Arsenal beat Newcastle United 2-0 in the Premier League on Sunday and forward Gabriel Martinelli was one of the standout players for the Gunners.
Martinelli played on the left flank while Aubameyang was used through the middle and the youngster even ended up providing a key assist during the match. This was one of the rare starts the 19-year-old has gotten this season and according to manager Mikel Arteta, a big reason why Gabriel Martinelli thrived on Sunday was due to the presence of Granit Xhaka at left-back.
The manager said, as quoted by Football London: “Yeah, it is a connection there[between Gabriel Martinelli & Aubameyang].
“I think having Granit behind him helps him in a way because he’s more in the line, in the last line, on the left when he is more comfortable.
“With Kieran it’s a little bit different. Those relationships we have to feel.
“Just look at how much he’s played in the last two years and then how much he’s played with me when he’s been available. And then we can discuss that.
Gabriel Martinelli vs Newcastle
89% pass accuracy
4 key passes
1 big chance created
2 successful dribbles
1 tackle won
1 aerial won
Martinelli & Saka – the future of Arsenal Football Club. pic.twitter.com/9gGezNjuog
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) May 2, 2021
“But it happens. This debate is always happening when you don’t win. If it is not him, it will be someone else. If it’s not Gabi, it will be Lacazette, if it’s not him it will be Willian, or Pepe. So it’s part of it.”
Kieran Tierney has been the first-choice left-back at Arsenal this season and the Scottish international was one of the best players at the club until he picked up an injury a few weeks ago.
After this injury setback, Arteta has been using Granit Xhaka at left-back and maybe be this is the reason why Gabriel Martinelli has gotten a chance to start against Newcastle United.
The Brazilian has gotten only six starts in the Premier League this season which, we think is primarily because he and Tierney do not work good in tandem. And in between the two, the left-back has just been unstoppable this season.
As of now, there’s no return date for Tierney so Gabriel Martinelli should be getting a few more starts if this theory of ours is correct. This will surely be put to test this week when Arsenal take on Villarreal in the second leg of the Europa League semi-final.
Will Mikel Arteta choose Gabriel Martinelli or Nicolas Pepe down that left flank?