Mikel Arteta opens up about Gabriel Martinelli after Arsenal win
Mikel Arteta discusses Gabriel Martinelli's recent form after Arsenal's 2-0 win over Newcastle United
Mikel Arteta has revealed his delight at the way Gabriel Martinelli has been stepping his game up for Arsenal lately.
The Brazilian teenager has found his first-team opportunities to be somewhat restricted this season but he made his sixth start of the campaign in the top flight during the 2-0 victory over Newcastle United on Sunday.
Martinelli provided the assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal in the second half after Mohamed Elneny had netted the opener for Arteta’s men at St James’ Park.
The 19-year-old will be hoping to push on and hold down a regular spot in the team between now and the end of the season, with the teenager having scoring one goal and made one assist in 19 games in all competitions so far this term.
Arteta has been pleased by Martinelli’s commitment in training and in games for the Gunners recently, and spoke glowingly of the youngster after Sunday’s win.
Speaking at his post-match news conference on Sunday, Arteta said: “I think they all played really well and Gabi is improving every week.
“He’s taking his minutes in the right way and he’s developing the way we all believe he can.
“Today he had an assist, which was an important moment, and he had some good moments off the left – and also trying to play as a number nine as well.”
Asked about his lack of playing time this season, Arteta continued: “Just look at how much he’s played in the last few years.
“Then how much he’s played with me when he’s available. Then we can discuss that. It’s what happens. This debate is always happening when you don’t win.
“If it’s not him, it will be someone else. If it’s not Gabi, it will be Lacazette, Willian or Pepe. It’s part of it.”
Arsenal will take on Villarreal in the return leg of their Europa League semi-final clash at The Emirates on Thursday night after having lost the first leg 2-1 last week.