Gabriel Martinelli has struggled to maintain a consistent run of games since Mikel Arteta took over as Arsenal boss.
The Brazilian had burst onto the scene after being given his debut by Unai Emery during the 2019/2020 season. Even under Arteta, Martinelli had rememberable moments and had put in some excellent performances.
However, these impressive displays have all had a common denominator which is Bukayo Saka started at left-back in those games.
The 20-year-old broke into the team around the same time as Martinelli in 2019 but was primarily used as a full-back due to the injury problems of Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac. It was in this period that the Brazilian enjoyed his best spell in an Arsenal shirt so far.
Saka played a pivotal part in Martinelli’s first home Premier League goal for the club as he provided the assist against Sheffield United in a 2-2 draw at the Emirates.
They also linked up well against Chelsea in January 2020 at Stamford Bridge in what was the Brazilian’s best game for the club after his wonderful solo strike.
Against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup in 2019, Martinelli would score a brace in an end-to-end 5-5 clash and Saka had provided an assist for one of these goals with an excellent cross from the left-hand side.
After full-time, The Reds manager Jurgen Klopp described the Brazilian as being an “Incredible striker.”
However, Martinelli’s fortunes would see a change once Saka switched positions and started to be deployed on the opposite wing. The youngster’s minutes have been extremely limited as he is often an unused substitute and has failed to have a consistent run of games under Arteta.
This has not been supported by the constant injury issues that he has been victim to, but when he is on the pitch, despite the great energy he shows – this does not correlate into enough goal contributions for the team.
He and Bukayo Saka worked excellently together down the left-hand side but this is a combination we’re unlikely to see again.
The Englishman has been magnificent on the wing for Arsenal and so much so that Before turning 20-years-old, the winger had made 92 appearances putting him in the top five for matches played as a teenager for the club.
This was followed by a Kopa award nomination for the best young player in the world. So for now, it seems that Saka is more of a competitor than a collaborator for Martinelli as they are both fighting for the wing position.
But Martinelli is getting outshone and needs to repeat the performances when linking up with Saka once he gets called upon.
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Source by Football London