Arsenal are looking to bounce back from their Europa League exit as they travel to Portsmouth for the FA Cup on Monday, the final trophy they can still win this season.

Arsenal's Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta arrives for the UEFA Europa league round of 32 second leg football match between Arsenal and Olympiakos at the Emirates stadium in London on February 27, 2020.
Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta arrives for a UEFA Europa League match. Arsenal versus Olympiakos at the Emirates stadium in London on February 27, 2020. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Arsenal face Portsmouth in the fifth round of the FA Cup, travelling to the League One side’s home ground of Fratton Park.

The Gunners are mathematically out of the Premier League title race, out of Europe and the League Cup is now over, so this is the last chance to lift some silverware in Mikel Arteta’s first half a season.

All the same, we’re expecting heavy rotation. A number of players need rests, particularly after extra time on Thursday. Let’s have a look at our predicted Arsenal lineup for the Portsmouth clash.

Goalkeeper

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 27: Emiliano Martinez of Arsenal in action during the FA Cup Fourth Round match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal at Vitality Stadium on January 27, 2020, in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND – JANUARY 27: Emiliano Martinez of Arsenal in action during the FA Cup Fourth Round match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal at Vitality Stadium on January 27, 2020, in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Bernd Leno took the job of Europa League goalkeeper from Emi Martinez, but that didn’t last very long.

Martinez will presumably play in the FA Cup, both because it’s the last competition left for him and because Leno’s European introduction didn’t help Arsenal avoid elimination.

Defence

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 28: Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal in action during the Emirates Cup match between Arsenal and Olympique Lyonnais at the Emirates Stadium on July 28, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 28: Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal in action during the Emirates Cup match between Arsenal and Olympique Lyonnais at the Emirates Stadium on July 28, 2019, in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Someone has to play left-back, and ideally not Bukayo Saka again. The youngster is in great form but every time he has a chance to rest it seems like another injury forces him back into the team again.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles played left-back for the u23s on Friday, for 45 minutes. It seems like that was preparation for this game. Kieran Tierney is in full training but, like Cedric Soares, probably not quite ready.

Similarly, it seems like Hector Bellerin needs a rest. With Soares probably out and Maitland-Niles on the left, that leaves Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

In central defence, there are plenty of candidates at left centre-back. David Luiz is the usual starter, but he could rest for Pablo Mari’s debut or Rob Holding. The latter two played at left centre-back for 45 minutes each with the u23s on Friday.

Mari is probably more likely with Shkodran Mustafi as the only viable candidate on the right if Sokratis is at right-back. The defence is all a bit cobbled together.

Midfield

Arsenal's French midfielder Matteo Guendouzi gestures to supporters as he leaves after the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Arsenal at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on February 2, 2020. - The game finished 0-0. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)
Arsenal’s French midfielder Matteo Guendouzi gestures to supporters as he leaves after the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Arsenal at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on February 2, 2020. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

Again, expect rotation for the sake of resting players here. Mesut Özil and Granit Xhaka surely can’t start another game, so Joe Willock and Lucas Torreira can take their places. Then Matteo Guendouzi will also probably come in for Dani Ceballos.

Forwards

Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Everton FC at Emirates Stadium on February 23, 2020 in London, United Kingdom.
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 23: Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Everton FC at Emirates Stadium on February 23, 2020, in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Nketiah scored against Everton, then got a full rest from the squad against Olympiacos. Having also scored in the last round of the FA Cup against Bournemouth, I can’t think of any reason he shouldn’t lead the line against Portsmouth.

Reiss Nelson is back, and Arteta suggested he’s ready for action now. He could start on the right with Gabriel Martinelli on the left, allowing Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette a break.

Predicted Starting Lineup

BuildLineup.com
BuildLineup.com
Previous articlePortsmouth plan to use crowd to beat Arsenal
Next articleArteta admits Aubameyang’s future won’t be decided until May
Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.