Injured in training in June 2020 during the restart, after a season that saw him boom onto the scene, felt like an unjustified outcome for Gabriel Martinelli. A signing that people were intrigued by at the time, but few considered ready for a regular role amongst the first team, Martinelli caught eyes immediately during Arsenal’s preseason. I happened to be in Colorado when Arsenal played Kroenke’s other team Colorado Rapids and was blown away by him.
At that point, I was wowed, but never still never expected it to escalate and transition into results against stronger teams. His ability to run with pace at the defense and strike a balance between direct play and quality team build up was marvelous. His movement seemed mature beyond his years, and he was a constant danger-man from the wings. As we know, he would continue his rise and make 26 appearances, notching 10 goals and 4 assists.
The question many want answered is whether Arsenal can find a way to get him on the field more when he returns, and if there is room for him to play more centrally. Much of this will depend on the shape of the team when he is back, which was slated for the new year, but the club reports today that Gabi is on the right track and confident.
“I’m feeling very well, I’m regaining confidence and I can feel my knee is better,” he said. “After an injury like this you are kind of scared to force the knee again but the past couple of weeks it has been fine and soon I can start training with the ball.
“I think we have an excellent squad and along with Mikel’s forward thinking and winning mentality we can carry on doing well.
“We are playing well and training well, everyone wants to win and we are all giving everything. I believe this season is very promising. We won trophies last season and I believe we can win this season again and also qualify for the Champions League.”Gabriel Martinelli, Arsenal.com
His reintroduction to the side will be welcomed by many who adored his workrate, effectiveness, and keen ability to create and finish. Is he someone that whose return could make Arsenal do something bold in the January window like find another suitor for Lacazette?
Lacazette is on 3 goals already this year, but some won’t be convinced by that just yet. Add in the recent move from Arteta to slide Aubameyang central within a 4-back system, something people undoubtedly want to see more of, and the picture changes to an attacking front of versatile, interchanging players that can exchange with one another on the wings and centrally. The idea of a completely fluid front 3 or 4 consisting of Saka, Aubameyang, Pepe, Martinelli, or Willian definitely has some intrigue.
Until then, heal up Gabi! We look forward to your return.