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FA CUP – Portsmouth 0-2 Arsenal: Gunners sail into last-eight with comfortable win on south coast

PUBLISHED: 21:44 02 March 2020 | UPDATED: 21:44 02 March 2020

Arsenal's Sokratis Papastathopoulos celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the FA Cup fifth round match at Fratton Park, Portsmouth. Picture: Adam Davy/PA

Arsenal's Sokratis Papastathopoulos celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the FA Cup fifth round match at Fratton Park, Portsmouth. Picture: Adam Davy/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal eased into the last-eight of the FA Cup as they beat League One side Portsmouth 2-0 at Fratton Park on Monday night.

Portsmouth's Ben Close and Arsenal's David Luiz battle for the ball during the FA Cup fifth round match at Fratton Park, Portsmouth. Picture: Adam Davy/PAPortsmouth's Ben Close and Arsenal's David Luiz battle for the ball during the FA Cup fifth round match at Fratton Park, Portsmouth. Picture: Adam Davy/PA

Sokratis put the Gunners ahead with a thunderous volley on the stroke of half-time and the lead was doubled with 51 minutes gone as Eddie Nketiah turned home a Reiss Nelson cross from close range to secure the Gunners' quarter-final place.

Mikel Arteta named a much-changed side from the one that was knocked out of the Europa League at the hands of Olympiacos last Thursday, with David Luiz and Bukayo Saka the only players to keep their places.

Pablo Mari made his debut after signing on loan from Flamengo in January, while Nelson returned from injury and Nketiah led the line for a youthful Arsenal side.

Arteta would have been fully aware of the threat Pompey posed, with south coast side holding an impressive home record and challenging for promotion in League One, but his side put in a professional display.

Portsmouth's Ben Close and Arsenal's Joe Willock battle for the ball during the FA Cup fifth round match at Fratton Park, Portsmouth. Picture: Adam Davy/PAPortsmouth's Ben Close and Arsenal's Joe Willock battle for the ball during the FA Cup fifth round match at Fratton Park, Portsmouth. Picture: Adam Davy/PA

A physical Portsmouth side looked to cause the visitors problems early on, but it was the Gunners who had the better opening chances as Nketiah saw a close-range shot deflected over the bar while Bukayo Saka tested Alex Bass inside 20 minutes.

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Arsenal did suffer a blow early on though as Lucas Torreira was stretchered off following a heavy challenge from James Bolton.

Another chance inside the six-yard box came with half an hour gone as a burst of pace from Nelson allowed him to cross for Gabriel Martinelli, but the young Brazilian couldn't keep his header down.

Pompey looked relatively comfortable and threatened on occassion as the Gunners struggled to get out of second-gear, but the visitors took the lead on the stroke of half-time with a brilliant finish from Sokratis.

After a corner was cleared, substitute Dani Ceballos recycled possession and found Nelson out wide whose pinpoint cross was volleyed home by the Greek to put Arteta's men ahead at the break.

They took control shortly after half-time as the lead was doubled on 51 minutes.

The impressive Nelson created the opening again as he raced down the right and found Nketiah at the near post, with the stiker turning the ball home at the second time of asking under pressure from two Portsmouth defenders.

Arsenal then did well to dominate the game after that as they kept the ball well to kill off any Portsmouth hopes of a comeback and wrap up their place in the last-eight.

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