Leeds United v Arsenal: Match in Pictures
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Mikel Arteta’s very public fallout with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has dominated the narrative surrounding Arsenal this week. Arteta’s decision to strip Aubameyang of the Arsenal captaincy overshadowed the Gunners’ trip to a depleted Leeds United on Saturday.
It remains to be seen if Arsenal will miss the 32-year-old’s leadership off of the pitch – but they certainly don’t appear to be missing the Gabon striker on it.
Instead, Gabriel Martinelli has become the latest starlet to step up from the club’s seemingly never-ending conveyor belt of young talent.
Whilst Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe have proven to be the cornerstone of Arsenal’s recent revival under Arteta, Martinelli has begun to muscle in on the spotlight in recent weeks.
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And he continued his red-hot form with a breathtaking performance in Arsenal’s comprehensive 4-1 victory at Elland Road.
The Brazilian tore Leeds to shred in their own backyard, netting twice in a rampant opening period for the Gunners.
Martinelli’s clinical finish in the 2-0 win over West Ham in midweek was likened to Arsenal’s all-time leading goalscorer and club legend Thierry Henry by pundits.
That may be a pretty lofty comparison, but the Frenchman would have been proud of the finishes that Martinelli produced once again at Elland Road.
He was the first to react to a loose ball in the Leeds box, bending a measured strike beyond Illan Meslier to punish Leeds’ static defence.
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His second was arguably even better. Martinelli managed to get the ball out of his feet just in time to drink a clinical finish above Leeds’ stranded goalkeeper to compound the hosts’ misery.
And whilst those finishes were very much in the mould of Arsenal’s famous old number 14, they also helped underline just how badly Martinelli is showing up the famous shirt’s current incumbent.
Although he’s been axed for his shortcomings off the pitch, Aubameyang had hardly been pulling his weight on it.
His woeful form in front of goal had left his position in the Gunners team vulnerable regardless of his off-field endeavours.
Martinelli’s brace against Leeds saw him eclipse Aubameyang’s tally of five-goal involvements in the Premier League this season.
The 20-year-old has now notched four goals and two assists during his 11 league appearances this term – a feat even more impressive when you consider Martinelli has played considerably fewer minutes than Aubameyang.
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And given all those have come in the last month, it’s hard to see Aubameyang dislodging the Gunners youngster even if he does work his way back into Arteta’s good books.
Aubameyang’s powers have seemed to gradually wane ever since he penned a new deal with the Gunners last year in circumstances that are freakishly similar to Mesut Ozil’s rapid decline a few years previously.
After replicating his clinical showing in midweek, Martinelli has shown that he’s the real deal.
And his rise to prominence has helped to soften the blow of Aubameyang’s very public and ugly demise at the club.
After being compared to Brazilian legend Ronaldo, Martinelli has always been regarded as a star of the future for the Londoners.
But his recent displays have made it clear that the future is now – which should spell the end of Aubameyang and Arsenal’s rocky marriage.
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