The Hale End Boys proving vital at The Vitality as the fans united behind Arteta


Team and fans enthused

It has been a while since Gunners fans have been able to be enthused by their team but on a wet Monday night on the Dorset coast, a first half which showed all that Arteta is about, Arsenal set up an a mouthwatering encounter with Portsmouth in the fifth round of the FA Cup. The momentum is with this young side and with Arsenal’s tradition in the great competition one might be tempted to play a little visit to

A Bukayo Saka bullet and a tidy Eddie Nketiah finish ensured Arsenal would reach the fifth round for the first time since they won the cup in 2017. It was a blistering first half which saw Saka open the scoring after five minutes following a wonderful 22-pass move. The teenager then crossed for Eddie Nketiah, who was making his first start since returning from his loan move at Leeds, who tapped him as Arsenal began to run away with it.


It ended with Sam Surridge netting a consolation for Bournemouth but the first half was enough to set up a trip to Fratton Park in round five.

But it was the Arsenal Hale End boys who stole the show. Saka who looks so mature when he plays was again outstanding as he continues to fill in at left back, Willock graced the midfield with elegance and  Nketiah only needed one chance to score. It was the end of Mikel Arteta’s first full month in charge and it yielded 3 wins and 3 draws and things are looking a lot more positive to when he took over in December. It was also his first away win as manager and to do it with as many youngsters as he did, was a credit to the “courage” as the Gunners boss praised in his post match press conference.


One thing which has changed is the atmosphere among the fans. Last night, much like at Chelsea last week, it was great to see and everyone seems so united again. People were even chanting Shkodran Mustafi’s name! For 90 minutes the away fans were loud and it is encouraging to see how different the atmosphere is to when Emery was here.

It will be the Gunners first trip to Fratton Park for 11 years, when they won 4-1 in December 2009 thanks to goals from Younes Kabul (og), Samir Nasri, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Song but it will also be a reminder for when Arsenal won 5-1 there in 2004 to reach the semi-finals of this competition.

I cannot wait for the trip to Fratton Park!

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