This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking after the game, Freddie Ljungberg hailed Gabriel Martinelli’s impressive performance on his first ever start in the Premier League.
The Brazilian only arrived in the summer from Ituano, but has made a stunning start to life in north London. The 18-year-old has predominantly been restricted to making appearances in the Europa League and Carabao Cup, but has delivered consistently in the opportunities he has been given.
His seven goals in six appearances in cup competitions no doubt played a part in Ljungberg handing him first Premier League start against West Ham on Monday night – and the teenager made the most of it. He scored the all-important equaliser as the Gunners came from behind to end their win-less streak of nine games.
And speaking after the conclusion of the game, Ljungberg was quick to pay tribute to the starlet for his overall display. He said (as quoted by The Independent): “Gabi is a fantastic player, very, very young, but he has that energy about him and he goes and he goes. There is no fear and he just keeps on going. It is a pleasure to see him on the pitch and for him to get the success he did, it puts a smile on your face.”
Whilst Martinelli’s goal was worth its weight in gold in terms of inspiring his side’s comeback, it was his hard work and relentlessness off the ball that made his debut Premier League start all the more impressive. As per Sofascore, he made a team-high three tackles, and won five ground duels too, despite playing on the wing. His willingness to track back and help out his teammates by chasing back everything was a breath of fresh air.
Can you name all of these obscure Arsenal signings? Give it a go now!
As per Sky Sports, Martinelli made an incredible 20 high-intensity sprints – more than double that of the man in second for the Gunners, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Even in the closing stages of the game, the Brazilian was busting his gut to make runs in behind the West Ham defence, and closing down people. It was no surprise therefore to see Arsenal fans flood to Twitter after the game to hail their new Brazilian star.