Arsenal boss Arteta urged to drop Martinelli after Southampton draw
Southampton v Arsenal: Pictures
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been told to leave out Gabriel Martinelli from his starting lineup in the future after the Gunners’ 1-1 draw with Southampton on Saturday. Granit Xhaka gave the visitors the lead in the first half before Stuart Armstrong equalised with 25 minutes remaining to hand Arsenal their first Premier League draw of the season.
A disappointing result and performance saw Arteta’s side unable to continue their impressive form to begin the season, as they slumped to a draw and their lead at the top of the table over Manchester City was cut to two points as Pep Guardiola’s side defeated Brighton 3-1 on Saturday. Former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor has suggested that changes need to be made to freshen up the Gunners’ team and prevent burnout amid a busy schedule.
“Now it’s coming to the stage where a bit more rotation is needed,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider. “Does Martinelli have a rest and you bring in [Fabio] Vieira or Marquinhos? You need to rest certain players because they are going to suffer from burnout. They haven’t looked as sharp.
“Everyone keeps saying they are going to fall off but they are not going anywhere. For me, they finish in the top two this season, I don’t think they are going to win the league because I think Man City will beat them twice.
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“Apart from Man City, I feel they are capable of beating the teams around them. When they play Man United at the Emirates they will beat them. They won’t be scared of beating Liverpool at the Emirates. Arsenal are going to be up there, they are not going anywhere.”
Martinelli has been a fixture on the left of Arsenal’s front three this season alongside Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka, chipping in with four goals and two assists in 11 league games. However he has just one goal since August, in the 3-2 win over Liverpool, while Agbonlahor’s suggestions of Fabio Vieira and Marquinhos have impressed in limited minutes.
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Martinelli was a doubt for the trip to Southampton as he missed training ahead of the 1-0 Europa League win over PSV on Thursday, and while he did not start the match as Arteta made several changes to face the Dutch side, he did come off the bench. The Spaniard has warned his players that rotation is likely to be kept at a minimum this season however.
“Look at the top players in the world. They play 70 matches every three days and make the difference and win the game,” Arteta said.
“If you want to be at the top, you have to be able to do that. And if we start to put something different in the mind of a young player, I think we are making a huge mistake.”
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