Report: Martinelli amongst scorers as Arsenal beat Colorado Rapids 3-0


Arsenal commenced their pre-season fixtures with a 3-0 victory away to Colorado Rapids in the first game of their US Tour, with Gabriel Martinelli finding the net on his first appearance for the club.

Martinelli bundled the ball home from close range following impressive work from Dominic Thompson, while Bukayo Saka was also on the scoresheet and James Olayinka scored a superb goal as several youngsters seized their opportunities to impress.

Unai Emery named a very youthful starting lineup, with Carl Jenkinson and Calum Chambers the only relatively experienced players.

Midfielder Robbie Burton received his first runout for the first-team as he partnered Olayinka in midfield, while Tyreece John-Jules was deployed in the number ten position, with Martinelli and Bukayo Saka either side of Eddie Nketiah.

Martinelli squandered an inviting opportunity to score early on after a good ball in from Saka.

However, Arsenal managed to take the lead shortly afterwards and it was Saka who scored, with the winger finishing well after excellent work in the build-up from Nketiah. (GOAL)

Colorado Rapids threatened intermittently, but Matt Macey coped well in goal. At the other end Nketiah blazed his effort over the crossbar having been teed up by John-Jules.

Arsenal eventually made it 2-0, with Olayinka finding the top corner with a fine strike from 25 yards out. (GOAL)

It was an excellent way for the midfielder to announce himself on the senior stage and Olayinka is a curious case having not always impressed at youth level yet at the same time being extremely highly thought of by coaches at Arsenal.

Macey made an impressive stop late in the first half and Jenkinson cleared the ball off the line as Arsenal kept their clean sheet intact.

Emery resisted the chance to make any substitutions at the break, with the crop of talented youngsters given more minutes to make an impact.

Martinelli had impressed with his defensive work but he then showed his attacking credentials as he turned the ball home having been set up by Thompson. (GOAL)

Arsenal gradually started to introduce more senior players into the fray, with Shkodran Mustafi and Sead Kolasinac coming on, the latter struggling as he seemed well off the pace.

Nketiah and John-Jules were both eager to get on the scoresheet but they couldn’t manage to score, and Emery eventually called upon Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette for the closing stages, with Ozil taking the captain’s armband.

Lacazette and Aubameyang both tried their luck in front of goal, but Arsenal were unable to add to their three-goal tally.

Overall, this was a good first workout of pre-season for Arsenal, with the young players especially benefitting from the chances they received.

Saka was particularly impressive in the first half, while Martinelli showed glimpses of his quality and Burton was composed in midfield.

Thompson also deserves credit for his showing at left-back, but there will be much tougher tests to come for Arsenal this summer, starting with the clash against Bayern Munich on Thursday, with Emery set to name a considerably more experienced starting lineup for that fixture.

Arsenal: Macey, Jenkinson, Chambers (Mustafi, 62), Medley, Thompson (Kolasinac, 62), Burton, Olayinka (Willock, 62), Martinelli (Ozil, 78), John-Jules (Aubameyang, 78), Saka, Nketiah (Lacazette 78).

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Please please let some of these kids play actual games of consequence next season instead of cup and Europa group stage games.


Somewhat feel like Nelson should’ve travelled with the squad because he didn’t play a lot in the tournament. It would’ve been better for him to get a head start.


Nelson was named in the U.S. squad, he just didnt play today.


Did they just spoil a perfectly good-looking kit with those yellow/gold numbers?

Master Floda

Apparently that’s a tour promo thing. But we should burn them all afterwards


Yeah it’s terrible, hope they see sense and switch them back to white. It looks so bad.


I quite liked it after a few minutes


You’re a lunatic.


The young wingers Saka and Martinelli really shone in this game, the latter having a great debut and a really high quality rounded performance.

Kolasinac was completely gassed after 10mins of his cameo – hopefully he spends more time on the shuttle runs and less time on the sunbed for the remainder of pre season. Can’t believe we still have to see Mustafi in an Arsenal shirt.

Charlie George

Good to see people getting on the back of Mustafi in a game where he did nothing wrong (and played the best ball of the day with that long diagonal pass to Auba). Leave the poor guy alone. And judge him on his performances, not your prejudices.


thank you for this comment

My Cousin Vinai (Formerly Faisal Narrage)

Not a fan of this, but it’s kinda akin to bullying really.
When all the arsenal bloggers and writers create this environment where it’s okay to constantly make jokes and blame Mustafi for everything, one can’t be surprised when everyone pills in and some take it too far.

It’s just becoming boring, and rather sheepish now.

Drogheda Gunner

Yeah your right, even when the guy has a good game fans are on his back. I wouldn’t be his biggest fan but if he is going to stay we might as well get behind him.


The only thing mustafi had to battle in this match was altitude, as the Rapids are garbage and have been since kse stripped the team of talent following a MLS cup winning season.
It’s a preseason match, and fans should be allowed to voice their displeasure at a player who cost us cl football through some absolutely awful performances.

My Cousin Vinai (Formerly Faisal Narrage)

Ridiculous to somehow blame the lack of CL is all down to Mustafi.

It’s like blaming Auba for if he’d scored that injury time pen against spurs, we’d be in the top 4.

There are many factors for why we didn’t get into the top 4. Mustafi wasn’t even involved in the EL final battering either, so absurd to pin it all on him.

Stuff of Ronaldo from Martinelli. Stuff of Mane from Saka


I’m wary of putting too much pressure on the young lad Martinelli. I think if he aims for a conservative 25-30 goals this season I’ll be happy.


A bit low considering he is averaging a goal per game at Arsenal?

A Different George

So 38 in the League. No point wasting him on early rounds of the various cups. Wait until the semi-finals.

Drogheda Gunner

As long as he is as good as Ronaldo I’ll be content!


Stuff of Ronaldo from him alright.

Canuck Gunner

Good start to the US tour. Curious how many senior players will get more playing time against Bayern. Will be my first time seeing Arsenal live, so hope to see a relatively strong line up (which, of course should include some young players).


Saka looks really, really good. He’s so comfortable on the ball and makes some great runs. A true winger which, if memory serves me right, is a position we are in need of. Let’s hope Emery gives some of these youngsters a real chance in the Prem this year. They are certainly earning it.


I hope so, too, but I’m not sure I trust Emery in this regard — hopefully Freddie can impose on him.


It was painful watching Jenkinson for about the first half. Every single time he got a pass he just gave it straight back to the center back or the central midfielder with a short sideways or backwards pass. Was good to see him grow into the game a little bit and make a few forward sprints and attempt a few crosses, but he’s just not a real option for us. I love the guy and I love the whole fan story thing…but he’s not a premier league quality player. He needs to go down a tier or three and find… Read more »

Angry Arsenal Nerd

Tier…Or three.. harsh!

Drogheda Gunner

I agree, he was very good for West ham when he was on loan the chap is devoid of all confidence a bit like mustafi


Right place in the right time, most of the time or all the time is a good skill to have.

But once in a while and not being aware of how you scored, ask Dat Guy and he didn’t turn out to be a goal scorer.

This was just a preseason warm up, let’s not read into it just yet.


Are you guys blind or am I reading in to this to much but…if u look at the replay when the cross comes in I’m am almost 100% certain he deliberately chests it in…please watch it again an tell me what u think..


I completely agree. It actually looks like he throws his right shoulder into it to me. I think he knew more about it than one would assume. Thompson’s cross was legit though.


Yea the whole move was pretty sleek and yes he definitely threw a peck/shoulder at it. No way was it bundled in


I also just played my first game back for my sunday amateur league team in Australia, after spending a month in europe breathing in only shisha and drinking inconceivable amounts of alcohol, so I know how Kolasinac feels being a bit off the pace.


What was the formation? Looked a bit like a 4-5-1 or maybe 4-3-3 from the highlights. Do people who watched think it looked positive or like something we might stick with?


It felt like a 4-3-3 with Martinelli and Saka flanking Nketieh. It looked very positive and lively. It’s hard to say how much we’ll use the formation as there were loads of regulars on the bench for the majority of the match.


Though its for only few minutes. Joe Willock was damn good. Hope emery gives more chance this season in leageu games. Hard to believe Saka is only 17. Played excellent today. Jordan jules and Martenelli had good game today but i think both will end up more likely in the U23s


Do we know who captained the side? (If it was Jenks, I assume he’s now achieved the Arsenal Nirvana.)


It was Chambers, then Mustafi, and then Ozil.


Is it just me, or do our youngsters look rather physically imposing these days?

Ordnance Dave

I thought the opposite, the Prem is the land of the giants don’t forget.

My Cousin Vinai (Formerly Faisal Narrage)

Some interesting performances. Saka is the one I’m very keen on, as it was also the case that Sven actually wanted more game time for him, rather than Suarez. Also he’s responded to having Freddie last season give him some direct advice. I’m particularly keen on Thompson. Great season in midfield last season, however being back at LB, we definitely need LB options, even if we get Tierney (also a worry Kola is already out of shape). And if we don’t get Tierney, may be a massive opportunity for him, much like it was for Hector. I do hope to… Read more »

You should re-add Project YouthYouth 2.0 to your name and make it even longer.

My Cousin Vinai (Formerly Faisal Narrage)

I tried, there’s a limit. 🙁

Matty Cakes

One sentence told me our new Brazilian might be getting alot of minutes this season.

“Martinelli had impressed with his defensive work”


Good start, but please let’s not get carried away as happens with some Gooners during pre-season friendlies. This isn’t the EPL or anything remotely like it. It’s a friendly game against a team most of us have never heard of and certainly couldn’t find on a map! Of course some of the youngsters should be given a chance (or more chances) when Emery and staff think that they’re ready. That’s probably more likely now anyway, given our poor financial position and the failure on the transfer front so far. However, it’s some senior players, who are clearly overpaid for their… Read more »

Crash Fistfight

I could find it on Google Maps.


Any comments on how Chambers got on? Really liked him every time I watched Fulham last year and hoping he can get a regular CB spot this season.


Chambers was solid and was always looking to get on the ball and play it forward. I really hope Emery gives him an actual chance in the first team, he can certainly grow into a starter for us. He looks more mature and ready to take the responsibility.


Was at this game last night and Saka looked quality


Agree with most of the comments on here re Saka and Martinelli. The latter was especially impressive with his close control, ability to move the ball forward quickly and finding, mostly, the right final-third pass.

But I don’t know how people are ignoring Nketiah’s monstrous performance! He harried the opposition defenders relentlessly and his overall game has improved so much. Also, special mention to Chambers who I thought did quite well and Aubameyang who looked absolutely menacing.

Tanned arse

Agree with the Nketiah comment. Looked sharp and controlled in possession wriggling out of any situation with assurance and composure then making the right decisions moving the ball on. Was also impressed with olayinka with his precise one touch forward play and an all round awareness and abilty to read the game ahead of others.


Just to add, I thought Joe Willock looked great in midfield after he came on


That run where he ghosted past 4 of their midfield. Oof! Willock is a huge talent and his ability on the ball, to hold it and move it quickly, is something we sorely lacked last season where we often tried to bypass the midfield through the flanks, and made use hugely predictable in build up.

In fact, seeing our youngsters so confident and sharp technically with the ball in midfield, definately had all the hallmarks of a Wenger Arsenal style, I have missed it hugely! And hope these lads can step up in time 🙂


There was the moment where he received the ball in about the center circle under pressure, shrugged off 3 or 4 guys, maybe got a nutmeg in there and then absolutely pinged the ball out wide to an onrushing Carl (unfortunately Carl couldn’t quite get there – but a fit Heccy B woulda been there). Anyways – lots to like about this kid.


I live in Denver and was there last night and just wanted to add, not only are the Rapids a crap team anyway, but they likewise fielded a team of reserves and kids. So a nice win, but yeah, not much opposition.


Perspective. Thanks. Too many deluded people here. Not to discredit martinelli or any other young player because we have some genuine quality but as Wenger said, you always think you have the prettiest wife (well not always maybe) There are plenty of other equally good if not better young players in other teams. Last season I mentioned Hudson Odoi pre-season when many preferred to wax lyrical about our young players. We also saw the rise of Jaden Sancho. The club likes to sell on promise (of a Saliba) and too many fans are too easily hoodwinked. Anyone they think in… Read more »


Some people again on here sticking their heads up their arse confusing pre-season friendly with the real deal.

Martinelli tap in and his the next big thing from 4th division Brazil.

We’ve been here before.

Sure he may develop into something but we need to get capability now.

One more poor to tepid season and this club is in danger of slipping away.

The competition from below (Everton, Watford, Leicester, Wolves) is fierce and they are now loaded with arguably equal amount of technical players as us.

This never mind, Spurs, United or Liverpool, Chelsea and City.


I just watched the game, Martinelli had an OK game considering its his first game with players he just started playing with. I’m surprised nobody has mantioned Robbie Burton, he had a really good game. Always available for a pass, keeps it simple, keeps the game ticking, I was really impressed. My only criticism would be that he probably played a little too safe, like he didn’t want to make mistakes but that is what you expect from young players. It was a mature performance from him.