Mikel Arteta has confirmed that Pablo Mari is fit and could now feature in our FA Cup clash at Portsmouth tomorrow night.
Mari was signed in the January window along with Southampton defender Cedric Soares, and neither have been fit enough to play for the first team although Mari did play for the U23s on Friday night again Man City U23s.
Rob Holding, Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles also played in the game, meaning our walking wounded are finally making steps towards full fitness and Arteta confirmed in his pre-game Press Conference that Mari could feature tomorrow:
“Yes, I think he need minutes, like Rob did, Ainsley and like Reiss as well. I think it was a good game for them to get their fitness levels tested as well and they trained today really well. They are all ready to play…”
Mari didn’t do much to stop Man City scoring four goals, to our 2 in the U23 defeat, but at least he’s on his way back. Something that could be vital for tomorrow night, especially given the way Shkodran Mustafi limped off with a hamstring injury on Thursday night.
It’s thought that Gabriel Martinelli may start along with Joe Willock and Pablo Mari, but with our shock exit from the Europa League, Arteta is keen to stay in the competition so don’t be surprised to see a very strong starting XI:
“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. 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…”
Following the Pompey game on Monday night, we have a few days recovery until we play West Ham next weekend at The Emirates in some crazy 3pm Saturday afternoon kick off – what will they think of next!