Gabriel Martinelli has gone from strength to strength at Arsenal this season.
While four goals and two assists across the 2021/22 campaign so far might not leap off the page, the Brazilian striker has continued to prove himself as one of English football’s finest young stars.
Seldom does a day go by without the Arsenal forward throwing everything and the kitchen sink at his opponents, giving every ounce and sinew of energy for the cause.
Martinelli’s 2021/22 season
Frankly, that’s half the battle when it comes to the Premier League because fans will love you forever if you’re willing to run mini-marathons with your pressing and tracking back during games.
And that couldn’t have been more apparent than during Arsenal’s 0-0 draw against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup semi-finals on Thursday night with Martinelli once again shining for the Gunners.
Arsenal fans were absolutely delighted with the effort that they showed on Merseyside to take a clean sheet back to Emirates Stadium for the second leg despite Granit Xhaka’s red card.
Martinelli shines at Anfield
And Martinelli was one of the key protagonists in the performance with SofaScore awarding him the highest rating (6.9) of any Arsenal starter in a more advanced position than the back four.
In fact, the 20-year-old’s heat map is positively epic with yellow and orange blobs scattered across the pitch making you wonder where Mikel Arteta actually wanted him to play.
All this is to say that Martinelli continued his fine form at Anfield and even found time to drop the sort of cheeky ‘s***housery’ that Arsenal fans always go wild for by the time he was finished.
Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal Match Reaction (Football Terrace)
Martinelli makes Jones ‘sit back down’
With Liverpool pressing for an injury-time goal, Martinelli was involved in a desperate penalty appeal when Curtis Jones hit the ground under pressure from himself and Albert Sambi Lokonga.
While, as you well know, the protestations were ultimately waved away, footage showed the cheeky moment that Martinelli appeared to cheekily bush Jones back down to the ground after he’d fallen.
In what more than one Arsenal fan interpreted as Martinelli telling the Liverpool youngster to ‘sit back down’, it unsurprisingly made for a viral clip on Twitter that you can check out down below:
Now, whether or not you’re currently laughing or throwing your phone against the wall probably depends upon who you support.
It’s only natural that Gooners will be giggling at Martinelli showing the type of warrior’s spirit that Arsenal displayed all night long, whereas Kopites might think it strengthens their penalty appeal.
Martinelli’s gut-busting display
However, Martinelli’s clash with Jones is now consigned to the history books and it rounded off one of the most gut-busting performances that we’ve seen from an Arsenal player in quite some time.
In fact, you only had to look at just how exhausted Martinelli was after the full-time whistle, eventually needing hauling up by his own manager, to see the effort that he gave to the cause.
In the words of the Arsenal coach himself: “We played with a midfield three of Martinelli, Lonkonga and Saka and they have never played in that formation in their lives.
“But it doesn’t matter about the formation. Tonight was all about the attitude of the players and the quality of their decision making.”