[Image] No Ozil or Lacazette – How Arsenal should line-up vs Portsmouth

By on March 1, 2020

mesut ozil arsenal 2018

Arsenal take on Portsmouth at Fratton Park in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday night. Here’s the line-up I’d like Mikel Arteta to select…

Now that we’ve been dumped out of the Europa League, Arsenal need to make the FA Cup a priority so I wouldn’t be messing about resting too many players. Therefore, Bernd Leno should keep his place in goal despite his error leading to the crucial Olympiacos winner on Thursday night.

I would make a couple of changes in defence though. Let’s be honest, Mikel Arteta has got four/five pretty average centre-backs to choose from and they all have a mistake in them. I personally think Rob Holding is the best of the bunch but he’s struggled to find his best form since returning from injury.

That said, I’d like to see Holding given a start against Portsmouth and he had formed a decent partnership with Sokratis before the injury so I’d like to see them back together with David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi making way.

Hector Bellerin is taking some time to adjust to his new responsibilities at right-back in Arteta’s system but he’s still the best option we’ve got while Bukayo Saka should continue at left-back. Sead Kolasinac is injured and Kieran Tierney is close to making his comeback but Saka should keep his place tomorrow.

Torreira starts

In midfield, I’d like to see Arsenal go with Lucas Torreira at the base of a three-man system. Granit Xhaka can drop out with Mateo Guendouzi also given a recall as I think he’d work well in a midfield trio.

Mesut Ozil was hugely disappointing against Olympiacos and I’d like to see Dani Ceballos playing in the number 8 position along with Guendouzi and Torreira. I think those three could offer good balance in the middle of the park away from home.

Joe Willock is another option for Arteta but I don’t think he’s effective in the No.10 role where he’s been played by the boss. I think Willock is more at home in a box-to-box midfield role so he could replace Guendouzi in my line-up but I’d keep Joe as an option from the bench.

No Lacazette

I’ve said it for several weeks but it’s time to stop playing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out on the wing and move him up front. Alexandre Lacazette isn’t doing enough to justify a regular starting spot and we certainly shouldn’t be shoving our best striker out wide to accommodate the Frenchman.

Therefore, I’d drop Lacazette to the bench, play Aubameyang through the middle and bring Gabriel Martinelli in on the left side the attack. It was madness that Arteta waited until the 105th minute to bring on Martinelli against Olympiacos and I hope we see him starting at Portsmouth as he’s a real superstar in the making.

Nicolas Pepe was frustrating in midweek as he did so many exciting things only to ruin it with a poor final ball, take too many touches or simply over-play with a million cut backs and drag backs. However, I still think he should keep his place on the right ahead of Reiss Nelson.

Here is how I hope Arsenal line-up:

football formations