Although Gabriel Martinelli is one of Arsenal’s most talented prospects, he hasn’t had a long enough run in the side to suggest he’s a huge part of Mikel Arteta’s future plans at the Emirates Stadium.
The Brazilian hasn’t featured much this season despite hope amongst the Arsenal faithful that he’ll be given a chance to show what he’s capable of.
And now it seems as though fans will have to wait even longer to see him back in action, as he is suffering from a minor injury.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the clash with Crystal Palace on Monday night, Arteta said: “Unfortunately, he got injured last week. It’s a minor injury. We don’t know if he’s going to be available for Monday.”
On Martinelli’s lack of game time, Arteta added: “Well because of the amount of players that we have in that position first of all. He had some games that he played. He started against Brentford and he started against Chelsea as well and he started another game.”
The latest injury setback is likely to be as frustrating to Arsenal fans as it is to Martinelli, as it doesn’t seem as though Arteta can fit him into his current set-up.
However, it does seem the Brazilian is in Arteta’s plans – contrary to some reports claiming he could leave temporarily in the winter window.
“No I’m very happy with him,” Arteta said when asked if he could leave on loan. “We’re not thinking of anything like that.”
We’ve seen the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe thrive in the Spaniard’s new-look team, but Martinelli’s immediate Gunners future is a little harder to depict.
Some will argue that he may need a loan to properly get going again, whilst others think that it’s a positional issue.
If it’s indeed the latter, Arteta and Martinelli have already disagreed on where they see the Brazilian playing.
Speaking to reporters after a 1-0 win over West Ham United in March 2020, Arteta said: “[Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Martinelli] are centre forwards but with the squad balance that we have at the moment, to play on those positions on the left we don’t have five players.
“We are using one left-winger to play as a left-back [Saka] and he is not a left-back so we’re just trying to adapt to the situation that we have today, trying to create an amount of goal threat that can be successful for the team.
“That’s part of managing the players that we have.”
Arteta’s stayed true to his word too, as Martinelli started in the centre-forward role when both Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were absent with coronavirus in August.
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However, for now at least, it’s not where Martinelli is most comfortable, as he once admitted.
“I really like playing on the left end,” he told Marca in February 2020. “It is my favourite position. I give myself to the maximum for the team.
“I always give 100% for my team to end the game winning.”
Nevertheless, there’s still no need to panic just yet. At 20-years-old, Martinelli still has plenty of time to establish himself as a first-team regular, and luckily for Arsenal, he’s only likely to get better with age.
Source by Football London