There’s been so much for Arsenal to revel in from their 3-1 win over Liverpool.
The Gunners ensured they stayed in the title race. Jorginho proved, on his first Premier League start in nearly three months, that he has the ability to decide huge games. Kai Havertz showed that he can be an option in Gabriel Jesus’ absence. Something that has gone ever so slightly under the radar though, is just how good Gabriel Martinelli was.
The Brazilian has struggled to hit his own high standards for much of this season. Last time out he was the seventh highest scorer in the entire Premier League with 15 goals, while this campaign, his tally of five leaves him joint 33rd.
This has been a real problem for Arsenal, who have struggled to convert their dominance in matches into goals on regular occasions this season. Unsurprisingly Martinelli has come in for some criticism as a result.
It’s not just Martinelli’s goal scoring that has been off. At times he has seemed lacking in confidence and daring that made him one of the Premier League’s best last season. Put simply, he hasn’t been himself. Against Liverpool though the Brazilian reminded us just how good he can be.
Of course his goal was the highlight. The little nudge into Virgil van Dijk to force Alisson’s error, was typical of the streetwise nature of Martinelli’s best self.
When he is on form his energetic pressing makes him a nightmare for opposition defences. Arsenal won the ball in the Liverpool half 10 times on Sunday, and Martinelli was crucial to ensuring they couldn’t get out.
When the Reds did dare to venture beyond the Arsenal press the 22-year-old was a crucial out ball. Perhaps the most telling instance of this was in the first half where upon receiving David Raya’s quick bowl out Martinelli darted towards the Liverpool goal and put in a cross that Bukayo Saka should really have put away. For so much of this season the Brazilian has been frustrated by opposition low blocks but with a little space to run into he reminded the Premier League just how dangerous he can be.
“I think he looks really confident and really sharp again,” Arteta said of the Brazilian’s recent form which has seen him score three times in his last three matches. “He was a real threat today, not only for the goal he scored with how cheeky and intuitive and streetwise he was to do what he did.”
The performance was so good that even Jurgen Klopp had to offer Martinelli a high five as he trudged past the Liverpool dugout after being replaced by Leandro Trossard. The question now for Arsenal will be can he replicate it?
Frustratingly the Gunners’ next fixture is against West Ham. If the game at the Emirates Stadium over Christmas was anything to go by, then that will be another deep lying defence. After that though, Burnley could offer up some room for Martinelli to exploit, while Porto in the Champions League may want to go at Arsenal instead of sitting off.
Arteta will delighted that he has the in form Brazilian to call upon for what is set to be a crucial run of matches over the next few weeks. When he plays as well as he did against Liverpool, Martinelli could be a difference maker in this title race..…CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>