Arsenal return to domestic action in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday night, when they travel to Fratton Park to take on League One side Portsmouth. The two sides have not met since 2009, when Arsenal romped to a 4-1 away victory in the Premier League.
The pain from the Gunners’ European exit will not be forgotten quickly, but Mikel Arteta will be keen to steady the ship, and put Thursday’s bitter disappointment behind them.
“I just want to concentrate now on lifting those players and getting back the belief, and convince them that there is still a lot to play for, and move on.” pic.twitter.com/9sW16X2Umf
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 28, 2020
Arsenal progressed to the fifth round with a 2-1 victory at Bournemouth, the goals coming from teenage attacking duo Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli.
Portsmouth, on the other hand, beat Championship side Barnsley 4-2 in the fourth round, and currently sit third in League One.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Monday 2nd March|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||19:45 (GMT)|
|Where Is It Played?||Fratton Park|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Sport 1|
Mikel Arteta looks set to rotate his side ahead of Monday’s fixture, but may be without Shkodran Mustafi, who was substituted late on at the Emirates on Thursday because of a knock.
It remains to be seen if Bukayo Saka will get a rest given Sead Kolasinac’s ‘serious’ arm injury suffered against Everton last weekend. Kieran Tierney has rejoined full training, but Monday night may come too soon for the Scotsman.
Pompey, who beat Rochdale 3-0 on Friday evening, may rotate against the Gunners given there is a mere two days between the two games
|Portsmouth||Bass; McCrorie, Burgess, Raggett, Brown; Naylor, Close; Williams, Cannon, Curtis; Marquis.|
|Arsenal||Martinez; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Mari, Saka; Torreira, Guendouzi; Nelson, Willock, Martinelli; Nketiah.|
Head to Head Record
As previously mentioned, the last encounter between the two sides came in December 2009. Arsenal won 4-1 at Fratton Park, with Aaron Ramsey, Samir Nasri and Alex Song among the goals.
The Gunners have won five of the previous six competitive meetings between 2007-2009 but have drawn three of their last five played at Fratton Park.
In any case, Pompey have not beaten Arsenal since 1954, when both sides were in Division One.
Before Thursday’s European heartbreak, Arsenal had won three games on the bounce in all competitions – against Newcastle, Olympiacos in the first leg, and Everton.
The 2-1 loss to Olympiakos was their first in 2020, and their first in the Europa League since Unai Emery’s last game in charge – a 2-1 home defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Portsmouth have found themselves in a solid patch of form recently. They have won their last two League One fixtures, scoring three on each occasion. They have also won ten on the bounce at home.
They had previously gone on a ten-match unbeaten run, winning nine on the bounce throughout January. There have been a couple of defeats since then, including a 1-0 loss at Fleetwood last weekend.
Here’s each side’s last five results in all competitions.
|Portsmouth 3-0 Rochdale (28/02)||Arsenal 1-2 Olympiakos (27/02)|
|Portsmouth 3-1 MK Dons (25/02)||Arsenal 3-2 Everton (23/02)|
|Fleetwood 1-0 Portsmouth (22/02)||Olympiakos 0-1 Arsenal (20/02)|
|Portsmouth 3-2 Exeter City (18/02)||Arsenal 4-0 Newcastle (16/02)|
|Portsmouth 2-0 Shrewsbury (15/02)||Burnley 0-0 Arsenal (02/02)|
Arsenal will be hurting big time. However, it remains to be seen whether they respond like a team that shows the pain of Thursday’s European exit, or one that has a point to prove in the final stretch of the season.
Arteta: “We are all down, frustrated and disappointed. The players tried, tried and tried again and completely deserved to win the game but there are aspects we need to do better.”
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) February 29, 2020
Portsmouth will feel this is as good a time as ever to face the Gunners, whose old vulnerabilities were exposed for all to see against Olympiakos. With the Fratton Park faithful behind them, and encouraged by their perfect home record over the last ten matches, they will be desperate to cause an upset.
However, anticipate Arteta to guide his side to a victory, some way or another.
Prediction: Portsmouth 1-3 Arsenal