Arsenal have been handed a major boost with news regarding Gabriel Martinelli.
At most fans’ lowest point supporting Arsenal, and facing the worst start to a season for 39 years, there hasn’t been much in the way of good news this campaign.
Players are returning from injury in areas Arsenal aren’t majorly lacking, with two central defenders making their long awaited comebacks, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers, in the recent Europa League win over Rapid Vienna.
While the pair earning senior outings certainly classifies as ‘good’ news, it’s not quite on par with absence of a certain 19-year-old forward, who has been sorely missed.
Arsenal have been without Gabriel Martinelli for nearly 40 consecutive matches following a troublesome knee injury, one which required subsequent surgery. It’s a dangerous game to play pinning a great deal of hope on one player, especially one so young and with just 26 appearances under his belt, but the absence of the Brazilian has been keenly felt.
As per Chris Wheatley of football.london, Martinelli is set to make his Arsenal return for the Under-21’s side on Tuesday night in the Papa John’s Trophy.
Having not kicked a ball for Mikel Arteta‘s side since March, the news will come as a massive relief to the club and its supporters, especially given he’s returning ahead of schedule. Initially tipped not to play again until the New Year, that was moved to the end of December but now has been fast-tracked.
Pictured in training over the past few weeks, Martinelli has worked up enough fitness to play between 45-60 minutes in the clash against AFC Wimbledon.
Lacking quality in forward areas all season, Martinelli won’t absolve Arsenal of their bluntness in attack, but his record speaks for itself having taken to English football like a duck to water since joining in the summer of 2019.
Arriving from Brazilian fourth division side Ituano for a nominal £6m fee, he’s since scored ten goals and laid on four assists in his debut campaign, earning likenesses to none other than the legendary Ronaldo Nazario.
While still some way off earning Premier League minutes, the speed of the forward’s recovery is cause for optimism, not least with a grueling set of fixtures awaiting Arsenal in the coming December.
Capable of playing across the front line, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Willian and Alexandre Lacazette are in need of genuine competition. Martinelli will provide.