'Tired' Gabriel Martinelli having a 'tough time' at Arsenal due to Mikel Arteta's tactics, claims Emmanuel Petit
- Brazilian forward burst out of the blocks
- Represented his country at 2022 World Cup
- Has looked a little weary in recent weeks
WHAT HAPPENED? The 21-year-old South American enjoyed a positive start to the 2022-23 campaign, with five goals by the end of October allowing him to head off with his country on World Cup duty. Martinelli has, however, failed to find the target since the turn of the calendar year, with Petit suggesting that he could do with a rest after being forced to carry an attacking threat down Arsenal’s left flank on his own before the arrival of Leandro Trossard last month.
WHAT THEY SAID: Ex-Gunners midfielder Petit has told Compare.bet of the demands being placed on Martinelli: “I know they bought a couple of interesting players, but he’s playing every single game. It’s the same for all the players that went to the World Cup. I know, from my own experience, that it’s not easy. When we used to play a big tournament at the end of the season, we’d look very tired mentally and physically. So I can imagine, after playing a World Cup and then going back to their club playing every few days, it can be tiring. They need time to recover. Martinelli is still young, he’s only 21, he’s still so young and he has plenty of time to improve. I’m not surprised that he’s having a difficult time at the moment. He looks tired – mentally and physically.
“I would also say he has a tough time due to the tactical setup. With [Oleksandr] Zinchenko tucking inside to the midfield, he doesn’t get the same support as [Bukayo] Saka does on the right side with Ben White. I can understand that, you can see the way Arsenal play, most of the time it goes down the right-hand side. For me, Martinelli has the quality to make a difference by himself – his speed, he’s fast with the ball. However, it’s not the main reason behind his form, for me, it’s more about him being tired mentally and physically. He needs to recover, but I’m not very confident that [Mikel] Arteta will rotate.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Arsenal do have the option of taking Martinelli out of the firing line after acquiring Trossard from Brighton in the January transfer window, with the 28-year-old Belgium international also most at home when operating on the left wing.
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WHAT NEXT? Arsenal have seen their lead at the top of the Premier League table trimmed to just three points and could slip from the summit of Wednesday if they suffer defeat against defending champions Manchester City at Emirates Stadium.