Mikel Arteta has been questioned on the lack of playing time for Gabriel Martinelli ahead of Monday’s clash with Crystal Palace.
The Brazilian has featured in just two of our seven Premier League matches so far this term, despite remaining fit throughout.
One reason for his limited playing time thus far could be the fact that he wasn’t with the squad for pre-season having been at the Olympics with Brazil prior to the term.
Arteta doesn’t believe there should be any issue over his playing time at present however, although his availability isn’t certain this weekend after picking up an injury last week.
When asked why Gabi has played so little during his pre-match press conference ahead of Crystal Palace, Mikel stated(as quoted on Arsenal’s official website): “Well, because of the amount of players we have in those positions. First of all, he had some games that he played. He started against Brentford and he started against Chelsea as well. Unfortunately he got injured last week – it’s a minor injury and we don’t know if he’s going to be available for Monday. We have a lot of options with Gabi and we need to find the right space for him to grow within the squad.”
The Spaniard was then asked if he was progressing still as he would have liked, and he honestly replied: “No, if you look at the number of games that he’s played, the injuries he’s suffered have been big setbacks. We sometimes forget his age, what he’s done and where he is. We need to try to help him to maintain that balance because you know you can generate frustration that, in my opinion, comes out of a not very realistic diagnosis. You need time to do that.”
The boss then stated that he has no intention to send Martinelli out on loan at present, stating: “I’m very happy with him. We’re not thinking about anything like that.”