Mikel Arteta has yet another headache to contend with ahead of the new season (opinion)

Arsenal’s new Premier League season commences roughly six weeks from now, and the Gunners are still trying to fit the pieces in their jigsaw with new signings.

Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares and Ben White look likely to be the fresh pieces that will be installed. However, the old ones that no longer fit, will also have to be removed. That’s already an uphill battle for technical director Edu, the new Director of Football Richard Garlick and manager Mikel Arteta have on their hands. But the latest development of Gabriel Martinelli heading to the Olympics just made things a tad more complicated.

Martinelli and Gabriel made the cut alongside Richarlison and Dani Alves

The young Brazilian will join up with defender Gabriel Magalhães for the upcoming Olympic Games with his country aiming to lift the title for the second successive time, after Neymar led the team to glory at Rio in 2016.

If Brazil end up reaching the final (which is on 6th August), both will be expected to miss the whole course of the pre-season, as well as the first match against Brentford, which is scheduled for the 13th.

Although Arsenal have enough players to cover the duo, the real worry on Mikel Arteta’s head will be injuries to their replacements. But let’s keep that thought to one side.

Roughly two years ago we signed the Brazilian livewire

The Olympic games can prove to be a massive development phase for the Arsenal duo, who will play in their first major senior tournament. Experience is priceless, and no doubt The Gunners will be rooting for the duo from London.

Martinelli and Gabriel’s inclusion means one thing to me: I will be become a Brazilian till the time the nation manages to stay in the competition, with both likely to play key roles throughout the tournament.

However, competition for places will be high in the Brazil national team. Gabriel is expected to be a more fundamental part of the starting 11 than Martinelli, but the young winger might make a positive impact during the course of the tournament. Who knows he might end up nicking a winning goal in the final (just the thought made me emotional).

Yash Bisht

Tags Gabriel Martinelli Olympics


  1. Not like Martinelli was playing much before, he wasn’t ready according to Arteta. Odd how so many players were deemed “not ready” when it is his responsibility to get them ready.

    Guess he’s more influenced by Pep than Wenger; why play youth when you just buy new players.

    Coach Saliba? Nah, just chase White for £50 million. Coach Willock? Nah just loan Odegaard. Forget Nelson chances, just appease Willian and overpay for his dead cat performances.

    Arteta is a manager, not much coach to him, over the last 18 months with Arsenal anyway. Saka was shining pre-Arteta, and the rest were frozen out or shipped off on loan.

    Martinelli worth calling up to Brazilian team, but not getting more minutes than Willian since January when he was fit?

    1. No wonder Pep has more influence on Arteta than Wenger. Unlike Arteta, before taking the role at Arsenal, Wenger has learned from all around the world. Arteta learned just from the elite and wealthy ManC training ground. It was a mistake to give Arteta the same free-hand in the club’s operations as Wenger was afforded back then.

      But, what else could you expect when you have a technical director who works hand-in-glove with player agents only.

      To put it in simple terms,
      Martinelli – signed through player scouting.
      Willian – signed through player agent.

      You get the picture now?

      1. @VasC

        Whilst more world experiences is always better for expanding your own thinking, it doesn’t mean better results.

        Wenger had more power once Kroenke came in. In fact, Wenger probably had more power and influence than any manager has ever had at their respective club…and it was an absolute disaster!

        Never leave all the decisions to one person.

        1. Wenger had absolute power to run the club his own way, before he even walked in through the doors of Highbury in 1996. I didn’t equate Wenger’s knowledge with results. Wenger didn’t cast aside players publicly because they didn’t tow his line. He ensured the club plays CL even with the financial strain caused due to the Emirates project. He knew how to keep the senior players on their toes without creating a fallout with them. Arsenal won’t be playing their home games in a 60000 capacity stadium without Wenger’s efforts.

          Arteta is tactically good. Else, he wouldn’t have won the FA cup and Community shield and taken us to the UEL semifinals.

          Arteta’s downside is his stubborn and inflexible nature. He can train players with certain qualities. But, he still needs to learn how to get the best out of every player at his disposal.

          That’s where worldly knowledge comes into play. It was never about just winning or losing. It’s just about getting the best out of what’s available right now in the hands. Arteta is continually seeking the birds in the bushes, neglecting the ones in his own hands.

          1. For me, Wenger > Arteta any time of the day.. You said he has complete control of the club, yet he never had enough budget to get the players he truly want. Do you think any sane manager of worldclass club would choose to get young, second rate players instead of world class players like hazard and suarez? Post highbury, Wenger bet it all on his ability to coach, transforming players like Nasri, rvp, Hleb, adebayor to challenge teams glittering with superstars like Man U and Chelsea.. Do you think it is easy to do what he did? There bounds to be hit and miss, especially when your best players keep leaving one after another.. If there is someone who deserve a chance to rebuild Arsenal with humongous transfer warchest, it is Wenger not Arteta.. Anyway no big player would want to play under Arteta yet Wenger’s reputation manage to lure in Real Madrid’s and Barcelona’s talisman in Ozil and Sanchez.

        2. So where is the problem?Martinelli rarely figured last season and Gabriel was far from impressive in my opinion.

    2. All theses young talents are going to run down their contracts and jump from thie sinking ship soon and arteta will keep on spending on retirees. No more talent will come to Arsenal under this management. Emi is an example. Imagine the financial loss Arteta has made during his 18 months. How many were allowed to terminate contract on free? How many overpaids were recruited? What did these bunch give in return? Terrible really. ..Arteta will destroy this club before he is fired…

    3. Well said, glad someone else is seeing it. MA cannot coach players and improve/mentor them!

      Please don’t mention Saka, kid was brilliant long before MA rocked up.

  2. It’s not a headache. Mikel hates Martinelli anyways so he’d only be on the bench. Martinelli needs to get his confidence back and I hope he gets playing time and has a big tournament. Let’s just fastforward to December when we get a new manager.

  3. Arteta, Edu and co will be unfazed by these trivial things.

    Gabriel loss can be remedied in a blink of an eye. Sign that 35 year old free agent Sergio Ramos on a lucrative five year contract.

    As for Martinelli, an in-house solution is available. Just give the PL-proven, CL-with-Arsenal-in-3-years, world-class Willian a further 3 year contract extension and double his salary.

    Both positions are covered for five years now. They can have a couple of years time-off after the Olympics before coming back to Arsenal. Oh, they can even finish the World Cup during their time-off, if they make it to the squad.

  4. Martinelli barely started

    Gabriel was not his 1st choice CB

    Enough excuses thanks, let’s move on.

  5. I think mr arteta don’t want to play players brought by unai Emery like Mateo , Torriera, Martineli,saliba he must check up

  6. If Xhaka leaves, we’ll only have Mari to feed our LB and LW. I’m not concerned about Martinelli, because we’ve got many attackers that can play on the left wing

    My other concern is the unfair negativity towards Arteta and Edu on this site, before the upcoming season even starts. Hopefully the fans at the Emirates behave differently, otherwise the team won’t be motivated to play against Chelsea and Man City in August

    1. If there is anyone the fans should vent their anger and dissatisfaction on it should be the Kroenke and really not Arteta. I hope Arsenal’s sluggishness at buying quality players for Arteta won’t cost us next season and eventually put the coach against the fans. Most times Arsenal scout good players and other clubs ends buying then it’s annoying.

      1. Arteta is to be blamed as well! And kroenke to be blamed for hiring this clueless fraud

      2. @Sylva So what you saying is that we need to get Arteta quality players to do well? Emery finished fifth with a worse squad than this 1.

        I agree he doesn’t seem to be able to improve players or actually coach. He seems to essentially need very good, complete players and send them out on the field to play…even Pep as a cheque book managers has improved many players in his time.

      3. The fans need to stop blaming Kroenke/ Arteta for what happened last season and keep moving forward. We’d better start the new season with a clean sheet, if we want the team to focus on their jobs

        Arteta’s detractors should’ve realized that he would most likely be fired in November or December, if we can’t reach top six. So no need to spread negativity and let Arsenal continue their good form in 2021

        1. With FFP in place, nobody can blame Kroenke for lack of investments in the squad. Arsenal can only spend as much as they can earn. But, how the resources are managed is down to the management staff and the board alone is not responsible.

          How can Arsenal move forward unhindered with the dead-weight WILLIAN who was signed on a three year contract last summer? Did Arsenal learn anything from the Ozil fiasco before handing Willian a ridiculous contract?

          I don’t wish to see Arteta sacked. Switching manager don’t solve nothing. I simply wish that Arteta changes his way and try to manage the resources in a better way. He must find ways to improve the players in the current squad or at least improve the marketability of those players he doesn’t feel right for his long-term project.

          Has Arteta improved any player at Arsenal during his stint except the ones who are naturally gifted like Saka, ESR and Tierney?

          I’ll give credit to Arteta for plugging a leaky defence. But, that was due to the teams collective effort and not due to individuals raising the standard by shrewd tactical coaching by Arteta. That defensive improvement had cost us in our attack and was rendered toothless in attack.

          Auba and Laca were working perfectly in tandem the season before in their LW and CF roles. In come Willian and Laca was dropped, Auba was pushed into CF to accomodate Willian in the wings. Now the fans are calling for Laca and Auba to be sold.

          Who’s making is all this, if not Arteta’s own?

          1. Kroenke could’ve bypassed FFP by replacing the manager and the players like diapers every one or two seasons, similar to what Chelsea have been doing to warn the slackers at their turf. But this method requires hundreds of millions for the severance money and it isn’t fair to the smaller clubs

            Aubameyang’s playing style worked when we played with a more counter-attacking 3-4-3 system, but he struggled after we played with possession based football. We had to change our tactic, because Arsenal should have attractive playing style and should be dominant in ball possession, as a big club

            I can’t imagine how Aubameyang could play as a CF in Guardiola’s or Mancini’s system, because his playing style is so different than Immobile’s, Kane’s and Aguero’s. He’d likely thrive in counter-attacking systems though, such as Mourinho’s, Benitez’s and Rodger’s

            About Willian, I believe Arteta has wrongly assigned him onto the right wing. Willian doesn’t have the pace to reach the byline anymore, but his other skills are perfect for LW and CAM roles

    2. GAI how do teams with right footed DMs ever get the ball to the left? You act like it’s so difficult, it really isn’t.

      In fact, right footers can usually play better through balls for a LW as the natural curve takes the ball inside the defender and then back out wide.

      Please stop making these excuses man. Left foot, right foot, whatever foot these are professionals and should be able to use both adequately.

      Please also stop this saying this negativity will cause the team to lose motivation. Sounds like you are lining up excuses and you’ve been saying this for months now. You know we’ll struggle against City and Chelsea and you are trying to set up excusesfor your beloved MA.

      FYI No good professional relies on motivation as it’s temporary, discipline and hard work is what matters.

      1. We can have two right-footed DMs in a double-pivot formation, but we’ll have to rely on our left CB or LB to pass the ball through the left sideline. Magalhaes has been doing this after we got kicked out of EL, with Elneny and Partey in front of him

        Italy don’t play with a double-pivot formation, yet they use Chiellini, Bastoni or Acerbi to feed Spinazzola and Insigne. When the ball moves through the left sideline, the opposition’s RB can only kick it out of the left sideline or kick it to the central area

  7. Whilst we had a relatively poor season, the negativity shown by some “supporters” is such that not one event is seen in a positive or optimistic light.
    Not only is nothing ever done right apparently, but all of these supposed disasters are Arteta’s fault.
    I feel sorry for any players coming in, because they are doomed before they start if Arteta signed them.
    I find it really sad that supposed fans are so obsessed with their dislike of Arteta that their comments on every happening are tainted and pessimistic.
    I opened this article expecting to read people writing that it’s good for Martinelli’s development and that they are pleased for him, Not one of the critics said that.

    1. Perhaps because Martinelli’s development mostly lies with his club Arsenal. Martinelli scored 10 goals 1st year under Emery, gives 100% on offense and defense, and has enormous hunger and passion. Yet what’s “not ready” here?
      Immature like Guendouzi? Yellow card anytime like Xhaka?

      He far outshown Nketiah who was deemed “ready.”

      Perhaps some need more than sound bites to be convinced; actions to match words.

      I merely question decisions being made; did so under Wenger and Emery, do so with Arteta. I have been consistent and don’t blindly follow anyone.

      Out of curiosity, how many people treated Emery with kid gloves like Arteta? Blindly followed and never questioned?

      Lastly, if you wanted Emery and Wenger sacked for their results, how about Arteta? Perhaps if Arsenal allowed Emery time for his “process” or “project” maybe we still wouldn’t be in 8th place.

      Afterall, Emery won Europa again so he knows what he’s doing and how to build a team.

      I’m Arsenal first, before any player or manager, and Arteta is far from convincing he’s the best one for Arsenal.

      1. For me Martinelli is very mature and a model professional, but he had one serious then another niggling injury, and he’s too young to risk it getting worse. When I watched him he was not the player from the season before – lots of running still but touch etc were missing. and whilst it may be that you need a run of games – he may be performing like that in training too. Although I’m sure he will come back, I’m surprised he got into the Olympic squad. True even then i’d pick him over Willian and Nketiah, but because of potential, not because of how he played this year.
        As usual Durand the key difference is whether you think we progressed at all over the season. I think we did, although not hugely or obviously in many areas. Emery started brightly and went on a run, although we played some rubbish and still got results. Then he fell off a cliff and yes, I was pleased he went because we were getting worse and I didnt think he could turn it round. Wenger got a rough deal, but the mess behind the scenes never came out at the time. Wenger took the flak for it all and never tried to implicate others. If he hadnt been so discrete more fans would have stayed with him, and its the fans that got him sacked.
        Bottom line? Arteta cocked a lot up, but I see at least some of the basics changing, and hope he learns. I’m tired of changing managers once a week – if it was Arteta before Emery perhaps Id have said Arteta out and give Emery more time. But I am hopeful of major improvements in a few weeks. I don’t get why others cant at least try to be positive and wait and see, with a proper pre-season and some bad blood gone.

          1. I suspect you’re right Oz but that’s one of those scenarios we can’t prove so I used the cliff!

        1. Guy
          Thank you for the response and honesty. Some excellent points regarding Martinelli, it leaves the manager with difficult choices to make regarding playing time versus his health.

          Perhaps in hindsight Arteta would do things differently based on Willian’s poor performances.

          Also, very true how Wenger handled the dire straights we were in, and maybe being more open with fans rather than covering for a bad owner maybe things would have turned out differently.

          As for progress under Arteta, I’ll say this;
          He improved the defense but his negative tactics eviscerated the attack. I don’t feel the majority of players improved on an individual basis.

          Out of Europe, 8th place 2 years running, and Arteta still wanting more money and more players.

          He has to start coaching and improving youth, we aren’t Man City and can’t throw money at our problems.

          Willock, Saliba, Balogun, Martinelli, are fine young players who need coaching to polish them. Why not extra work with Saliba and Gabriel; coach them up on playing from the back rather than throw £50 on White hoping it works out.

          1. Well said Durand – I can’t argue with one word you have written! Please don’t think I am an Arteta desciple – I just like a balanced argument. Your headlines I may find provocative (lol) but your underlying explanations are always sound and an interesting read. I’d go so far as to say I poke the bear just to hear them!

        2. Read my mind and put it into words.

          I’m NOT against Arteta. I wish him to be our manager for the entire duration of his contract. He needs time to turn things around and get the right kind of players to play the way he wants his team to play.

          Just one condition, though. Keep Arteta under a tight leash when it comes to player signings. Don’t stop him if he chooses to move PROVEN AGING DEADWOODS in his squad. But, he must work with the youngsters and prove that he can improve players individually (not the naturally gifted players like Saka, ESR, Martinelli and Tierney though), as well as the team collectively.

          Arsenal currently are a mid-table team on a Champions League budget. Until, he takes us into the UCL or at least the UEL the next season, spending millions on players will only make the task insurmountable for the next manager. On a brighter note, if he goes on to prove that he can improve the youngsters considerably, we won’t be in need of spending lavishly for a complete squad overhaul.

          Arteta must work with the players at his disposal first and prove that he can be trusted with further investments in his playing squad after showing us all how easily he can depreciate the value of the squad.

  8. Renato Sanches links to Arsenal now being reported by the media. Reported this days ago. Someone out there is always ahead.
    Smith Rowe new contract signed for 5 years at £65,000 pw including bonuses. Done deal!!!!!1

    Stay tuned

    1. Oh thanks. And has Thomas Lemar joined yet. He was a done deal like 3 years ago?

      1. I don’t force you to believe anything I post. If it happens it happens. I don’t know why you’re referring me to something years ago as if that has any effect on what I’m saying. That wasn’t even funny. Its just agenda based.

      2. Lol. I was fuming at arteta till I saw this. Made me laugh. But that was mean. Leave kev alone😂. In fairness to him, He gets his predictions right…. Sometimes

  9. Where’s the headache? With Martinellii never being one of Arteta’s first choices and four other central defenders to cover for Gabriel, this article is much adu about nothing. Congratulations to both of them. I hope they enjoy and learn from the experience.

  10. Just maybe William Saliba should not be loaned, so he can replace Gabriel Megahaels?

      1. Kstix, you’re annoying habit of just insulting Arteta without any sensible reasons for your animosity is becoming a drain on my patience.

        “If only Arteta had a thinking head” You think he doesn’t have a brain? Has he just got the top job because of his hairdo? Can I ask what you would be like if you had any braincells? Would that make you Prime Minister?

        Okay, I’ve said enough, any more inane insulting posts (BY ANYONE) without any sense will be deleted. This is NOT a playground.

          1. Haha, Good retort Ozzie, and don’t get me started on Trump lol.

            Kstix is still moderated even if he IS the Prime Minister lol…

          2. Admin Pat, you and I are of like mind regarding Trump and Johnson; both of whom’s parents spent a fortune on education, with little to show for it.

  11. This will be my selection against Brentford with the current set of players available.


    Aubameyang. Smith-Rowe. Pepe.

    Willock. Partey.

    Tierney. Mari. Holding. Cedric.


    1. That’s not a bad looking line up but come the opening day of the season, Tierney will likely be crocked, White will be in the back four, Partey will have a new partner and Balogun could be up front instead of Laca 😊.

  12. I am really routing for Crystal Palace this season. Will support them all the way except against Arsenal.

  13. @Gunners4lifeJuly “You said he has complete control of the club, yet he never had enough budget to get the players he truly want.”

    Wenger knew for a fact that spending doesn’t ALWAYS bear fruit. He spent quite reasonably (not lavishly) during the start of his managerial stint at Arsenal and many players he brought, went on the succeed and a few didn’t. He chose not to spend over the odds and not that he wasn’t granted the funds he desired.

    We were in the CL final when we moved to Highbury. That accounted for his judicial spending. He took the sensible approach of playing in the UCL every season to keep the club in a healthier financial state in the long run, instead of doing a Leeds United and putting the club in jeopardy in pursuit of success.

    Arsenal were financially sound with a good bunch of up and coming youngsters from the academy mixed with a few quality experienced players, when he left. How the new regime improved (or failed to improve) upon that, is not his fault.

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