Gabriel Martinelli’s actions and words spoke volumes during and after Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Newcastle United.
And amid an injury scare for Bukayo Saka, the Brazilian may have played himself into a Premier League Gunners’ starting XI for the first time since August when they face Manchester United on Thursday night.
Having broken the deadlock 10 minutes into the second half at the weekend, Saka’s afternoon ended prematurely as he hobbled off with what appeared to be a hip injury.
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“Yeah, it was an action where he said he felt something,” the Spaniard said. “He wasn’t comfortable to continue and we’ll have to assess him tomorrow and probably scan him to see if there’s any injury there.
“He felt something muscular and let’s see what it is.”
Of course, the possibility of being without one of his key players for the trip to Old Trafford will certainly have given Arteta a sleepless night, but Martinelli‘s impact against the Magpies hands the Gunners boss a welcome boost.
It’s been somewhat of a frustrating season for the 20-year-old thus far with Saturday’s appearance marking just the fifth time he’s featured in the Premier League this term.
And within seconds of replacing Saka, Martinelli opened his account for the season with an impressive finish after making a fine run from out to in and managing to stay onside.
Afterwards, he sent a clear message to Arteta.
“As I always say, even if I play two, five, ten minutes I am always ready to play and show something to the team, the manager and the fans,” he told BT Sport. “This victory was everyone, not just me. It was everyone; the team, the staff, the fans.”
The fact that Martinelli was chosen to replace Saka instead of Nicolas Pepe could serve as a hint with regards to Arteta’s plans if the England international is ruled out of the Man United clash.
As a result, Martinelli could be set for a new role at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.
Since joining from Brazilian outfit Ituano in the summer of 2019, the youngster has played most of his football operating as either a centre-forward or from the left-wing.
In fact, he prefers to play from left – a position currently being occupied by Emile Smith Rowe when Arteta plays a 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2 formation.
“I really like playing on the left end,” he told Marca last February. “It is my favourite position. I give myself to the maximum for the team. I always give 100% for my team to end the game winning.”
But with Saka doubtful coupled with his impressive cameo from the right-wing, Martinelli could find himself up against either Luke Shaw or Alex Telles on Thursday night.