Goals from Sokratis and Eddie Nketiah saw us cruise past a boisterous Portsmouth side at Fratton Park on Monday night despite Mike Dean being the man in charge .
The result now sees us into the quarter-finals of the season’s FA Cup with the rest of the ties being played through the rest of this week.
After disposing of Bournemouth in the last round of the cup, we headed back to south coast opposition in a tricky looking tie against a side who have dropped just two points from their last 15 home games but we proved just too strong.
Mikel Arteta went with a very young side to take care of the game, with Leno making way for Martinez in goal, and starts for Guendouzi, Reiss Nelson, Willock, Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah. He also gave new signing Pablo Mari his debut alongside David Luiz, Saka and Sokratis at the back.
Standard these days that we should suffer yet another injury scare, with Lucas Torreira being taken off on a stretcher after being cleaned out by a Portsmouth defender. Ceballos came on for the Uruguayan, there’s still no news on him but apparently he didn’t require a visit to hospital so fingers crossed he’ll be back quickly.
The ironic thing is, with the Pompey fans calling Torriera a cheat for ‘faking’ his injury and with the added minutes at the end of the half, we went 1-0 up against the run of play. Nelson tried to get a ball across the box with players waiting, but it was cleared straight back to him. The second, fizzed in ball, was better and Sokratis saw it home for the opener to silence the home fans.
The first half had been fairly even, and we were lucky to be ahead but it wasn’t long before we had another goal. Reiss Nelson provided another assist, Eddie Nketiah on the end of this one to double the lead.
It has to be said the young squad was a bit of a gamble by Arteta, but these things always look better when they come off. A good win which sees us in the hat for the next round and we can sit back and relax and watch the rest of the drama unfold, one positive from playing on a Monday.
Next up for the mighty Gunners is a home game against West Ham at The Emirates this weekend. The game kicks off at 3pm and gives us another opportunity to close the gap on the teams above us, and with many key players getting a rest, we should be fit and ready to go.