Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal players have to bounce back from their stunning Europa League exit at the hands of Greek Super League giants Olympiacos when they face English League One team Portsmouth in the fifth round of this year’s FA Cup.
Arsenal were dumped out of the Europa League at the round of 32 stage in dramatic fashion last week by their Greek opponents and they would be playing their first game after that dramatic elimination when they take a trip to the South Coast to face third tier club Portsmouth.
The Gunners had won the first leg vs Olympiacos 1-0 away from home to put themselves in a fantastic position only for them to fluff their lines in the second leg at the Emirates Stadium which ended in a 2-1 away victory for Olympiacos at the end of extra time thus condemning Arsenal to the exit door via the away goals rule.
Ahead of the Portsmouth vs Arsenal game, Mikel Arteta will most likely make some changes to his starting XI from that Olympiacos game.
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Portsmouth and Arsenal are both former FA Cup winners with the latter widely accepted as the most successful team in the history of the competition after winning the most titles (14). The winner of the fifth round tie will be the first team to qualify for the quarterfinals of the competition this season.
For Arteta and Arsenal, the FA Cup represents the only route to silverware at the end of the season after they were dumped out of the Europa League.
On his team selection, the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Pablo Mari and Sokratis Papasthathopoulos are pushing Arteta for a starting spot.
Possible Arsenal XI: Emiliano Martinez; Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Sokratis Papasthathopoulos, Pablo Mari, Kieran Tierney; Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Joe Willock; Reiss Nelson, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah.