Pundit tips Gabriel Martinelli to ‘be a menace’ in new role

Gabby Agbonlahor has tipped Gabriel Martinelli to thrive at centre-forward for Arsenal, likening his potential playing style to Thierry Henry.

The Brazilian will miss our next match against Brentford after suffering a double-yellow card against Wolves on Thursday, but should be available when his side take on Wolverhampton at the Emirates shortly after that.

With a gap until he is next in action, he is reported to be training to fill in at centre-forward, with the club having left themselves a little short of options through the middle after allowing both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Folarin Balogun to leave in January.

Agbonlahor has tipped Martinelli to thrive in a new role, claiming he has ‘everything’ that would help him flourish at CF.

“He looks like that sort of number nine who will drift out wide from the centre and make runs behind defenders and be a menace.,” Agbonlahor told the FootballInsider.

“He can finish too. I think he’s got everything to be a number nine.

“Then you can fit Nicolas Pepe on one wing and Bukayo Saka on the other. It definitely works, for me.

“Lacazette doesn’t offer enough agility and speed to play as Arsenal’s number nine at the moment.

“Martinelli can be like Henry and Henry did it all. I don’t see why Martinelli can start in the centre and drift out wide. He’s got it all as a centre-forward.”

I understand that Gabi prefers to play out wide, but being the main man in attack doesn’t mean he isn’t allowed to drift into wider areas, much like we have seen from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thierry Henry at the club previously. Add that to the fact that Martinelli moving into attack would mean that we could play all of Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka in the same side as him.

Do you think Martinelli could be the long-term plan for the central role?


Tags Gabby Agbonlahor Gabriel Martinelli


  1. Auba wasn’t that great though the centre – he was usually more effective from the left with someone else through the centre. Likewise Henry wasn’t at his best as a lone centre forward and didn’t play that system very often. He almost always had Bergkamp or another to occupy the middle, so it’s not exactly a good comparison.
    Not saying GM can’t do it, or we can’t find a way to make it work, but i think it would need a drastic change for him. He might even need to sacrifice some speed and agility to bulk up a bit. It’s not typical for someone of his build to play as a lone CF as its difficult to hold the ball up against physical challenges from CBs. We’ve already seen this in a couple of games.
    I guess the closest comparisons I can think of would be Aguero or Eto’o, but they played best in extremely dynamic sides with very high quality attacking mids/wingers around them, usually dominating the ball, so they weren’t getting into physical battles so frequently. We don’t have that kind of team currently.

  2. It’s a good shout. He will cause alot of problems with his runs and good feet. Also ESR Odegard and SAKA I think they can give alot of service. I hope its all true and we try it for a few games. We will still need another CF but ut will be leas urgent.

  3. With all 4 trying to run forward to score, that will slightly weaken the midfield where Lacazette usually gives some support. However, I think if Arteta tries him against Wolves, He should be careful because they will come with a spirit of revenge.

    Our players must avoid red cards and injuries if they don’t want to compromise top 4

  4. I think more than Martinelli being tried out as CF, Arteta should try out Pepe as CF. This will not only allow Pepe to flourish in more scoring positions but also allow Martinelli play in his more natural position on the left where he likes to cut inside and fire or create chances for Pepe and Saka. Another point, maybe Laca can partner Partey as a holding midfielder which would allow either Odegard or ESR to move further forward. The combination of Pepe, Martinelli, Saka and Ode/ESR would be enough to cause mayhem in any defence.

    1. Laca partner Party? That’s totally off man. Pepe isn’t a centre forward, he dallies too much on the ball. He’s more a dribbler than a goal scorer. Martellini is better in the CF position but Pepe should be encouraged to get into the box than hug the lines.
      Laca could be a 10 but definitely not partnering Partey

  5. Martinell is a natural CF and not a winger although
    he has also played as one. He could have played at
    CF is Auba, Laca & Eddie were not playing that

    Situation is similar to ESR who plays wing becoz
    there is Ordigard occupying number 10 role

    Verdict : Martinell would be a great CF at Arsenal

  6. For me Lacazette is the best attacking midfielder in Arsenal at the moment. Let him play there. Then Pepe or ESR from the middle with Saka and Martinelli from the wings.

  7. Anyone that’s actually watched us knows that our tactics are dire for any CF….this will render GM ineffective if this move is made or tactics aren’t changed.

    1. @PJ, one reason why we are poor from the Centre is because we are too soft in midfield, hence why Lacazette has to drop deep to support,
      For me, this would be my lineup for now, with this we could shoot more without hesitation,

      Tomiyasu- White-Gabriel-Tierney


      Saka- Lacazette-Smith-Rowe /Martinelli



      White – Gabriel- Tierney

      Tomiyasu- Partey- Ødegaard /Smith-Rowe/Xhaka- Tavares

      Saka- Lacazette/Pepe – Martinelli/ Smith-Rowe

  8. He can function as a false nine since he can also play out wide then he will definitely be a ‘nightmare to defenders’ with him being young,pacey and energetic.

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