What a revelation Gabriel Martinelli has been for us this season. There is of course plenty of technical talent and he is playing with that freedom of being a youngster with relatively low expectations on his shoulder, but there are strong signs that this wee beasty from Brazil has what it takes to become a truly great player.
It is quite something to come to the UK as an 18 year young Brazilian and try and settle in AND perform straightaway whilst working for three managers in less than a season. Martinelli has build up good relationships and especially Saka is a good friend already. It shows on the pitch as they find each other with ease and celebrate each other goals with mutual appreciation.
If and when Martinelli is on the pitch he will put in a performance, and his passion combined with his technical ability and deadliness in front of goal has made him already a favourite with the fans. Together with Aubameyang he is our top scorer in the UEFA-League (3 goals, 2 assists) and in the PL he is currently our fourth best goal scorer with three goals in just 650 minutes, roughly a same average of minutes per goal as the experienced Lacazette.
It is great to watch Gabriel as he always wants to make things happen. He takes on players with his great initial acceleration and then has the calm to pick the right pass or cross. In this he is very similar to Saka and yet this is so rare to find in youngsters. We can count ourselves lucky to have (at least) two of these very fine youngsters in our squad.
The highlight of his so very young career is of course THAT goal v the Chavs. It typified him: always looking for an opportunity, giving everything once he gets one and then such determination to score that goal. But what has also been impressive is his positioning in the box and his finishing. Martinelli is cool customer in the heat of the fight and if he can develop that further he will really become a top, top player.
It is early days of course and once expectations have been raised young players will find things a lot harder. I also feel that he is not yet playing the way Arteta wants him to and as such we saw less of him in the last half a dozen games. Balancing this determination to go and attack with being an effective part in the ‘team-game’ is probably his biggest area of development. But with Gabriel’s ability, hunger and willingness to learn I have the highest hopes that this brightest of gems will shine for us in the foreseeable future, whenever that will be. 😦
Stay safe and at home fellow BKers. Look after yourself and loved ones and appreciate and support the Key Workers at much as possible.