PORTSMOUTH host Arsenal on Monday night in an FA Cup 5th Round contest. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets.
Portsmouth v Arsenal | Monday 2nd March 2020, 19:45 | BT Sport
It’s League One versus Premier League to kick off a unique midweek slate of FA Cup action stretching all the way to Thursday and it’s a really intriguing clash between two teams who have won this competition in the last 12 years.
However, since Portsmouth ousted Cardiff in the 2008 final it’s been a sorry tale of freefall for a club who have generally been in the top two tiers. Even so, Pompey have their eyes on promotion back to the Championship and they’re in decent nick just five points off top spot.
It’s been an excellent cup run to coincide with their strong league form and those who were doubting Kenny Jackett after a mundane start to the season will be glad the experienced gaffer is still around.
Arsenal have visibly improved under new manager Mikel Arteta, that being said the Gunners were unceremoniously dumped out of the Europa League by Olympiacos despite winning the first leg in Greece. The players were on the floor at the final whistle and Arteta has a job on keeping spirits high after such an emotionally draining night for his troops.
With the top four out of the question it means Arsenal will not be qualifying for the Champions League once more and it will be interesting in the summer to see if their big name players look to leave the club. Arteta is well liked among the squad though and if he can gain the trust of his roster they may buy into the vision.
The betting angles
This game is an interesting one from a punting perspective. With a two-league gap between the pair you’d naturally have the top side as favourite but quotes as short as 4/11 look way to short to me on a side not known for their great away form.
What’s more, they’re going to Fratton Park which is a fortress for Pompey. Of the 26 games played there in all competitions this season, they have lost just once and that was a league cup tie against Southampton. They’ve won 20 times on home turf this season, few will be able to get anywhere near such an impressive record.
Pompey have been hitting the net on a regular occurrence too, scoring twice or more in 13 of their last 14 on the south coast. I would not be surprised if they bloodied a few noses and although Arsenal’s defensive record has improved under Arteta they still look unconvincing.
With that in mind I’m happy to snaffle up the 4/5 (SkyBet) offering on Both Teams To Score. Although I couldn’t put anyone off the 3/4 on Pompey with a +1.5 start on the Asian Handicap either.
I’m also keen to dip into the player card market and there’s one individual who looks a touch too big to me. Gabriel Martinelli has rarely feature for the Gunners in the Premier League but in the cup competitions he’s been a mainstay. I’m personally a big fan of him, his work rate is second to none and it seems he has an infectious attitude, perhaps something that’s been lacking at the club for a while.
The Brazilian youngster has only started 14 games this campaign but has picked up two cards and whenever I’ve seen him play he does like to get stuck in and defend from the front. With a heady atmosphere expected at Fratton Park I could see a few cards and a proper old fashioned cup tie.
Martinelli will not be used to such occasions but I think he will relish it if it becomes a battle and at 17/2 (Betfair) for a caution I’m more than willing to part with a few pounds for added interest.