Dropped or rested? Gabriel Martinelli selection call explained by Mikel Arteta following vital 4-2 victory over Aston Villa

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Arteta Martinelli
Gabriel Martinelli found himself on the bench for the first time this Premier League season, with manager Mikel Arteta eager to point out why.
  • Martinelli rested
  • Trossard in
  • Huge Gunners win

WHAT HAPPENED? Leandro Trossard was chosen to start ahead of Martinelli for Arsenal's pivotal win at Villa Park as Arteta decided to give the young Brazilian some rest. Regardless, Martinelli took to the field with the game on the line with a quarter of the tie to play and proved decisive when picking out Jorginho to put Arsenal ahead then rounding off matters with one of the strangest goals of the season. Afterwards his manager was surprised to be asked if Martinelli had been dropped.

WHAT THEY SAID: Arteta said: "It’s not dropping him! He’s played every single minute. You don’t see players at his age doing that. We have three 21-year-olds leading the front line. It’s unheard of. Leo (Trossard) has been doing really well and we needed impact. I was really worried about the last 25 minutes of this game after everything that we put on Wednesday. We needed energy and we needed a player that could do that. I thought we did it."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Arteta certainly has a point – Martinelli has had a busy season. Until Saturday, the forward had started in every league game, featured in all but one of Arsenal's Europa League and cup ties and been to the World Cup with Brazil. The winter purchase of Trossard affords Arteta the luxury of managing his young forward line's minutes.

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WHAT NEXT FOR ARSENAL? Arsenal enjoy a free midweek, a benefit of topping their Europa League group. The next instalment in what is becoming an epic title fight comes next Saturday afternoon at Leicester City.