Why Mikel Arteta believes playing at Portsmouth's Fratton Park will benefit his Arsenal youngsters' development

England under-21 international Edward Nketiah celebrates scoring for Arsenal against Pompey. Picture: Joe PeplerEngland under-21 international Edward Nketiah celebrates scoring for Arsenal against Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler
England under-21 international Edward Nketiah celebrates scoring for Arsenal against Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler | PinPep
Mikel Arteta reckons the experience of playing at Fratton Park will help hone his Arsenal youngsters’ development.

The Gunners believes exciting talents such as Bukayo Sako, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah will all come on for experiencing the Pompey atmosphere.

The Blues' FA Cup run came to an end after they suffered a 2-0 loss to the Premier League heavyweights.

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Yet Kenny Jackett’s valiant side matched Arsenal for periods – especially in the first half – but didn’t make their pressure count.

Pompey were hit with a sucker punch when Sokratis Papastathopoulos opened the scoring in first-half stoppage-time before Nketiah added a second on 51 minutes.

Arteta made several changes to the side that crashed out of the Europa League at the hands of Olympiacos last week.

The Gunners boss admitted it was a risk playing his kids – but it paid off.

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He said: ‘I know it’s a difficult place to come and their record here at home is really good.

‘It was a great atmosphere and Portsmouth made it difficult. We knew we'd have moments we could suffer but we reacted and got control of the game. We got two goals and could have had a few more

‘The kids responded really well. I was pleased with the energy. I enjoy working with them.

‘They fully deserved the chance. I know it’s a risk to play them in this competition but they are worth the risk. I had no doubts about playing them.

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‘Some of them have probably never played in an atmosphere like this before and that will be a good lesson for them.

‘We were expecting them to make us work hard. But we went through that moment and we should have scored more goals.

‘It doesn’t make up for what happened in the Europa League. That still hurts. But we have to move on.

‘I assessed the team. Some of them physically were knackered. Some of them had issues, were still mentally hanging on what happened that day.

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‘To win any competition you need to be lucky with the draw and have luck in certain moments.’

Lucas Torreira was stretchered off in the 16th minute following a robust, but fair, challenge from James Bolton.

He left PO4 in a brace and Arteta’s unsure on his fitness.

‘He was in a lot of pain,' added the Spaniard.

‘He is in a brace at the moment, he will be assessed in the next few days and we will know more then.

‘I don’t know if it’s the bone or ligaments, we don’t know yet.’

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