Arsenal news: Arteta’s plan for Aubameyang, fans name Lacazette replacement, Mari debut hint

All the latest news from around the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal and Mikel Arteta prepare for Monday night’s FA Cup tie against League One side Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

We’re now into March which means there’s just over two months left of the 2019/2020 season for Arsenal.

Following Thursday night’s shock elimination from the Europa League at the round of 32 stage at the hands of Olympiacos, the Gunners now have two competitions to focus on between now and May.

A top-four spot in the Premier League is still an realistic target, although not being in action this weekend because of Manchester City’s Carabao Cup commitments means they could drop out of the top 10.

But the focus is on the FA Cup. Tomorrow night the most successful team in the competition face League One outfit Portsmouth at Fratton Park as they bid to avoid a giant-killing.

As ever, football.london will have all the build-up to the game as the Gunners look to book their place in the quarter-final draw which takes place later next week.

Mikel Arteta press conference transcript

The Arsenal head coach faced the media on Saturday afternoon at London Colney and one of the main talking points from his press conference was his plan to restore Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s confidence after a costly miss against Olympiacos.

“He was gutted. Obviously he scored a wonder goal that put us through in the competition and the last kick of the game he had the best chance of the game and he felt very responsible about it.

“We’ll try to be right behind him. He’s been phenomenal all season for us and now the players have to support him, we have to support him.

“His reaction as well after the game – to face the media and the way he talked and everything – it was a very mature reaction from him.

Full transcript.

Pablo Mari debut?

Arteta has also hinted at a first-team debut for January loan signing Pablo Mari.

The defender played 45 minutes of the U23’s 4-2 defeat at the hands of Manchester City on Friday night – his second outing in Arsenal colours and first at the Emirates Stadium.

He a long with Reiss Nelson, Rob Holding and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are in contention to feature at Fratton Park.

“Yeah I think they need minutes like Rob, Reiss and Ainsley as well,” Arteta added. “It was a good game for them to get the fitness levels tested and they trained today really well.

“They’re ready to play.”

Fans name Lacazette replacement

Some Arsenal fans want to see youngster Folarin Balogun make the step up to the first-team and replace Alexandre Lacazette who has been linked with a move away in the summer transfer window.

The 18-year-old was on target twice for the U23’s against Manchester City on Friday night, prompting a huge reaction on social media.

Below is what was said on Twitter…

Tierney update

In another boost for Arsenal, Kieran Tierney is close to making his return from a shoulder injury.

Sidelined since before Christmas with a dislocated shoulder sustained in the 3-1 win over West Ham United, the Scotland international’s slated return date was always slated for March.

Whilst the cup tie at Fratton Park might come too soon, it should not be too long before he’s providing Bukayo Saka with competition for the left-back spot.

“He is much closer,” Arteta told reporters. “He is evolving really well, he feels fit and confident.

“He’s going to start with contact.

“Hopefully we can have him soon.”

 

 

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