Mikel Arteta confirms Pablo Mari ready to make Arsenal debut

Mikel Arteta has confirmed Pablo Mari is ready to finally make his Arsenal debut following his transfer to the club.

Mari joined the Gunners just before the January window slammed shut, but is yet to make an appearance for the first-team.

The Spanish defender was given a run-out in Arsenal's under-23 side against Man City on Friday, alongside several other Gunners stars, in a bid to get him up to speed.

Rob Holding, Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles all played a half each, and they now look in line to feature against Portsmouth in the FA Cup fifth round tie on Monday.

Quizzed on Mari's involvement, Arteta told a press conference: "Yes, I think he (Mari) need minutes, like Rob did, like Ainsley and like Reiss as well.

"I think it was a good game for them to get their fitness levels tested as well and they trained today really well. They are all, I think, ready to play."

With first-choice centre-back Shkodran Mustafi struggling to recover from a hamstring injury picked up against Olympiakos in midweek, Mari could start the fixture against the League Two outfit.

It is likely Arteta will rest a number of key players for the encounter at Fratton Park, given Arsenal's run of five games in 15 days.

Gabriel Martinelli is likely to be handed a starting berth, along with Joe Willock, who starred in the fourth round win over Bournemouth .

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