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Gabriel Martinelli is expected to play for ArsenalThe U-23 team in late December, as they seek to accelerate their return to top form.
The 19-year-old suffered a knee injury in training on June 21 that has sidelined him for the past five months. Before his injury, Martinelli was enjoying a great season in his first year at Arsenal and had established himself as one of the club’s most important players.
Last season, he scored ten goals and provided four assists in 26 games in all competitions. He became the first Arsenal teenager to score ten goals in a single campaign since Nicolas Anelka did the same in the 1998/99 season.
The Brazilian striker has an impressive work rate and a keen eye for goal. His ability to press is second to none compared to Arsenal’s other attacking options. He’s good in the air and is blessed with a great pace that allows him to call most defenders dead.
Based on how the North London club’s season is unfolding, they are screaming for a player with the attributes and energy of Martinelli. They seem devoid of ideas and intensity in attack. The Gunners have scored just ten goals in their first ten games and you can’t win football games without finding the back of the net.
The fact that Martinelli is close to being in top form will be a big boost for the coach Mikel Arteta. During his press conference prior to the club’s Europa League game against Rapid Vienna, he had the following to say about the 19-year-old:
“Gabi is another of those who even in a moment of adversity you see him train and everything he brings to the team, his energy, his passion, his motivation, is translating positive emotions to everyone.”
“He tries and goes back and forth and wants to score a goal. He is ruthless in training in every action and the more players and staff you have to add, in the end that translates into what happens on the football field and with time you will be stable ”.
“Gabi’s pressure brings something different to the team and we need players like him.”
On how Martinelli will deal with the weight of expectation on his return, Arteta said:
Time is the keyword in this industry, and no one will give you time! The moment the ball doesn’t enter the net and you lose a soccer game, you’re going to question everything else, so it’s the same with Gabi. Now he needs time. “
“He’s done it for a period of time and at certain times throughout a game, but consistently for three years, two or one? It never has. Sorry he never did, so we can’t push him. “
“It’s like with Bukayo and other young players that we have, they have never done it in their careers, so why do you expect me to do it today? And in what environment? In what context Patience, but he’s a positive guy to have back on the team because he’s a character. “
Shortly after sustaining his injury, Arsenal announced that they expected him to recover by the end of the year and it appears they are on track to meet that deadline. It will likely take a little longer to get into first-team football considering he played his last competitive game with the Gunners in March, when they defeated Portsmouth 2-0 in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Arsenal fans will hope that his return to the fold will help the team rediscover their goalscoring mojo because without that, it will be a long and frustrating season once again.