Chris Sutton has urged manager Mikel Arteta to overlook both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette when Arsenal take on Villarreal in Spain this evening.
The Gunners will be keen to avoid defeat tonight when they make the trip to eastern Spain, with the all-important second-leg at the Emirates next week.
The Gunners boss admitted in his press conference that all of Lacazette, Auba, Kieran Tierney and David Luiz are in contention to feature this evening, but Chris Sutton has other ideas.
The former striker has been watching Arsenal’s opponents closely, and believes that Martinelli would be a better option in attack to get in behind Villarreal’s defence, just as Barcelona did in recent weeks.
“There is space to exploit behind this Villarreal back line,” Sutton wrote in his column with the Daily Mail.
“A ball over the top and a curved run from Antoine Griezmann was how Barcelona equalised against them in LaLiga last week. That’s a job made for Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli.
“Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are struggling to be fit for this semi-final first leg, so I’d like to see the 19-year-old Brazilian in the centre forward position.
“Behind Martinelli, I would use the improving Nicolas Pepe on the left, the exciting Emile Smith Rowe at No 10, and the lively Bukayo Saka on the right. ‘These kids have bailed out their boss more than once this season. They can do it again on Thursday night.”
Nicolas Pepe has definitely been knocking on the door in recent weeks, but if Odegaard proves to fully recovered from his recent woes I believe he has to get the nod.
Should Pepe be in contention for the centre-forward role also?