PORTSMOUTH VS ARSENAL

Good day to you all Arsenal fans worldwide and now with the recent fallout from the Europa league which personally I see as a good reality check to control our expectations. As far as I am concerned, if Arsenal will not win the Europa league, the earlier we are out of the competition the better. In the 2018/2019 season, what happened is clearly that we failed to qualify for the champions league places from the league as well as losing the final of the Europa league. We lost on both sides, ‘’When you lose, don’t lose the lesson’’.

Our defence has done much better in comparison to previous games in the earlier parts of the season but Mustafi is not better than Sokratis, not at all. Mikel Arteta has given him a lifeline, good enough but we still have better options. I still rate Rob Holding and I can understand he is still affected by the knee problems of last season which is affecting his fitness but I am hoping today that a pairing of Holding and Mari would show us plenty of promise and much better alternatives.

Pablo Mari is big, strong and left footed and expectations are high. The last time we did have a left-footed central defender, it was Thomas Vermaelen who did really well defensively and also contributed with goals but injuries did limit his playing time as the years went by but overall he was very good.

Maitland-Niles seems withdrawn to the reserves, as we barely see him play but I am hoping for squad rotation tonight, and so he should get another run at the right back. Joe Willock has been inconsistent for some time now, but the manager has shown belief in him by always putting him to replace Mesut Ozil but truly I agree that he is more of a central midfielder able to move the ball box to box than an attacking midfielder. He is still young and developing, but with a lovely feet, quick turns and strong ability to shoot (his long-range shot goal against Liverpool was no fluke),  he could still develop into that attacking midfield role.

Very surprisingly too, we are seeing less of Torreira, and more of Granit Xhaka which seems quite risky as far as I am concerned. The midfield lacked creativity until Ceballos was brought in but Torreira  should have still kept his place in the starting line-up. As we are in the last lap of the season, matches like this show us the depth of the squad and it’s a good opportunity for fringe players to stake a claim, Gabriel Martinelli’s goals are missing lately so we expect something tonight. Let us hope for a good game and encouraging signs from the team tonight.

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