Gabriel Martinelli sends clear message to Mikel Arteta after Arsenal star nets late winner
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Gabriel Martinelli has sent a clear message to Mikel Arteta, insisting he is “ready” to be an Arsenal regular. Martinelli came off the bench to score a late winner for Arsenal at Crystal Palace on Wednesday. The Brazilian poked home from close range in the 91st minute to put the Gunners 2-1 up, before Nicolas Pepe sealed the win deep into stoppage time.
It was only Martinelli’s second goal in the Premier League this season.
However, it was only the 19-year-old’s 13th appearance in the top flight.
Martinelli missed the first half of the season due to the ankle injury he suffered last summer.
However, he has often been used sparingly by Arteta despite returning to full fitness.
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It was Martinelli’s sixth substitute appearance out of 13 when he replaced Thomas Partey in the 78th minute at Selhurst Park.
Arsenal fans have called on Arteta to give the youngster more of an opportunity.
And he insists he is primed to play a more prominent role.
Martinelli told BT Sport: “I’m always ready, when Mikel needs me I’ll be there. Have to come on and score a goal.
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“It’s not easy but as I said I’m always ready. When Mikel needs me I’ll be there.”
Fellow youngsters Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe have nailed down starting spots under Arteta.
And the Spanish manager insists Martinelli is nearing that point, reflecting: “Very close. He needs to keep fighting to be closer and closer.
“We need to understand where the boys are in their phase of development.
“They’re going to earn the chances… it’s a joy to have them with us.”
Arsenal’s victory in south London left them in ninth in the table but still with a chance of earning qualification for the Europa League.
Martinelli is determined to finish the campaign with a win at home to Brighton on Sunday to give his side the best chance of doing that.
“So important, the victory,” Martinelli added.
“We need this victory to believe in the Europa League for next season.
“We believe in the Europa League so we need to fight. We have one more game so we go there and try to beat them.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg has revealed his excitement about Martinelli.
Ljungberg said on BT Sport: “I think he’ll score a lot of goals for Arsenal. I’m extremely excited about him.
“He’s not what you see everyday. He has that feeling when he goes, something different happens.
“He scores more goals than you ever think he will score. I remember last season, great headers, all kinds of goals from him.
“It’s more about his intuition – where he wants to be. They should be excited.”
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