‘It’s unfortunate’ – Pundit tips Arsenal boss to bench key forward

Noel Whelan claims that Mikel Arteta will leave Gabriel Martinelli on the bench when Arsenal take on Wolves on Thursday.

The Gunners will be keen to continue their 100% record in February and keep their hopes of a top-four finish alive when they take on Wolves this week, and will likely be confident of doing so..

Arsenal earned a hard-fought 1-0 win over Wolverhampton in the revers fixture just under two weeks ago, and will be hopeful of building on that in front of a home crowd.

The manager may have some big decisions to make, with the potential of naming an unchanged XI from the one which beat them at the Molineux, but with Martinelli having got a red card in that match, and with his replacement Emile Smith Rowe thoroughly impressing in his place this weekend, Whelan claims that ESR should be keeping his place in the side.

When asked by the FoobtallInsider if Gabi would make an immediate return to the line-up, Noel said: “I don’t think so.

“I don’t think you can ever change a winning side going into a game like this.

“He’ll have to bide his time and wait for his chance. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the way of the world in football.

“If they’d have drawn against Brentford then Arteta would have had more food for thought, but with Smith Rowe and Saka scoring – I think they’ll keep their places.

“It’s a crucial game now as well because Wolves are right up there and have some games in hand, they could easily leapfrog Arsenal.

“You can’t change a winning side, but what a plus it will be to have Martinelli on the bench against a side who are going to push you all the way in the fight for that fourth spot.”

It’s definitely a difficult one. Both Martinelli and Smith Rowe have shown immense form, and both deserve to be starting. Problem is that they both occupy the same role, and it could well be nice to see a way to fit them both into the side, but this definitely isn’t a clash where we can afford to take on such risks.

I don’t think I can even pick between the two to be honest, as I absolutely love both, and to be honest, I’m not even sure we lose anything with either choice.

Who do you think should and would be selected on Thursday?


Tags Gabriel Martinelli noel whelan


  1. Martinelli, ESR and Saka behind Laca. That’s the answer. Odegaard isn’t a better player than any of that trio behind the striker

    1. Hnmnn… You’re right. Just that, one of the Laca, Martinelli, Rowe and Saka has to be on the bench and come in as an impact sub, so Ordegaard plays.

  2. Martinelli to start on the bench for several reasons.
    -keeping the same winning side
    -Gabi should learn that there are repercussions to getting a red card
    – both Saka/ESR are scoring.
    -we need MØ to play and to dictate tempo like keeping the ball to ease the pressure ,which I expect from Wolves.

    1. I was thinking we start with Laca and see how he gets on and Gabi coming on for him,I think Laca may be in need of a rest.

  3. It will be extremely naive to keep the player Martinelli, who PRESSURISES the most, on the bentch and put time wasters like Lacazette and peppe to start a critical must win match.. Let those two come in during 2nd half when Eolve is gatigued

  4. He should start from the bench then he’ll replace any of the struggling attackers if there is any when its not too late.

  5. of course he will be benched as is always the case when a player receives a red card with MA in charge…consistency is the bedrock of his organizational model

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