Even the most optimistic of Arsenal fans surely couldn’t have imagined the kind of instant impact Gabriel Martinelli would have on this team.
The Brazilian starlet had been out of action for about nine months with an injury picked up earlier this year, and only returned to competitive first-team action against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup.
And after being handed a starting spot against Chelsea on Saturday night in the Premier League, he took his opportunity with both hands, and has left boss Mikel Arteta with no room to hide going forward.
The £22.5m-rated dynamo was just a relentless ball of energy, always hustling the Chelsea defence and pressing from the front, whilst also showing his willingness to take risks and try things with how direct he was on the ball.
As per Sofascore, he had four total attempts on goal, and was desperately unlucky not to get on the score-sheet himself when his effort was well saved by Edouard Mendy.
And defensively, he was superb, with his work-rate seeing him make three tackles (a joint team-high), and win five of his eight ground duels.
His performance led to BBC Radio journalist Nick Bright to say that “Martinelli must start every game from now”, and it’s difficult to argue with that assessment given just how much he lifted spirits at the Emirates.
It’s been a gloomy first-half of the season for the Gunners, but the Brazilian youngster’s return to action has brought a much-needed and welcome breath of fresh air.
Make no mistake about it, if he’s fit, Martinelli just has to play. Whilst Bukayo Saka may have been the one to earn the man of the match award, it was Arsenal’s other superstar talent that left the big impression.