So as I was thinking about our next game and the possible line-up when I remembered Martinelli and how much I have missed watching him. Many of us have been left frustrated at the lack of game time after coming back from his injury, but the latest comment from Arteta sheds a bit of light.
Here is what he said about when asked about Martinelli’s game time
: “It is my fault, he has done everything perfect. His attitude couldn’t be better. “He’s really disappointed that he’s not playing more obviously having spoken to him, but he needs to be a little bit patient.
“He’s had some minutes and games as well.
“He needs to be patient and he will get his chance.”
If there ever was any doubt about his fitness, surely, this statement has done enough to clear those doubts, so we can now conclude his omission is tactical.
So the question now is, how can Martinelli not fit in tactically? For me, his quality is never in doubt but it has more to do with the options we have and most importantly. what the manager wants to do.
When Arteta just joined, Tierney was injured so Saka was playing left back and our front three was usually Auba-Lacazette-Nelson but Nelson was soon dropped for Pepe.
If you are the type that studies the tactical side of the game, then you would have known that the combination of Auba and Lacazette unbalances the team as Aubemeyang is technically inept, that is why Saka has been so valuable to the team and why he will always start ahead of Pepe- he keeps the ball well, can pick a pass and has playmaking abilties, he just needs to improve his finishing and to be fair to him, the same can be said for Pepe, Lacazette and Willian.
We should only play one of Aubameyang and Lacazette and in recent weeks, what Arteta wants to do is becoming clearer and clearer. Quickly cast your mind back to the Man Utd game at home where Martinelli was subbed at half time, here is what Arteta told the Metro
after the game: “It was a tactical decision,. It was something we weren’t doing right and I thought Willi could have done better and that is why I made the decision. It was about a few things and some things we had to treat to be much more aggressive like we were in the second half, press was much better, we were closer, getting the ball really high, we had better options with the ball, It was nothing to do with Gabi, his work ethic or whatever, it was just a tactical decision”
So what is this tactics? In trying to get into Arteta’s head, I think he wants players that are highly intelligent and technical (like Wenger) to solve our creativity issues while chipping in the odd goal. Players like Emile Smith Rowe, Odegaard, Saka and to some extent Willian, are players who are elegant on the ball and are technically astute. Whilst Martinelli is a hardworking, lethal finisher he is not as technical as the aforementioned.
He might be similar to Sanchez in work rate and resilience but he is technically not there yet, putting him there is just like having Auba-Lacazette again.
I reckon the major reason why he is loved is because of this contagious positive mentality and hard work and of course his goals. Here is the pecking order now:
LW: Willian, ESR, Saka, Martinelli (In that order)
ST: Aubameyang, Lacazette, Martinelli and Nketiah
RW: Saka, Pepe, Willian, Nelson
AM: Odegaard, ESR.
Conclusively, I think Martinelli is being groomed to be a striker and if you re-watch the goals he scored for us, most of them are scored in that position anyway. The departure of Lacazette, will surely bring him closer to the first team. I will leave you with Jurgen Klopp’s remark
: …”but he is a talent of the century, he is an incredible STRIKER”
. I can’t wait to see this monster unleashed.
What do you think?