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Mikel Arteta explains why he dropped Gabriel Martinelli for Arsenal's Premier League clash with Aston Villa

9:08 AM EST 2/18/23
Gabriel Martinelli Mikel Arteta Arsenal 2022-23
Gabriel Martinelli was left out of the Arsenal starting XI against Aston Villa on Saturday, with Mikel Arteta going with Leandro Trossard instead.
  • Arsenal at Villa in Premier League
  • Martinelli replaced by Trossard
  • Arteta explains decision

WHAT HAPPENED? Arteta made changes to his team for the game at Villa Park, leaving Martinelli on the bench and bringing January signing Trossard into his starting XI. It was a surprise move by the Arsenal boss, given Martinelli had started every league match for the Gunners this season prior to the visit to Villa, but he said the Belgium international deserved the opportunity after some impressive cameos off the bench.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Well it’s to give Leandro the chance he deserves in the starting XI," he told BT Sport. "He’s been impacting the team every time he’s been on the field and we needed some changes and energy as well in the front line."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Arteta ended up sending Martinelli on for Trossard after 68 minutes of the match with the scores still level. The Gunners twice had to come from behind in the game, with Bukayo Saka equalising after Ollie Watkins had made it 1-0 before Oleksandr Zinchenko made it 2-2 to cancel out Philippe Coutinho's goal. A dramatic end to the game then saw Arsenal run out 4-2 winners, with Emiliano Martinez scoring an own goal and Martinelli adding the visitors' fourth deep into stoppage time.


WHAT NEXT? Arsenal are back in Premier League action next Saturday against Leicester at the King Power Stadium.