Neil Banfield’s boys go in search of their first points of the new campaign against a side who have not beaten Arsenal for over two and a half years.
The second string take on Portsmouth at Havant and Waterlooville’s Westleigh Park on Tuesday night with the two sides boasting very different opening-day experiences.
Despite an encouraging performance against Didier Drogba and co at Underhill, Arsenal lost out to the odd goal in five against Chelsea while a large dose of first-team experience helped Portsmouth secure a comprehensive victory at Fulham. Kanu came off the bench for Pompey to hit the final goal in a 3-1 victory for a side which contained another former Gunner, Lauren, and current Arsenal loanee Armand Traore.
Banfield has stuck with the same back four that coped so admirably with Drogba but has shuffled his pack in midfield. Jack Wilshere, who has travelled to Kiev for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Dynamo, is replaced by Henri Lansbury in the centre of the park. The 17-year-old is fresh from captaining the England Under-19s to their 2-1 victory against Holland seven days ago.
The hero from that England victory, Rhys Murphy, is also in Banfield’s squad. Murphy, who struck both goals in the triumph over Holland, will have to make do with a place on the bench, although Westleigh Park is a place that holds fond memories for Murphy. The striker coolly slotted home Arsenal’s first in their 2-0 victory in the equivalent fixture last term.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.