Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has discussed his attacking selection going forward, and insists youngster Gabriel Martinelli will have a significant amount of chances.
Martinelli was handed his first league start of the season on Boxing Day as the Gunners thrashed Chelsea 3-1 at the Emirates.
The Brazilian wonderkid had a terrific game and caused constant problems for Reece James throughout the game.
His performance led many to question if he should be Arteta’s first-choice for the left-wing position, ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Arteta adjusted his side for the Chelsea game and rested Aubameyang, playing a 4-2-3-1 formation with Emile Smith-Rowe playing in a number ten role and Martinelli on the left.
Aubameyang, who signed a new contract this summer, has been disappointing since putting pen to paper and has only found the net twice in the Premier League this season.
He’s been unable to properly fit in Arteta’s side this season and has struggled to produce his best football.
He was left on the bench entirely for Arsenal’s thrashing of Chelsea – their best result this season and one Arteta will hope is a turning point after a poor spell of form.
And speaking ahead of Arsenal’s game against Brighton on Tuesday, Arteta insisted he wouldn’t pick players just because of their prestige.
He said: “I think there’s a message within the squad that everybody’s important here, everybody’s here to contribute, and everybody’s useful. It doesn’t matter if you are young or a senior player, everybody’s here to contribute.
“And I think it’s a great message for everybody that when we have to rely on them, we know that we can rely on them and we don’t have any doubts about them.”
Arteta first hinted he would keep Martinelli involved after the Chelsea win as he discussed the state of his squad and praised the younger members of the side.
He said: “I think today was a really good mixture today of senior players, experienced players, and young talent that we have.
“They have been showing us in the last few weeks that they are capable of starting the games and I had no doubt they would respond today and I think they were really, really good.”