The Brazilian youngster Gabriel Martinelli burst onto the scene at Arsenal next year, and was terrorizing defences and scoring goals for fun, despite his tender years. But a long-term knee injury stopped him in his tracks and we didn’t see him return until December.
But he only made three starts before returning to the treatment table, and despite recovering and being back in training, Martinelli has had to watch the last six Arsenal games from the bench.
Arteta doesn’t seem to want to take chances with him, and the ex-gunner Kevin Campbell thinks that Arteta is playing the long game with the Brazilian. He told FootballInsider: “Martinelli must be chomping at the bit, he will want some minutes,”
“It has been a long season and he has had a big injury. Every time he comes in for a few games there seems to be an issue.
“Arteta is taking his time with him, training him and building up his strength. He has a big part to play between now and the end of the season.
“There is still a lot of games to be played. He will get his starts very soon.”
To be fair, Arteta has had some good choices in the attacking positions, with Saka winning the last three Player Of The Month awards, and Pepe putting in some good performances lately, and Aubameyang and Lacazette getting less minutes than they are used to.
But against Burnley and Olympiakos, Saka has looked out of sorts and he may be in need of a rest himself. I certainly can’t think of a better player to replace his speed, skill and explosive talent than Martinelli.
Surely it is time to unleash the beast!