It seems like Gabriel Martinelli has gone from the future of Arsenal to a fringe figure as Mikel Arteta continues to exclude him for whatever reason and to be fair, I’m becoming incredibly frustrated by his unwillingness to give him a runout.
I cast my mind back to the Carabao Cup quarter-final against City, to a young man who terrorised the best defence and best team in the country. Injuries put a stop to his regular inclusion, but don’t tell me he’s still injured if he’s included on the bench.
Arteta talks of him having to earn his position but that’s starting to wear thin when the boy possesses so much talent and potential and it’s hard to believe that the Spaniard can’t find a slot for Martinelli when he has persevered with both Pepe and Willian.
I’m starting to believe, like many others, that there is a problem between player and coach over playing time and his playing position which would be incredibly detrimental to Arsenal. Protect him by all means but this kid needs to play, not every week, but at least as a substitute if not a starter.
He offers something on the left that is an upgrade on Aubameyang, whose trademark cut-in is now as predictable as Marcelo Bielsa’s use of an interpreter. I’d understand a slow introduction but this is taking care to extremes and I for one don’t completely understand or buy it.
There have been games that have been crying out for this lad’s instinctive predatory contribution but Arteta seems oblivious, resistant, or both to the idea. Arteta has the talent in his squad to change games, break the stalemate and seize the initiative with Martinelli, yet he can’t buy a game, so is he off in the summer?
I certainly hope not but I’m sure he won’t want to rot in the reserves or sit at home counting the cash. He’s a player that has a burning desire and ambition to showcase his talent but at present, he’s in no man’s land, with little idea of where his next game is coming from.
This is a reckless gamble by Arteta if it’s down to personalities and part of a great manager’s job is dealing with his players, difficult or not. Some need a kind word, some need to be motivated, while others just need to know they are valued on the odd occasion.
For someone with a reputation for assisting youth, the handling of Martinelli by Arteta doesn’t reflect it. We can only hope that the problem isn’t insurmountable and that the talent Martinelli has isn’t going to be wasted but if I were the player, I’d be frustrated and angry, especially when other underachievers get the nod.