Football: Arsenal sweep past Portsmouth into FA Cup quarter-finals

Arsenal have cruised into the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 2-0 win at Portsmouth, thanks to goals by defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos and striker Eddie Nketiah.

Third-tier Portsmouth had not beaten Arsenal since a 5-4 league victory in 1958, but they caused the 'Gunners' plenty of problems, before the deadlock was broken on halftime.

Reiss Nelson's cross was met with a sweetly timed volley inside the area from Greece international Papastathopoulos, who put the Gunners ahead in first-half stoppage time.

The goal seemed to give Arsenal an injection of confidence and Nketiah made it 2-0 six minutes after the break, controlling a cross at pace, before bundling the ball home from close range.

Roared on by their passionate fans, Portsmouth defended well, but lacked any spark in attack, as Arsenal, the FA Cup's most successful side with 13 titles, held on for a comfortable win.

"We are improving a lot, but we are not there yet," Arsenal defender David Luiz told BT Sport. "Tonight, I am so pleased with the team, with everybody.

"They are improving every week, everyone was 100 percent focused. They [Arsenal's young players] are starting with a great opportunity with a great club."

Lucas Torreira is stretchered off against Portsmouth
Lucas Torreira is stretchered off against Portsmouth. Photo credit: Reuters.

Nketiah added the Gunners required an opening goal to settle them and they played better in the second half.

"I think the team kept pressing all game. Overall, it was a great performance by the team.

"Second half, we played a lot quicker and we were able to play better football."

The rest of the fifth-round ties will be played midweek, due to the short Premier League winter break, with the quarter-finals draws scheduled for Wednesday.