Gabriel Martinelli is a bit overrated right now
Before anyone comes at me, I’m a diehard Arsenal fan. Always have been. I love my team, but I try my best to be objective. After watching almost every game this season, I can say pretty confidently that Gabriel Martinelli is overrated right now. He’s surely talented and a player that can produce special moments but at the level Arsenal is currently at and considering manager Mikel Arteta’s playstyle, I’m not sure he’s the long-term answer.
Martinelli has been a vital cog in Arsenal’s project and now, the team has truly taken off. I mean you would have to be braindead to not see the flashes last year, though I’m not sure anyone foresaw a title push the very following season.
Now, Arsenal is an elite team so tough decisions must be made. The club is currently pushing to win the English Premier League — its last league title came in the 2003-04 season. Let that sink in. Next year, Arsenal is already going to be a serious contender in the Champions League, especially if the upcoming summer transfer window goes well.
For those reasons, Martinelli isn’t good enough for Arsenal anymore.
I’m not even sure he should be starting in the club’s next few games. With the signing of Premier League proven winger Leandro Trossard, Martinelli now has serious competition.
The thing is, at this point in his career, he’s just really one dimensional. He has no cut in game. It’s always just him trying to use his blistering pace down the line of the left side; his game has become predictable.
Trossard was more beneficial to Arsenal’s effort Sunday against Manchester United in about 10 minutes than Martinelli was for 80. Aaron Wan-Bissaka quite literally had Martinelli in his pocket — and this isn’t a reactionary take.
Post-World Cup, the 21-year-old has been bang average. I’m not sure if he’d even be good enough for a mid-table team like Crystal Palace with his current form. At best, he should be used as a substitute for the rest of the season to provide some energy. As soon as the new Belgian signing is fully acclimated, I want him in for Arsenal.
Arsenal is currently the best team in the league. They dominate possession and keep the ball in the opposite half for 70 percent of the game. The problem is that the young Brazilian is also best on quick strike counter attacks. Martinelli’s game isn’t really suited for long, dominant possession and intricate moves around the box. He thrives off chaos and that’s where we’ve seen a sort of disconnect between his play style and Arsenal’s.
The other problem about Martinelli is that I’m not sure he’s even a winger. His ability on the wings in 1-v-1 scenarios isn’t really his strength because he’s a one-trick pony with his dribbling. However, his finishing is elite, his poaching instincts are strong, and his pace with his off-ball movement is quite polished.
This thread on Twitter does a tremendous job explaining why Martinelli is a serious talent but needs to be utilized as a striker in the future to reach his ceiling — one that could look similar to Luis Suarez’s. I’d highly recommend taking a look through the thread.
Maybe Arteta does need to give Martinelli some rest. Maybe Trossard as competition will light a fire under him. Or maybe he’s just a striker. We’ll see how the rest of this season goes.
I do know one thing, though. Gabriel Martinelli is being overrated right now. Do not compare him to Bukayo Saka. Saka is currently a polished winger that might be the best in the league at his position. Martinelli has a lot of work to do to reach anywhere near that level.