Pablo Mari To start As Arsenal Plot FA Cup Glory

Fresh from being eliminated from the UEFA Europa League, Arsenal will face Portsmouth in the FA Cup fifth round. This is a must-win clash for the Gunners who are already out of the title race and 8 points behind Chelsea in the race for a top-four finish.

Here, we look at how the Mikel Arteta could field his starting line up.


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Mikel Arteta is now a huge fan of rotating goalkeepers which could result in Bernd Leno starting yet again. Hector Bellerin has looked like a player in need of a rest and could be dropped in favor of Ainsley Maitland Niles at right back. Bukayo Saka is the only fit left-back and will again start in place of the injured Kolasinac and Tierney.

Meanwhile, Pablo Mari will make his long-awaited debut since his January move from South American Champions Flamengo. He should be paired with Sokratis who has been rarely played this year.


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Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira have not been starting in the league since Mikel Arteta took over. The two could find themselves starting as the double pivot on Monday.

Though relatively young, they both offer the perfect balance in midfield and the right platform for a player like Joe Willock to roam about ahead of them in the #10 position. The young academy graduate offers directness and a goal threat that no other midfielder at Arsenal does since Aaron Ramsey left last summer.


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This is where Arteta needs to make some bold decisions. Alexandre Lacazette has been poor all season and deserves to be dropped. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang has also played a lot of matches and is in need of a rest.

In the absence of the two, Eddie Nketiah should lead the line. On the right flank, Nicholas Pepe starts while Gabriele Martinelli covers the left-wing.

Starting XI: Leno, Niles, Saka, Mari, Sokratis, Guendouzi, Torreira, Willock, Pepe, Nketiah, Martinelli.

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