Arsenal boss Arteta on chances of Pablo Mari starting vs Portsmouth

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has this afternoon discussed the possibility of January signing Pablo Mari featuring in the club’s meeting with Portsmouth.

Portsmouth vs Arsenal

The Gunners are set to return to domestic action on Monday night, with an FA Cup trip to Fratton Park.

Arteta’s men will of course head into proceedings in search of an immediate bounce-back, on the back of a heartbreaking exit from Europe on Thursday night.

A Europa League meeting with Greek giants Olympiacos at the Emirates eventually saw Arsenal succumb to an injury-time defeat, to see their hopes of Champions League football for next season dealt a hammer blow.

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 27: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal reacts during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg match between Arsenal FC and Olympiacos FC at Emirates Stadium on February 27, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images)

As such, the FA Cup now stands as the north Londoners’ only chance of clinching silverware this season.

‘He needs minutes’

And, ahead of his side’s return to English cup action on Monday night, Mikel Arteta this afternoon provided a fitness update on his squad.

First, the Arsenal boss confirmed that January arrival Pablo Mari is likely to be handed a chance to impress, alongside the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson:

‘Yes, I think he need minutes, like Rob did, like Ainsley and like Reiss as well. I think it was a good game for them to get their fitness levels tested  as well and they trained today really well. They are all, I think, ready to play.’

Arteta also provided a positive update on Kieran Tierney, as the sidelined Scottish international continues to work towards a return to the pitch:

‘He is much closer. He is evolving really well. He feels fit. He feels confident now. He’s doing the stuff with contact, so hopefully we can have him soon.’

The Arsenal boss was then drawn directly on whether Tierney could be available to feature versus Portsmouth, to which he responded::

‘As soon as I don’t know when! Whenever we decide.’

Quotes via Arsenal’s official website

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