Gabriel Martinelli might have dropped a big hint about starting Arsenal’s opening Premier League game of the season against Brentford tonight.
In truth, the Brazilian’s chances of doing so have been boosted following news of a double blow for the Gunners and manager Mikel Arteta ahead of kick-off in west London.
Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is set to miss the game at the Brentford Community Stadium tonight, as per Goal, who have indicated that illness is the likely reason for the 32-year-old’s absence.
And to make matters worse, The Athletic have reported that Alexandre Lacazette will also be unavailable for selection.
With Eddie Nketiah also out injured, it means Arteta’s attacking options are limited with Folarin Balogun the only other recognised centre-forward in the first-team squad.
However, Martinelli does hold the advantage over the Hale End graduate in terms of being named in the starting XI as he can play through the middle and on the left-wing as a replacement for Aubameyang.
But is the 20-year-old in line to solve Arteta’s crisis and start against the Bees?
That may be the case if his social media activity is anything to go by.
Taking to Instagram after Thursday’s final training session at London Colney, the Brazilian did his best to hype up the big game in west London, which could suggest he’s in line to start.
As seen via the post above, Martinelli uploaded an image of himself from the aforementioned training session with a four-word message that reads: “Ready for tomorrow’s game.”
Of course, at the time of the message, the Brazilian may have been hinting at being part of the matchday squad.
But events over the past 24 hours will surely have changed Arteta’s thinking and that could be fantastic news for Martinelli, who only returned to Arsenal at the beginning of the week after helping Brazil win Gold at this summer’s Olympic Games.
Interestingly, towards the end of last season, Arteta did confirm that Brazilian was going to be starting more regularly for Arsenal.
“Very close,” said the Gunners boss when asked how far he was from a regular place in the team following the 3-1 win over London rivals Crystal Palace.
“And he needs to keep fighting to be closer and closer.”
Source by Football London