Arsenal: What could possibly be going on with Gabriel Martinelli?

Arsenal, Gabriel Martinelli (Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Arsenal, Gabriel Martinelli (Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

Arsenal has been back in action for two whole matches and yet we have not seen the return of Gabriel Martinell. What’s going on?

When Arsenal players disappear from the limelight, it’s usually pretty easy to trace why. Matteo Guendouzi had a falling out with Mikel Arteta, Ainsley Maitland-Niles probably wanted to play a different position, Granit Xhaka had a spat with fans. But Gabriel Martinelli?

There is no conceivable reason why the Brazilian has not yet played a minute despite the club being back in action for two matches. He was arguably our biggest surprise of the season up until the pause and he was one of our best and most consistent goal threats.

And yet, with two matches now completed, both losses, with a goal deficit of -4 and just one goal scored, Martinelli hasn’t even touched the pitch. There’s no report of an injury and nothing else discussed about why he may or may not be ready to play.

Arsenal has returned, but Gabriel Martinelli hasn’t—why?

I have to give Arteta credit for some things, though—he’s been tremendous at working in youth. Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah, and Bukayo Saka have all been given ample opportunity to make a difference and, naturally, it’s Saka who is shining the brightest.

But Martinelli, who was Saka’s closest competitor, has yet to be unleashed. Martinelli, who has the second-most goals scored on the team, is apparently not a solution to only being able to score one goal despite having an attack back to full health.

We saw it against Brighton more than against City—this attack has a lot of moving pieces that fit together so well, but when the time comes for changes, and there have been plenty of opportunities for changes, Arteta is calling on Reiss Nelson and Willock before he calls on Martinelli.

Of course, there could be something going on behind the scenes, but it’s hard to imagine what. Martinelli has been over the moon about his time at the club, he’s already talking about being a legend, and his work ethic is unmatched. So what exactly is it that Arteta isn’t liking?

All I can imagine there being is some kind of injury or lacking of fitness, but you’d think there’d be some kind of report. Instead, silence.

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On the bright side, that means that we have clear and palpable improvements yet to make. The question is when that will happen. Because Brighton seemed like the chance.