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PREMIER LEAGUE

Martinelli filling Aubameyang's boots at Arsenal

Gabriel Martinelli has gone through a lot of frustration at Arsenal, but now fully fit, he idoing a great job standing in for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Update:
Martinelli filling Aubameyang's boots at Arsenal
SCOTT HEPPELLREUTERS

Gabriel Martinelli has been through his fair share of frustration through injuries at Arsenal, but now fully fit, the Brazilian is standing in for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and playing a prominent role in the side's youthful revolution.

There was much hype around Martinelli when he joined Arsenal in 2019, but a knee injury forced him to miss the whole of 2020. He has suffered further injury setbacks this year but Aubameyang's disciplinary lapse, which caused him to lose the club captaincy, gave the 20-year-old a chance he has grasped with both hands.

Martinelli scored his first Premier League brace in his side's dominant 1-4 win at Leeds United on Saturday and at 20 years and 183 days, he became the youngest player to score a league double for Arsenal since Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain against Crystal Palace in 2014.

"We see the player every day and we know where the player has to be to be able to play at the top level all season," Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told reporters. "We are here to develop him as a player and he has had to wait for his moment. I am really happy with him and how he is performing. He has come a long, long, way. His energy and his passion do not get much better. When he has the chances he puts them away. He is heading in the right direction."

Young Gunners

Martinelli is one of a number of young players helping turn Arsenal's fortunes around. Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe were also on the scoresheet at Elland Road to inspire the Gunners to their third successive win. Of Arsenal's Premier League goals this season, 52% have been netted by players aged 21 or under, with only Leeds in 1999-2000 (65%) having a higher such ratio within a single Premier League campaign.

Arteta said the decision to strip Aubameyang of the captaincy last week following a disciplinary breach was in the club's best interests and he has not appeared in the matchday squad since. In his absence, Martinelli has netted three goals in two starts and the Gabon international may not be brought back in from the cold anytime soon.

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