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Portsmouth vs Arsenal preview | Confirmed team news, Holding should start + prediction

By on March 2, 2020

Rob Holding arsenal 2019

Arsenal take on Portsmouth at Fratton Park in the fifth round of the FA Cup tonight.

The game comes just a matter of days since Arsenal were dumped out of the Europa League at the last-32 stage following a 2-1 home defeat to Olympiacos so Mikel Arteta has demanded a response from his players.

Another shock loss this evening and our season would be on the verge of being over as we’re still a long way from getting back in the mix for the top four so it’s vital we don’t slip-up on the south coast.

Arsenal didn’t play in the league at the weekend so we remain 10th in the table – eight points behind Chelsea. We could move to within five points if we win our game in hand but there are so many teams battling for that all-important fourth spot it’s going to take a miracle for Arsenal to come out on top.

Therefore, the FA Cup is probably our best bet to salvage something from what’s been a disastrous season so hopefully Arteta and the players aren’t taking the trip to Portsmouth too lightly.

Team news

Sead Kolasinac has been ruled out for the rest of the month after suffering a shoulder strain during our win over Everton last weekend so Buakyo Saka should continue at left-back.

Kieran Tierney is due to resume full training this week but the trip to Portsmouth will come too soon while Calum Chambers and Cedric Soares remain on the sidelines.

As for Portsmouth, they’re confident Tom Naylor and Ronan Curtis will overcome knocks to start tonight while Christian Burgess is available despite picking up his 10th booking of the season last time out.

Preferred line-up

Arteta is expected to rotate his squad but I hope he doesn’t make too many changes as the FA Cup should now be a priority following our exit from the Europa League. Therefore, I’d stick with Bernd Leno in goal while I’d start the likes of Hector Bellerin, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

We should freshen things up in defence so I’d like to see Rob Holding given a chance alongside Sokratis while Lucas Torreira should come in to midfield along with Matteo Guendouzi.

An intense away game against a League One side probably isn’t idea for Mesut Ozil so I’d leave him out and start Dani Ceballos in a box-to-box role along with Guendouzi and Torreira in midfield.

This would be my line-up:

football formations

Score prediction

Make no mistake, Portsmouth may be a League One side but this will be a tough game. The crowd at Fratton Park will make it a hostile atmosphere and they’ll be right behind their team. Pompey have a terrific home record as they’ve won each of their last 10 games in all competitions and haven’t lost on home soil since the start of the season back in August.

However, we shouldn’t forget Arsenal have far more quality and as long as Arteta doesn’t rotate too much, I’m confident we’ll come out victorious. If we can silence the crown and get the first goal, I’d predict a 3-1 win.

Portsmouth 1-3 Arsenal

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