Arsenal manager Mikel and his players endured a tough time towards the end of February as they surprisingly bowed out of the Europa League competition last week.
Though the North London club managed a 2-2 aggregate draw with Olympiakos in one of Europa League’s round-32 fixtures, Arsenal couldn’t progress to the next round due to away goal rule which favored the Greeks side.
However, the team started this month (March) on a brilliant note as they defeated League One side Portsmouth 2-0 in Monday’s FA Cup tie. The Gunners traveled to the Fratton Park as favorites judging by both club’s current status and quality players.
Though Kenny Jackett’s men curtailed Arsenal’s pressure during the first 40 minutes of the encounter, they couldn’t prevent the visitors from taking the lead as Sokratis Papastathopoulos found the back of the net before half-time.
Hale End Academy product Eddie Nketiah added the second goal of the game in the 51st minute to give the Gunners a morale-boosting victory. Arsenal are now through to the quarter-final round of the competition.
Having watched his former boss Pep Guardiola won the Carabao Cup for the third consecutive season on Sunday, Arteta would be glad that he is a step closer to emulating his compatriot by laying hold on the FA Cup glory with the Gunners this season.
However, he still has a long way to go because his team will need to overcome Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur’s challenge to win the trophy.
Knowing this, Arteta told reporters that the team won’t dwell too much on the victory against Jackett’s side because they know the quality of teams they will face in the next round.
He told BBC Sports after the encounter:
“There is a long way to go [in the FA Cup] But we’re on the right path. We’ll see what happens in the draw. We’ll keep going because we love this competition.”
The FA Cup competition is the Gunners only hope of claiming a silverware this season, and the players will do everything possible to end the season on a positive note.
Meanwhile, Arsenal left wing-back Bukayo Saka is set to pen a new deal with the club. According to reports emanating from the Emirates Stadium, the youngster has been offered a new bumper deal while will see him remain at the club until 2025.
This will come as a huge relieve to Arsenal manager who is keen on having the youngster in his team for a longer period of time amid speculations surrounding his future.
Saka was in action on Monday and he’s expected regain his spot in the starting XI when the team play host to West Ham United this weekend.