MIquiel Arteta told the story last week about how Gabriel Martinelli, frustrated with Arsenal’s entry and exit over the past two seasons, has been knocking on his door. “When he wasn’t playing, he was all the time in my office, and every time he showed me on the pitch how wrong I was,” he said.
“He was just a sad boy. He loves what he does so much, he is so passionate about doing whatever it takes to play that he is there all the time, pushing you and giving you the right reasons, the right way, to give him more minutes.”
Martinelli’s production has increased a few notches in the first weeks of this season and the same can be said of Arsenal’s squad. Hunger meets refinement: Arteta’s side can tear you apart, but they can also gather themselves, catch a breath and think about how to get back up when it seems like one of the mistakes that’s still leaking could cost them.
that’s how they are defeat Fulham Last Saturday after Aleksandar Mitrovic’s soft editorial and they were composed similarly recover instantly From Douglas Luiz’s stunning goal for Aston Villa four days later.
Martinelli was on all three points that night, finishing brilliantly at the far post to complete the move he started, although the goal-maker was also commendable. Impressive Bukayo Saka provided the opportunity for Martinelli, and the sequence was a reminder of the way Arsenal’s youngsters have risen above the wild ripples in recent years to achieve nearly unparalleled results.
“It’s really rare what they do at a big club,” Arteta said. “Really rare. If not, just give me examples of things that happen [elsewhere]. “
There are not many. On Monday, Saka will turn 21, the same age as Martinelli. The talented duo are now cultured: they have 129 Premier League games between them and have received much higher and more expensive teammates such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe. Saka’s assist for Martinelli against Villa was his seventeenth in the first division: only Cesc Fabregas, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen had other names of the same age which is the category to which his talents belong.
The fact that both players haven’t played Champions League football yet, with absolutely no European distractions last season, may have kept them below this company in the popular consciousness. They had to be vaccinated during Arsenal’s dog training days in their apprenticeships while the others withered, and the satisfaction Arteta feels at seeing them top the top, as what is now a sparkling team is often so obvious. “It’s a pleasure to watch the freedom and character he plays with,” he said of Martinelli.
Saka, in particular, has carried a heavy load of dragging Arsenal through a rollercoaster of boredom and turmoil seen during late stage Unai Emery and the days prior to Arteta. “When I came, it wasn’t easy: there were quite a few ups and downs,” he said, revealing a talent for underestimation. “I learned to understand that this is football. It was the same at the beginning of last season, when we lost the first three games.”
This time, Arsenal won the opening five, their best start in 18 years, and a similar result at Manchester United on Sunday suggests that maturity in a credible team among the top four is real. While Chelsea’s bewildered player, Liverpool reset their balance, and Spurs cajole to deceive, Arteta’s primary problem may be that they haven’t won some of these games comfortably.
He can be credited with devising a plan that focused on youth and then got on his nerves, something their opponents at Old Trafford could usefully learn. Martinelli struggled with a sticky spot after missing the second half of 2020 with a knee injury, which led to some of those problems with the coach, but Arteta’s faith has never wavered.
Saka looked tired towards the end of last season and will require a judicious rotation this time around, in the Europa League matches at least, but the lack of specialized competition for his seat on the right leaves no question marks over who the man might be on the big occasion. is being.
Arteta was enlightened when asked how to make a philosophy cut through the vortex of noise and turmoil surrounding a great power that was frustrated by her luck. “For me, it’s about consistency,” he said. “When you try to present an idea, you share that vision with the football club. Then you take that direction and go for it.
“Try to do something that you stick with everyone. Because when it starts moving in other directions, I think that all the time brings a lot of chaos and a lot of uncertainty.
When that happens, everyone usually gets distracted and everything falls apart. We hold on to each other, believe in what we’ve done and hope we can achieve.”
They’re on the right track: a unit that looks polished, now, not raw. Arteta laughed when asked if Saka and Martinelli became men, suggesting that generally comes with stable family life that tends to arrive later in the twenties. But Saka accepts, to some extent at least, that he was ahead of the curve. “I played some important matches, and many matches, which speeded up my learning,” he said. “But there is still much to learn.”
Saka was Arsenal’s top scorer last season with a relatively trivial 11 goals, and it’s worth noting that he didn’t miss the goal mark this time around. He should have buried a big chance against Aston Villa but that didn’t matter much when he helped settle the match later.
The arrival of Gabriel Jesus, whose zealous beginning was accompanied by three goals, means that it does not have to be all things to all people; Martinelli, who didn’t open his account until late November 2021, posted the same number and found threatening sites more regularly. Arsenal look explosive throughout their attack and their tires can work with the handbrake off.
“The way he’s improved, the way he’s helping the team and the area of improvement he still has, it’s fantastic,” said Arteta, again lyric about Martinelli. The Brazilian has continued to the extent that, even with super-capable Emile Smith-Roy as a substitute, he will miss as much as Saka if misfortune strikes him. However, as they travel to Manchester, the feelings from Arsenal and their two star wingers are only positive.