the Spanish tactician could be tempted to pitch in the likes of top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, while Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are also vying to play some part on the south coast.
The Gunners will definitely be without Sead Kolasinac, who has suffered a significant shoulder strain.
Full-backs Cedric Soares and Kieran Tierney are also likely to still be sidelined because of respective knee and shoulder issues, while defender Calum Chambers is a long-term knee injury absentee.
However, Arteta admitted over the weekend that January signing Pablo Mari will be pushing for his Arsenal debut.
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Looking ahead to the tie and Arteta is hoping to win a third FA Cup at Arsenal and the first as the club’s manager.
“It’s really special,” he said. “It’s probably one of the nicest games and days of the season when you play the final day in England, at Wembley, nice weather and an incredible atmosphere.
“And you know, it’s a trophy that’s been very much linked with our history. So we want to continue to be attached to that, knowing that on Monday night in Portsmouth, it will be tough.”
Portsmouth will assess captain Tom Naylor and winger Ronan Curtis ahead of the game.
Boss Kenny Jackett is confident the pair will be fit to face Mikel Arteta’s Premier League side after sustaining knocks in Friday’s 3-0 League One win over Rochdale.
Centre-back Christian Burgess collected his 10th booking of the season in that match but will be available to face the Gunners as his two-game suspension will be served in league fixtures.
Defender Jack Whatmough and forward Oli Hawkins will be hoping to return to Jackett’s squad after being left out against Dale for tactical reasons.