Portsmouth 0 – 2 Arsenal.
A poor first half was followed by a controlled second one and in the end Arsenal strolled into the quarter finals of the FA Cup. We don’t know what Arteta said at half time but in the second half the defence pushed up when we were attacking, and when we played out from the back/had the ball in our own half we used the space of the pitch very well and the opponents just could not get near us. Hence we were able to play out the game with ease and composure and could have won with a larger margin.
Martinez: 7 – Not much to do but had presence in the box and distributed the ball quite well. Just one or two iffy moments.
Saka: 7.5 – another class act against very physical opponents. Nothing seems to face him and he was solid both in defence and attack.
Luiz: 7.5 – showed his experience tonight and seemed very comfortable with Mari next to him.
Mari: 7.5 – solid, no nonsense defender. Strong in the air and comfortable passer of the ball.
Big Sok: 8 – we missed him last Thursday against the Greeks and I reckon that was a mistake by Arteta. Started off a bit rusty at the RB position but he fought like a lion and helped us to have the right balance in midfield. An extra point for that fabulously taken goal.
Ceballos: 7.5 – lively and got stuck in. Solid second half and seems to listen well to Arteta’s instructions.
Guendouzi: 7.5 – too many touches at times but he played a very mature second half in which he was constantly available and passed the ball round efficiently. Arteta is improving young Guendo.
Martinelli: 7 – worked his socks off and was not to be intimidated by the opponents’ physical challenges. Always keen to make things happen and his movement and runs are just fab to watch. Final balls need improving but I was really pleased by Marti’s performance today.
Willock: 6 – no lack of trying by Joe but his inexperience showed today. Still re-finding his groove under Mikel but the ‘nr10’ role is the hardest on the pitch and we need to remain patient.
Eddie: 7.5 – showed a lot of maturity and was not to be bullied by the Portsmouth defenders. Took his goal very, very well but it was his run and anticipation of Reiss’ cross that really impressed me. Eddie has that nose for goal that is so hard to find in an attacker.
Nelson: 8.5 and MOTM – a very mature performance by Reiss. Really took the game to the opponents and produced two fine assists… and could have had more tonight. I like his decision making and use of energy; he paces himself. But what is really impressive is his close control of the ball, speed and delivery. A joy to watch.