Arsenal vs Sheffield United: Gabriel Martinelli- The wild card who can torment Wilder's workhorses
By Daniel Finton
Tomorrow, Arsenal face the tricky task of taking on 6th place Sheffield United at the Emirates stadium. The Blades are having a terrific campaign thus far and are placed far higher in the table than anybody could possibly have predicted them to be prior to the season kicking off. At 32 points, the newly promoted side sit four points above the Gunners who are currently sat in an underwhelming 10th place.
The match is destined to be a difficult one, although it’s certainly a game you’d expect Arsenal to attain all 3 points in. Mikel Arteta’s men must match the opposition’s notoriously high work rate if they are to have any hope of getting a positive result. One individual who’d undoubtedly match the undying efforts of the opposition is that of our Brazilian youngster, Gabriel Martinelli.
Since his arrival in North London, the Brazilian forward has been absolutely fantastic. The skill and confidence he plays with is well beyond his years, just like his incredible work rate. Additionally, his ability to score goals from numerous positions in a number of ways has been a spectacle to behold. These assets alone should warrant a spot for him in the starting eleven tomorrow. Furthermore, given the precarious circumstance that Arteta finds himself in, in terms of the “goal scoring” department, there is even more reason for the 18-year-old to partake in the match. Arsenal’s top scorer, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang was rightfully given a red card for his rash challenge on Crystal Palace’s, Max Meyer. The Gabon international will now serve a 3 match ban for his mistake. The Aubameyang situation should see Martinelli gaining some more minutes, some of which should come this weekend.
Wilder is most likely not preparing for Martinelli’s inclusion given that Arteta appears to rate Reiss Nelson very highly. It would not be surprising to see a front three of Nelson, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe tomorrow afternoon at all. It would, however, be surprising to see the Brazilian’s name thrown into the fold, and such a wild card could see Wilder’s workhorses left bamboozled.
I, for one, would love to see the youngster from the start but do understand the unlikelihood of it. Despite his undeniable ability to score goals which could help to mitigate the pain left by the loss of Aubameyang for the next three matches, compiled with Lacazette’s poor form in front of goal, I still think the new head coach will opt for the Englishman instead. Arteta seems to really fancy Nelson and his inclusion over the Brazilian would not surprise me. Nelson for Martinelli, or vise versa is not the only way the new head coach could start though. There is possibly even a shout for Martinelli to start over Pepe, but truthfully I see that as an unwise decision. Given the hiccup riddled start the Ivorian winger has endured, he needs a consistent run of games to establish himself in this league.
The Martinelli wild card will undoubtedly be a part of Arteta’s deck tomorrow, but whether or not he will use it is still to be determined.