Arsenal v Portsmouth Line-up / Preview: Young/Hungry Attack and All Change at the Back?

A while ago, I heard this story of a Manc and a Pool supporter having a go at each other at a post office. The former claiming they are the champions of England with a record of top-flight wins hehehe; and the latter then stating they are the British champions in Europe with more EC1/CL cups than them: have that! Well you self-celebrating Mancs and Scousers, Arsenal have the Invincibles and are the Kings of the FA Cup. Final.

See the source image

After the painful exit v Olympiacos in the Europa League last Thursday we need to bounce back. A Monday night game v (nothing to lose) Portsmouth at a (probably) wet and windy Fratton Park may not be an ideal ‘bounce-back’ occasion, but Arteta and the boys will be ready for it. Over the weekend, our rivals for PL top four/five places have dropped points, except for Nuno’s Wolves. This offers hope for the rest of the season in the PL, but tonight it is all about the magical FA Cup.

So who is Arteta picking for this big game for us? I reckon he will rest a few regular players simply because he needs to and he has alternatives who are ready to step up. From Arteta’s news conference it looks like Mari, Holding, Nelson and AMN will get a chance to play.

I expect a much changed team with a few big players on the bench to come on if needed. However, in central midfield we need stability so I expect Xhaka to start, possibly supported by Guendouzi or, my preference, El Torro.

Here is my predicted line-up:

Looking forward to this one. COYRRGs!!

By TotalArsenal.

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19 Responses to Arsenal v Portsmouth Line-up / Preview: Young/Hungry Attack and All Change at the Back?

  1. pbarany says:

    Nice herald, TA.
    I think you guessed the front 4 perfectly. But assuming that the only midfielder is Xhaka who is capable of covering for the LB position when Saka goes on the attack, it is either Saka playing tonight, or Xhaka is taking a – well-deserved – rest too. I can think of a Torreira-Guendouzi midfield partnership; but I’m often guilty of trying to over-rotate the squad. 🙂

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    You could be right, PB. Xhaka rest would be welcome for him and a Tor-Guen combo is indeed possible. I think it is a fair shout that we will see quite a bit of rotation tonight…

  3. pbarany says:

    Just for the sake of an almost full 11 rotation and to meet PE’s request for a 3-4-3 in offense, 5-2-3 in defens formation, here is my not-too-likely starting line-up:

    —————Martinez————
    —Sokratis—Holding—Mari—
    Bellerin———————AMN
    ——Torreira—Guendouzi——
    —Nelson————Martinelli—
    —————Nketiah—————

    Subs: Leno, Luiz, Ceballos, Willock, Pepe, Aubameyang

    Bellerin captains, Saka could play instead of AMN (but it would be even more incomplete rotation then).

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    The more I think about it… I reckon Luiz, Saka and Auba will all play (and Xhaka). But it would be nice to see that team play, PB.

  5. apangu iddi amin says:

    Why cant the whole thing be left for the reserve team to handle in order to prove them selves.

  6. allezkev says:

    Thanks for the post Total.

    I saw some very brief highlights of Portsmouth recently and Seddon looks dangerous.

    https://www.gunnerstown.com/arsenal/2020/03/02/heads-up-on-portsmouth-pompey-hoping-toxic-atmosphere-will-help-stop-gunners-from-firing/

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    And what if they don’t, apangu? 😉

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Key is not to underestimate the opponents, Kev (as always). We will need a lot of energy and never overrelax.

  9. pbarany says:

    I know the focus is on the FA Cup game tonight – and rightly so – but let’s not forget that 18 years (a full age of discretion) ago today we visited Newcastle in St. James’ Park. Merely taking all 3 points home would not qualify for mentioning, even Bergkamp – the eponym of this blog – scoring one and assisting one would still let it fly under the radar.

    But 18 years ago the Dutch genius engineered a goal, that instantly became history. The movement he invented resembles a rugby finesse, but Dennis improved it to perfection. From a certain (ball control fetishist) point of view this is still the greatest goal ever scored in the Premier League
    https://www.premierleague.com/video/single/1627957

    The movement is so instinctive and unique that if anybody attempted to replicate it, is almost always referred as ‘trying to do a Bergkamp’. In an era, when every player spending 3 good years with a team is called (by click-bait journalists) a club legend, when a certain technique becoming synonymous with one’s name, that’s the sign of real class and true legend.

    Lacazette scored a goal back in his Lyon days with some similarities, but he didn’t get around the defender on the opposite side than the ball, so while it was really remarkable (and possibly deserved him an Arsenal transfer), was not as divine as Dennis’ original.

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent stuff, PB. It was ballet with a ball.

  11. LE GALL says:

    pbarany, i like your unlikely lineup a lot
    thanks also for the memories; at a time when laca has become the latest scapegoat, the new granit/shkodran, it seems very appropriate to remind us that he is a top-class player, unfortunately going through what must have been the most horrific season of his career so far
    among the comments to the previous post, there was a discussion about athleticism between PE and TA – i think
    actually, i’ve had serious doubts about our pre-season: i have a feeling the lads have never really been fit – and laca, who was also injured at the start of the season seems to have never been able to make up for lost time on that front – he looks as though he were stuck in third gear
    our home games against chelsea and MU gave me the impression the problem was being tackled by mikel, who asked our players to press high and hard, so much so that in both cases they ended up running on empty – but i thought to myself we definitely were on the right path
    unfortunately, ever since those games took place, our intensity has been going down, and we always look like we’re lacking pace, power, aggression, … and i’m not talking about last thursday’s game, which i couldn’t watch, and which i never will.
    whatever the lineup will be, have a nice facup game, all of you BKers

  12. PE says:

    TA, good job but I’d go with Pb’s that gives Xhaka a deserved rest. I like his 3:4:3 too. Clearly.

  13. PE says:

    Com firmed

    Martinez, Sokr, Luiż, Mari, Saka, Guendz, Torre, Nelson, Martinelli, Willock, Nketish.

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Well we both have 8/11, PB. But it is 4-2-3-1 and Willock is probably in the hole. Wow Saka really is a must start for Arteta at the moment. Indeed no Xhaka which is a surprise to me, but with that experienced back four (relatively) we should be fine. Really excited to see my predicted attack -Nelson, Marti, Willo and Eddie – start today. COYRRGs!!!!

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    A disjointed first half with poor refereeing and a poor, aggressive Portsmouth trying to ‘Stoke us out’. Some good attacks from the flank but final ball just not good enough. Then Big Sok puts in a Van Basten-like goal from a great cross by Willock. 1-0 to the Good Guys. Now let’s push on and send those nasty locals back home empty handed.

  16. LE GALL says:

    HT 1-0 to The Arsenal
    we face a team of despicable b……s
    we’re reffed by a despicable b…..d
    but it turns out alright in the end, thanks to big sok, brave soldier if ever there was one
    we’ve not created enough, as it is too often the case, but eddie/reiss do bring something upfront – I hope we’ll see more of reiss, in particular, in the weeks to come
    if we manage to block their neanderthal crosses, it should be plain sailing to the next round; I only wish one of the lads could mow down that f….r bolton for good before the end, for what he did to lucas

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Nelson had the assist not Willock.

    We are missing Xhaka to control the midfield and Arteta will have to sort this out before we start the second half (with or without a change).

    Mari looking good.

  18. LE GALL says:

    FT 2-0 to The Arsenal
    the kids were alright … again
    one more win and wembley here we come again, looking forward to it
    mari’s a very good player, made me think of laporte a lot, no wonder he caught mikel’s eye – of course he’ll have to be seen against stronger opponents
    may covid-19 catch up with dean now, and it”ll have been a perfect night

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes Mari impressed me too.

    New post 🙂

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