Pep Guardiola has provided the answer to unlocking Gabriel Martinelli’s potential at Arsenal
Except right now it’s a question not being answered for Gabriel Martinelli. The 19-year-old had the world at his feet before suffering a serious knee injury last summer.
Martinelli returned to action earlier than expected in December as he played 45 minutes in the EFL Trophy against AFC Wimbledon. In that brief cameo, his energy and enthusiasm took centre stage as if it had never been away.
The hype around Arsenal’s Brazilian sensation is justified. From his famous goal at Stamford Bridge to his infectious work rate that has endeared him to supporters around the world, there is a rightful clamour to see Martinelli in action.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has remained strong in his decision-making regarding youngsters this season, whether it be Reiss Nelson or Eddie Nketiah – if the Spaniard doesn’t feel that the time is right to play them, he won’t.
“No, if anything it’s my fault, he has done everything perfect,” said Arteta ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League match against Olympiacos.
“He trains incredibly well every day, his attitude cannot be any better, he is disappointed he is not playing more obviously and I have spoken to him, but he needs to be a little bit patient,
“He had some minutes, he had some games as well and it’s true the competition for the front positions is very tough but he needs to be patient and he will get his chance.”
Indeed, patience is a rarity in modern football but with Martinelli the general consensus among those from the outside is that there are games in recent weeks where he could have at least played a cameo role.
Nicolas Pepe and Willian are the obvious senior first team players ahead of Martinelli in the pecking order at Arsenal right now, and both players have come into good form of late.
footballsocial.oline understands that Martinelli has been taking individual sessions – a non-compulsory option – to improve his shooting with Arteta holding the view that he has the potential to play as a centre forward in the long-term.
Many have drawn comparisons with Pep Guardiola’s treatment of Phil Foden at Manchester City. The England midfielder has alternated between playing wide and centrally this season – but is not a regular starter despite his impressive form.
“I’m a massive fan” – Arsenal warned against allowing this hugely underrated star a transfer away
Arsenal have been urged to keep hold of Alexandre Lacazette by Gunners legend Michael Thomas, speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside.
The 1989 Arsenal title hero has made it clear he’s a big fan of Lacazette, despite the Frenchman often seeming to divide opinion due to a somewhat inconsistent spell at the Emirates Stadium.
Thomas thinks Arsenal would do well to keep hold of Lacazette, however, amid some recent transfer rumours suggesting the north Londoners could let him go this summer.
It has been suggested by football.london that Lacazette looks increasingly likely to seal a move away at the end of this season, and while Thomas admits the former Lyon man could contribute a bit more in terms of goals, he likes what he brings to the side with his experience and work rate.
“I’m a massive fan of Lacazette. He’s a player I think is very undervalued by the fans,” Thomas told
“But the players on the pitch certainly value what he brings. He battles up top, comes to get the ball and brings others into play.
“Yes he could score a few more but all in all he brings things that others don’t.
“As for keeping him I would like to keep his experience 100%. If he goes then there’s only a limited amount of players on the market that I think could replace him.”
Another player whose Arsenal future is in some doubt is Hector Bellerin, with ESPN claiming he could be on his way out of the club this summer.
The Spain international perhaps hasn’t lived up to the potential he showed as a youngster, and Thomas has named some potential replacements for him in case he does move on.
“Bellerin is clearly influential in the dressing room and is someone that can put in some really god performances on his day,” Thomas said.
“I believe that Cedric has been the better performer of the two this season though.
Full Arsenal squad revealed for Europa League tie vs Olympiacos as Mikel Arteta ponders changes
Arsenal will be looking to progress to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League when they face Greek outfit Olympiacos in the second-leg of their last-16 showdown at the Emirates Stadium this evening, kick-off 5:55pm.
The Gunners, who came from a goal down to beat north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon, have a 3-1 advantage from the first-leg in Athens last week.
Goals from Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Magalhaes and Mohamed Elneny sealed a superb away triumph for the Gunners, meaning they are in a very strong position ahead of tonight’s second-leg in north London.
Tonight’s clash with the Greek giants is likely to bring memories of last season’s meeting between the two clubs back for the Gunners as Olympiacos knocked Mikel Arteta’s side out of the competition at the last-32 stage, despite the Gunners having won the first-leg.
With that in mind, Arsenal will be fully aware that the tie is far from over, despite having a two-goal advantage and having scored three away goals.
And for Arteta, who has seen his side win eight of the nine matches they have played in the Europa League this season, the contest is far from concluded.
Although Arteta has insisted that the contest is not yet over between the two clubs, he has not ruled out the prospect of making changes to his team, offering opportunities to those who do not feature as regularly as they would like, especially in the Premier League.
“It’s a good time for everybody. It’s a really important game for us,” added Arteta. “Nothing has been decided, there’s still a lot to play for and we know it’s going to be tough.
“Everybody has to be ready because we have the opportunity to make changes, we have five substitutions and we will decide what is the best team to try to beat them.”