Mikel Arteta admits Gabriel Martinelli isn’t happy at his lack of game time but he’s urged the Brazilian striker to remain patient and to keep training hard.
The 19-year-old was full of his customary energy after his long-awaited comeback from knee surgery in December but the game time has dried up since.
Since the start of the year, Martinelli has played just 111 minutes in all competitions and didn’t even make the squad for Sunday’s 2-1 win over Sp*rs during which Erik Lamela was sent off after putting the visitors ahead with a fluke.
Ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League last-16 tie second leg with Olympiacos, Arteta was at pains to make clear that the youngster hasn’t done anything wrong.
“If anything it’s my fault,” said the boss. “He’s done everything perfectly, he trains incredibly well every day, and his attitude couldn’t be better.
“He’s really disappointed that he’s not playing more obviously, and I have spoke to him, but he needs to be a little bit patient. He had some minutes, he had some games as well, and it’s true that the competition for the front places is very tough.
“He needs to be patient, and he will get his chance.”
Tomorrow evening would certainly be an interesting one. With Alexandre Lacazette having played almost the full game against Sp*rs, and with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sitting it out completely, chances are the captain will get the nod.
However, if we can score a couple of goals and give ourselves a commanding lead on the night, we could then rest the skipper and give the young Brazilian a run out.