Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said the club’s young players are “worth the risk” after his youthful team beat League One Portsmouth at a noisy Fratton Park to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Arteta named a side with six players aged 20 or under and they looked in control, especially in the second half, as they beat a team which had not lost in 19 home games and had won their previous 10. Pompey played well in the first half but trailed to Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ volley from Reiss Nelson’s cross just before the break.
Eddie Nketiah bundled home from close range from another Nelson cross to wrap up the victory six minutes after the restart. Pompey’s only shot on target came in the second half, with substitute Ronan Curtis’ effort saved. “I’m really pleased with them [the youngsters],” Arteta told BBC Sport. “I’m enjoying working with the players. They deserve a chance. It’s always a risk but they’re worth the risk.
“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 other fifth-round ties are on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The quarter-final draw is on BBC One on Wednesday at 21:50 GMT after Sheffield Wednesday v Manchester City.