Category Archives: Injury News

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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The Curtain Closes on Saliba and Zinchenko’s Season

Arsenal get bad title race news as injured William Saliba and Oleksandr  Zinchenko out for rest of season | Uganda

With the first set of European club football semifinals out of the way, English teams like Manchester City and West Ham will have to return to the business of the Premier League this weekend, before locking horns with their opponents a second time in midweek. Arsenal had an opportunity to go far in the Europa League but were halted in the Round of 16 when 120 minutes of football couldn’t settle the contest against Sporting CP. Penalty shootouts ensued and the Gunners crashed out when Gabriel Martinelli missed the critical kick. 

As if losing to Sporting CP wasn’t bad enough, Arsenal also suffered major setbacks with William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu got struck with injuries that kept them out of the side. Tomiyasu required surgery straight away to mitigate the knee injury and was scheduled to be out for months. Saliba, on the other hand, was monitored for his back injury, and while he stayed on the sidelines, while the likes of Rob Holding, and more recently, Jakub Kiwior, took his place in the side, playing alongside Gabriel in the heart of the Arsenal defense. 

After several weeks of hoping for Saliba to make his comeback at some point in the campaign, all hopes have been dashed as it has been confirmed that the French defender will be out for the rest of the season. One can only hope that Saliba will recover in time to feature in pre-season for the 2023/24 campaign, but it has been one hell of a year for the center back in his first full season as an Arsenal player. When he was signed as an 18-year-old with the usual ‘huge potential’ tag on his shoulders, we had to wait for three full seasons as he refined himself in the French Ligue Un, featuring for AS Saint Etienne, OGC Nice and Olympique Marseille, before Mikel Arteta felt that it was time for him to make the setup, and he wasted no time in shunting his 50 million quid man, Ben White, to the right back spot to accommodate Saliba.

Saliba’s performances earned him a place in the Premier League Team of the Season, despite the fact that he played only 27 games. Arsenal currently has Rob Holding, Jakub Kiwior and the returning Auston Trusty in the side, but it’s believed that the Gunners might still go into the transfer window to sign a center back, with names like Marc Guehi of Crystal Palace mentioned. It’s sad to lose Saliba for the remainder of the campaign, but we have to soldier on without him, as the Gunners continue to push Manchester City to the limit in the title chase. 

In more unfortunate injury-related news, it has been reported that Oleksandr Zinchenko has suffered a recurrence of his calf strain that will rule him out for the remaining games of the season. Since his arrival in the team this season, Zinchenko has revolutionized our attacking play with his style of play, doubling up as a left back and a central midfielder, enhancing the way the team approaches the attacking play. Zinchenko, like Saliba, earned a place in the Premier League Team of the Season, and it was rightly deserved. His performances also kept an established player like Kieran Tierney out of the team.

Tierney will clearly be the beneficiary of Zinchenko’s unfortunate absence in the side, but it will be interesting to see if Tierney would take the ‘Zinchenko’ role, or just strut his stuff as a traditional left back, bombing that flank while supporting Gabriel Martinelli or Leandro Trossard. 


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Latest Injury Updates on Odegaard, G. Jesus and Trossard

Three things noticed from Gabriel Jesus' first Arsenal training session  after £45m move - Mirror Online

Following what was quite an intense battle against Sporting CP in Lisbon, the Premier League returns to our screens with Bournemouth hosting red-hot Liverpool in the lunch time fixture, but everyone connected with Arsenal will take keen interest on the proceedings at Selhurst Park in the last fixture, when former Gunner, Patrick Vieira, leads his men against the defending champions, Manchester City. The Cityzens know that a win against Crystal Palace cuts the lead at the top to two points once again, putting Mikel Arteta’s men under intense pressure to come up with the goods against Fulham away.

Arteta will have some injury concerns to contend with, and as we are already aware, Mohamed Elneny remains the only long term absentee thus far, after going under the knife to mitigate a knee injury and following his new contract extension, the Egyptian midfielder will remain at the club for another campaign, which will give him the chance to say his goodbyes the right way when that contract expires.

Injuries are part and parcel of the beautiful game and what matters the most is how clubs react to them. Elneny got injured at a time when Arsenal’s midfield general, Thomas Partey, had his own injury concerns, and with Albert Sambi Lokonga set to depart the club on loan, it was absolutely essential for the Gunners to add quantity and quality to the midfield, and that came from a surprising transfer – Jorginho from London rivals, Chelsea. Jorginho hit the ground running from the get-go allowing Arsenal the opportunity to allow Partey recuperate fully well from his injury, and we have reaped the benefits of that, with Jorginho being a positive influence, on and off the pitch.

Elsewhere, club captain, Martin Odegaard, has been a mainstay in the first team and his attacking output has been exemplary, scoring nine goals and laying up six assists for his teammates. He trained well with the team and even travelled to Lisbon to be part of the squad to take on Sporting CP, but he became unwell and couldn’t feature in the game, putting his next clash against Fulham at risk. It’s been reported that Odegaard is recovering well from his illness and the Viking chieftain is very hopeful he would feature in the all-important clash against Fulham, but he will have to go through a fitness test to ascertain whether he will be fit enough to start. 

Odegaard’s position in the squad is one that Mikel Arteta is stacked with options should the captain not be fit enough to start. Fabio Vieira is finding his rhythm in the side and will be pleased with his assist in his native country in midweek, and his style of play is somewhat similar to the Norwegian. Emile Smith-Rowe is another plausible option to play the Odegaard role, but the Englishman is still working his way to full fitness and isn’t really for the big time yet. Arteta can also tear a script from the Liverpool handbook and play three tenacious industrious hard workers – Partey, Jorginho and Granit Xhaka in midfield, but that’s highly unlikely, as it would affect the dynamism of the attacking play.

Gabriel Jesus is another player itching for a comeback, with his last competitive appearance for Arsenal coming before the World Cup in Qatar. Jesus didn’t feature much in the mundial, and managed to start alongside Gabriel Martinelli in the dead rubber game against Cameroon, but he suffered a knee injury that required surgery, sidelining him for the best part of four months. 

Jesus has been heavily involved in some training sessions, but he will be assessed ahead of the clash against Fulham tomorrow,

“We will try not to rush him back, we will try to make a fair assessment between what he needs and when he’s comfortable, as well as give the team a boost that they will need in the next few weeks.

“Everything is going well, he needs time to get himself that confident and physical state to compete with a free mind, and when he is free to do that, we will throw him in.”

With Eddie Nketiah suffering a knock on his ankle and Leandro Trossard having a groin injury (more on his anon), Gabriel Martinelli has been tasked with the burden of spearheading Arsenal’s attack and he was on the end of some good chances against Sporting CP on Thursday with the pick of the bunch, being that solo effort that was quelled by some last-ditch defending. Martinelli showed good hold up play and off the ball movement associated with a modern complete center forward, so I would expect Arteta to listen to the medical team and make the best decision regarding Jesus. 

One player whose injury came at the worst possible time was Trossard, who had nailed a spot as the center forward ahead of Nketiah, and played a pivotal role in Martinelli’s rise in form. Like Jorginho, Trossard joined the club in January, following the failed pursuit of Mykhailo Mudryk, and showed his immense quality, playing a role in the match winner against Manchester United and opening his Arsenal goalscoring account against Brentford. The Belgian maverick scored a sumptuous scorcher against Leicester but VAR played a role in cancelling the effort. 

After just 22 minutes in the home clash against Bournemouth, Trossard signaled to the bench that he felt some discomfort and had to leave the pitch and head straight to the tunnel, and it’s never a good sight seeing a player go all the way, rather than hanging out with his buddies on the bench. The initial prognosis on Trossard’s groin injury is that its not as bad as everyone feared, but he will not be available for selection till after the international break at the very least. 

I’d preview the Fulham game tomorrow after getting more updates from Mikel Arteta’s presser. 


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