Gabriel Martinelli was once again an unused substitute as Arsenal sealed their first Premier League win of the season at home to Norwich.
The Brazilian started the Gunners’ first two games of the campaign against Brentford and Chelsea, before making a late substitute appearance in the 6-0 thrashing of West Bromwich Albion in the Carabao Cup last month.
However, following the return to fitness of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Martinelli’s two-game starting streak in the Premier League came to an end for the trip to Manchester City.
And even when the Arsenal captain was withdrawn during the 5-0 loss at the Etihad Stadium, it was Alexandre Lacazette whom manager Mikel Arteta turned to as his penultimate substitution.
With that said, a reason for Martinelli not getting any minutes against Man City can be put down to the fact that Arteta’s options were somewhat limited following Granit Xhaka’s first-half red card.
It meant the Spaniard was forced to make a change earlier than expected with Mohamed Elneny replacing Bukayo Saka at half-time to stiffen up the midfield.
Meanwhile, the game was already lost by the time Ainsley Maitland-Niles was chosen as the Gunners’ final sub.
Fast forward a fortnight and interestingly, the Gunners no.15 inadvertently played a role in ensuring Martinelli wasn’t Arteta’s final substitution once again during the closing stages of the 1-0 win over the Canaries.
As explained by a supporter on Reddit, Maitland-Niles suffering a knock late on forced a change of plans.
Wengali said: “He would have come on had AMN not pulled up and been replaced. He was warming up really intensely before that happened and they had to use Cedric instead.”
Whilst Martinelli’s latest snub has been explained, some other Arsenal fans remain concerned about how much game time the 20-year-old will get this season now that Aubameyang, Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are all fit.
Not to mention the competition he faces from Folarin Balogun for the centre-forward role and has to battle the likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Nicolas Pepe for a spot on the flanks.
As a result, there’s a theory that a loan spell would be best for Martinelli’s development.
vyomafc said: “He is definitely a talent, but I haven’t seen any progress from him in the last couple of seasons. Like others have said, he could use a loan.”
edditforprez1 said: “Yeah becoming more and more in favor of him and Flo going on loan but that leaves us incredibly thin at striker. I mean, maybe not with Auba, Laca and unsure what the situation with Nketiah as well.
“Would love to see Gabi with a week in week out role somewhere in Championship.”
Chi-Town_Gunner said: “Him and Balogun should be first candidates for a loan depending on where we are in January. Auba, Laca, Saka, ESR, Pepe, and Nketiah are all ahead for attacking positions.”
Source by Football London