Martinelli’s Season Comes to an Abrupt End

Arsenal 1-1 Sporting CP (3-3 agg, 3-5 pens): Martinelli penalty heartache  ends Gunners' Europa League hopes

Gabriel Martinelli had to wait for his chance to show his raw talent, since his arrival from Ituano in 2019. Unai Emery had his favored attacking trio of Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and club-record signing, Nicolas Pepe, so Martinelli had to make do with appearances in the cup competitions, as he began his Arsenal career on fire with braces in his first two games against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup and Standard Liege in the Europa League, earning him huge plaudits from his gaffer,

 “He’s hungry to have that opportunity to help us, he is very humble, he fights. I told him to have some patience for his opportunity to do like he was doing. He did that. He deserved it”

The young Brazilian finished his maiden season at Arsenal with 10 goals in 26 appearances, but game time in his second season was sporadic courtesy of a knee injury and the emergence of Emile Smith-Rowe. The tides were reversed last season with Smith-Rowe suffering from form and fitness issues, allowing Martinelli to cement his place in the starting lineup for Mikel Arteta, his season would be forever marred for that strange red card he received against Wolves in a couple of seconds. 

Lucas Torreira’s exit from the club, as well as Martin Odegaard taking the #8 jersey allowed Martinelli to grab the #11 jersey, and has become the Gunners primary winger on the left. Martinelli scored Arsenal’s opening goal of the new campaign against Crystal Palace, and followed it up with a well-taken finish in his first home game against Leicester City. He scored his third goal in five Premier League games when he latched onto Bukayo Saka’s cross to convert the ball past Emiliano Martinez in the 2-1 victory over Aston Villa. 

After three games without a goal, Martinelli responded the quickest to Odegaard crispy pass to side-foot the ball past Alisson in the exciting 3-2 win over Liverpool then followed it up with a routine strike in the 5-0 drubbing of Nottingham Forest. This was his last goal before the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, as his good form for Arsenal saw him get selected by Tite for the mundial. 

On his return from the World Cup with Brazil, Martinelli scored in back-to-back games against West Ham and Brighton, before going through a six-game goal drought that culminated in him losing his place in the team to new signing, Leandro Trossard. Gabriel Jesus’ continued absence from the squad, as well as Eddie Nketiah’s struggles with form and fitness, saw Trossard move to the center forward position, allowing Martinelli to return to the starting XI for Arsenal , and he repaid that show of faith with scoring blitz, starting with a late goal against Aston Villa, then the only goal against Leicester, before bagging a brace against Everton. 

This was followed up with strikes against Fulham, Crystal Palace, Leeds and Liverpool. Martinelli had featured in all 36 Premier League games, starting 34, and after playing for 19 minutes in the shock home defeat to Brighton, Martinelli signaled to the bench that he wanted to be withdrawn, still suffering the effects of the nasty tackle he received from Moises Caicedo. He was seen in a protective boot after the game, and it’s never nice when a player that got subbed due to an impact injury is seen wearing that equipment.

The prognosis has been confirmed that Martinelli has suffered ankle ligament damage, and will sit out the remaining games of the season, but the medical folks are hopeful that he should recover in time to feature in the pre-season games of the next campaign. This essentially means that Martinelli will end the season with 15 goals, which is his personal best, and if Martin Odegaard doesn’t score in the remaining two games, he and Martinelli will be Arsenal’s joint-highest scorers for the 2022-23 season.

Martinelli has grown to become one of Arsenal’s most important players this season, scoring the goals that were helpful to Arsenal’s cause in their title challenge that dwindled right at the business end of the campaign. He can take some pride in what he achieved this season, and would know that the exact same thing will be expected of him in the next campaign. 

For now, he has earned some well-deserved rest and I can only hope he recovers fully from his ankle injury and contribute to our cause in the next campaign.


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About enigma106

An Arsenal fan with a good sense of humor

Posted on May 18, 2023, in Arsenal, Football, Injury News, Premier League and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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