Sports Football 03 Mar 2020 Arteta gamble pays o ...

Arteta gamble pays off as Arsenal FA Cup win eases Euro woe

AFP
Published Mar 3, 2020, 10:21 am IST
Updated Mar 3, 2020, 10:21 am IST
Coach forced to make nine changes as Europa League exit leaves star players in shock
Arsenal's English striker Eddie Nketiah (extreme right) celebrates his goal with teammates in the English FA Cup fifth round game against Portsmouth at Fratton Park stadium in Portsmouth, southern England, on Monday. AFP photo
 Arsenal's English striker Eddie Nketiah (extreme right) celebrates his goal with teammates in the English FA Cup fifth round game against Portsmouth at Fratton Park stadium in Portsmouth, southern England, on Monday. AFP photo

Portsmouth (UK): Mikel Arteta admitted he took a risk by making nine changes for Arsenal's 2-0 win over Portsmouth in the FA Cup fifth round but insisted he had no choice because some of his stars were still shell-shocked after their Europa League exit.

Arteta's side reached the FA Cup quarter-finals thanks to goals from Sokratis Papastathopoulos in first-half injury time and Eddie Nketiah six minutes after the break at Fratton Park on Monday.

 

It was a much-needed boost for Arsenal, who crashed out of the Europe League in a painful last-gasp defeat against Olympiakos on Thursday.

Arteta conceded that fielding such an inexperienced line-up -- only David Luiz and Bukayo Saka retained their places -- could have put Arsenal's only chance of silverware this season in jeopardy.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was in tears after missing a costly late chance against Olympiakos, and Mesut Ozil were both absent, while Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe were on the bench.

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