Mikel Arteta urged to give Arsenal ace “more opportunities” after impressive showing vs Portsmouth

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Martin Keown praised Arsenal new-boy Pablo Mari for his performance in the FA Cup fixture against Portsmouth.

The Spaniard made his debut for the Gunners in their 2-0 win over the League One club thanks to goals from Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Eddie Nketiah. Mari had a pretty fine outing at Fratton Park and helped his team keep a clean sheet and advance to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

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After the match, Keown praised the 26-year-old’s performance against Portsmouth, saying he has what it takes to become an important player for the team and that manager Mikel Arteta now needs to use him more.

Speaking to Goal, the former centre-back said: “He didn’t have a lot to do apart from his distribution, but he won everything when necessary. You could see that he was a little bit short of fitness and that they are building him up. He looks to have the basis of a good player there.

“He wasn’t rapid, but he was quick enough to deal with all the situations. We were playing against a League One side who had a lone striker so he and David Luiz were able to boss him between the two of them. I think it was important that he had Luiz alongside him to talk him through the game.

“Now we have to give him time, he has to be given more opportunities.”

Mari had a pretty decent debut with Arsenal and Arteta could do well to give him more first-team opportunities. The Gunners need to be a bit more organised at the back and the Spaniard wouldn’t have to do much to be an upgrade on struggling defensive players like David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi.

After beating Portsmouth, Arsenal next play West Ham at the Emirates and will be aiming for all three points in order to go up the in the Premier League table.

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