Martinelli must take advantage of rare chance to shine for Arsenal in Carabao Cup
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he Carabao Cup has traditionally been a competition for young players and fringe players to seize their moment to shine – and Gabriel Martinelli hopes to do so on Tuesday night.
After winning Olympic gold with Brazil this summer, the 20-year-old’s season has yet to really kick off. Martinelli has started the first two Premier League games of the season, largely because Arsenal’s side have been hit by a Covid-19 outbreak, but since then their opportunities have been limited.
An abundance of attacking options and a lack of European football are partly to blame for this. Since Martinelli joined the club in 2019, Emile Smith Rowe has burst onto the scene, while Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe can also play on the left flank.
This left Martinelli fighting for minutes and that’s why tonight’s fourth round game may be more important for the Brazilian than for many others in the Arsenal squad. When the odds are tight, you need to make sure you grab them.
Arsenal are preparing for this game by looking to extend their unbeaten run to eight games and, after a miserable start to the season, there is a feeling this team could go somewhere under Mikel Arteta.
The Spaniard explained yesterday how fans are starting to ‘identify’ with the players, with many fans happy to support a side which is one of the youngest in the Premier League.
“If we can generate that every time we play in the Emirates, it is very powerful for us and very difficult for the opponent,” said Arteta, speaking of the atmosphere in last Friday’s League victory. against Aston Villa.
“I was extremely happy with that because now I can see that our supporters are starting to identify with what the team is planning and it’s very nice because at the end of the day we play for them, and you have to find the right purpose of doing it.
Martinelli may not be a regular holder, but there are few players the fans support more than him. With his impeccable hunger and work ethic, Arsenal loyalists would love to see him enter the first team.
At the moment, it looks difficult, given the lack of games and the form of the others. Smith Rowe has taken his game to another level this season, adding goals and assists, while Alexandre Lacazette’s resurgence has been so great he may well be rested tonight.
“I am very happy with him. We’re not thinking of something like that, ”the manager said. “We have a lot of options with Gabi and we have to find the right space for him to grow within the team.”
Those “options” include Martinelli’s deployment to the left or to the middle as a forward, where some at Arsenal already believe he could end up playing in the long run.
Tonight Martinelli is likely to be used on the left and with the prospect of a loan looking off the table he will be desperate to make his mark.
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