Be patient, Martinelli is a big part of Arsenal’s future

Why is Martinelli Not Playing?


Football fandom in the modern world of Twitter, YouTube comps, trolls and reddit gifs is an utterly impatient, reactive thing. Do we have a shiny new graduate from the academy? Play him immediately! Have we signed a new player from Netherlands? He must be the next Arjen Robben!


Supporters no longer support a club but players. Everyone has an agenda, everyone has a favourite. Every young talent in the squad must be the next Messi. Team news is leaked weeks before matchdays. The transfer window is like some festive season: flights are tracked, barbers are club officials and social media likes are analyzed for clues to forgotten criminal cases. Nobody retains any sort of perspective. The only future is the next matchday. And for an exciting young talent like Gabriel Martinelli, age is but a number and all caution must be thrown into the wind.


The thirst for him to play is understandable. Martinelli is a very exciting talent. And some of the older forwards have been lacklustre for much of the season. However, nobody is considering any other factors. Things like his fitness management, the coach’s views and the competition are irrelevant. However, one must consider these things in order to gain an understanding of what is going on. We know for sure now that Martinelli is healthy and available to play. What else must be stopping him from making an appearance?


The coach’s view of Martinelli’s profile is important as well as how the team is set up. Where does Martinelli play? Left inside-forward and central forward. In recent times, it has become obvious that the coach wants a creative winger on the left instead of an inside-forward like Aubameyang. Can Martinelli play this role? Maybe. But not better than Willian, Emile Smith-Rowe and even Bukayo Saka. Martinelli’s profile as a winger is simply different.

It goes to say therefore that the next available spot is central forward. Martinelli has played there before to great success and Arteta has recently returned Aubameyang to the role. It is not too much of a stretch to imagine that the coach considers Martinelli a striker of the same profile as Aubameyang. If we assume this, then it all makes sense. Eddie Nketiah has dropped out of first-team contention back into academy football. Who’s replacing him as the third striker if not Martinelli?


As such, Aubameyang is the first choice option. Lacazette is the second and Martinelli is the third. For now. In the summer transfer window, it is expected that Arsenal will sell Lacazette. That will make Martinelli the second-choice striker and when you consider the fact that Aubameyang’s contract expires in 2 more seasons, the pathway to first-team football suddenly becomes clear for the Brazilian.


Martinelli is just 19 and hasn’t even finished growing. He has all the time in the world to become a first-team option for us but, at the moment, Aubameyang is simply ahead of him and that is not a bad thing at all. Blessed with remarkably similar traits as the Gambian, Martinelli can pick up tricks of the trade from our star striker while he’s still here.


All of this might be mere speculation but there is clear evidence of a training video that Martinelli is being repurposed into a central role. Clearly, the coach has big plans for the lad and the future belongs to our young Brazilian striker.




  1. Martinelli is more of a forward than a creator and the striker position is currently occupied by Aubameyang/ Lacazette/ Nketiah. I don’t think Martinelli can make accurate deliveries in set-pieces as what Willian did nor is he a creative midfielder

  2. Nice perspective and article,Agboola.Auba is Gabonese(Gabonese-French),not Gambian.You ought to know this,abi?

  3. Many youngsters burst on to the scene but fade just as quickly. Could this be Martinelli? Injury curtailed his season so I am no closer to finding out if he can maintain his early form. Also what effect will his new 70k per week salary with no performance clauses have on the youngster.
    The club has been burned by so many on big salaries that a far more modest spend on transfers and salaries is developing.
    May be for example the club see Balogun as another they fear may not deliver after a hefty contract is awarded to the point where they are prepared to sell him rather than be burned again.

    1. Where on earth did you get that number from?? He’s on 30k p/w with a load of target- and performance-based bonuses written in.

  4. Thank Goodness it’s not another vain cry for the boy to be inserted into the team like he’s Mbappe.
    Good to know you came across the video of him training as a CF. I have no doubts about that, as Artetahas previously said he prefers him in the CF role.
    Last week or so, I read Chris Wheatley saying Martinelli now stays back after team sessions to train with Arteta, but Martinelli himself initiated it.
    Good, I’m patient enough to know that he’ll be very important for us in the coming years so I’m not gonna join those who constantly call for him to be fast tracked into the team

  5. Agboola Congrats on recovering your usual article form , after your one off disaster about Willian! Some welcome sound sense this time, and in fact as usual, save for that Willian nonsense!

  6. A massive part of our future.

    Read a very interesting piece some while ago now.

    Apparently Arsenal are investing a HUGE amount of time and effort in converting Gabby to play up top, through the middle as the main striker.

    Martinelli has “bought into” the clubs plans for him, and remains patient.

    Although an interesting (perhaps informed article ?) I thought no more of it at the time.

    But now what I read could have a lot of credence, and keeps coming back to me.

    Why has Martinelli seemed so acceptant of warming the bench so often this year ?

    Many thought it was nursing slowly back after injury – could be.

    Plus all of the above assumes Auba will remain out wide, or leave.

    Lacca on his way ?

    M A says next year is going to go with a “bang” (or something like that) – Gabby through the middle as part of that big bang restructuring ?

    Lots of “if, buts & maybes” here.

    However, Gabby has kept his peace and seems very happy with us in what you think would be very trying circumstances.

    He may just know the “long game”.

    We shall see.

  7. Martinelli is a special talent and this year injuries aside it seems like it’s been his transitional year from winger to CF. His pace and electric acceleration will have defences trembling, they really won’t know what’s hit them. My fear is link up play because he is so quick we need players to track with him for offloads and rebounds.

    And let’s agree if the CF role doesn’t work he can easily transition back to winger.

  8. Yeah Marti is more of a scorer than a creator. The main things that are going for him based on his performances last season are aerial prowess, pace, an eye for goal, good engine, great movement in the left and central channels and good dribbling skills. His defensive workrate is also good. If we are profiling him, he is more of a pacey in behind forward who can be a pace monster. Also if he develops well in the new role, he could show a playstyle very similar to CR7 post 2014, an all action CF, who also prefers the left channel. That would be ideal considering that our left sided players like KT, ESR and to an extent Reiss are all adept at creating chances.

  9. Sorry I’m not sure how much to believe in with what Arteta is doing. He does a lot of weird things.

    What I mean by this:

    He says Saliba will slowly get into the team, January he is out on loan. Balogun scores 2 goals in EL and hasn’t been seen in forever. One of our best prospects and now most likely will leave on a free in the summer. Nelson was playing early on in the season, granted he’s not great but has also gone missing. He is constantly switching the backline for some reason.

    He shipped AMN out because he wanted Bellerin as 1st choice however, now Bellerin is not 1st choice so why did he loan out AMN. He gets Ryan for a 2nd goalkeeper but can’t play him for the EL game which was dusted. Now rumours that we want to sign him permanently when he’s rarerly played.

    Players will put on a run of good form only for him to drop them. He sticks by some players, others no. Willian was given chance after chance. Imagine if Pepe was given the changes Willian was and in his LW position. Lacazette has been in and out of the team due to sometimes when he doesn’t perform well in 1 match but did in the previous ones. Therefore this affects his confidence.

    Moreover I remmeber near the end of the season when Martinelli wasn’t picked for so many matches not even off the bench. I have a good feeling that its that Arteta doesn’t like him so he is trying to wrap around a story behind it.

  10. Gabi up front with saka and ESR flanking him and odegaard behind is a mouth watering prospect. 4 extremely talented youngsters with huge workrate and attitude. Just need the last 3 to improve their finishing.

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