football

Keown's Martinelli petition finally comes through in stellar Arsenal display


Apart from Gabriel Martinelli himself it seems no one was happier than Martin Keown for the Brazilian forward on Sunday.

It’s been a tough season for the Arsenal teenager who has struggled for game time since recovering from a long-term injury in December.

But he repaid Arteta’s faith in him with a fantastic performance and goal against Sheffield United in what was just his third Premier League start of the season.

Martinelli won fans over last term with a series of superb displays but this year’s struggles have seen him slip down the pecking order.

But his goal at Bramall Lane should give him a worthy confidence boost and Keown was suitably impressed.



Martin Keown was thrilled with Gabriel Martinelli's performance.
Martin Keown was thrilled with Gabriel Martinelli’s performance.

“A lot of talk about Arsenal’s recruitment and if they’ve spent too much money for certain individuals but this guy [Martinelli], it was a snip what they paid for him – £6m or so,” the Gunners legend said on BT Sport.

“This really well help him. He’s been through a lot. 14 months since he last scored at this point, he’s had injuries.

“He’s an instinctive finisher, he knows where to run and this [the goal] is a bread butter for him.



Martinelli scored against Sheffield United.
Martinelli scored against Sheffield United.

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“He went over on his ankle and I thought he was going to come off but fair play the manager kept him on.

“But if you look at it the key players that came off today, Saka, Martinelli and Lacazette he’s taken them off because he wants to protect them for Thursday night.”

Asked if Martinelli should start against Slavia Prague in Thursday’s crunch Europa League tie, Keown replied: “This depends on the selection. You’ve got Smith Rowe to think about, Aubameyang to come back in, do we put Saka back at left-back? It depends if he’s available.

“It almost feels like I’ve been signing a petition to get him [Martinelli] into the team. He’s a great talent. Now he’s in the team I think he vindicates that selection and I don’t think you can take him out now.”





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