Mikel Arteta has heaped praises on Gabi Martinelli for his performance in the win against Newcastle, and has insisted that he has made the best decisions for the Brazilian’s development.
In only his sixth Premier League start of the season, the young forward created the second goal of the game for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Martinelli started off on the left before playing as the center forward after Aubameyang’s substitution. The boss thinks he’s showing promise in both positions.
“Gabi is improving every week,” he told his post-game press conference.
“He’s taking his minutes in the right way and he’s developing the way we all believe he can.
“Today he had an assist, which was an important moment, and he had some good moments off the left – and also trying to play as a No 9 as well.”
He added: “Time will tell [if he’s a number 9] but I would like to develop him in both positions because I think he’s got the potential to do both.”
Arteta has faced criticism this season for not playing Martinelli enough since he returned from his serious knee problem. The Brazilian played only 53 minutes of football between December and March.
“Just look at how much he’s played in the last few years,” said Arteta.
“Then how much he’s played with me when he’s available. Then we can discuss that. It’s what happens. This debate is always happening when you don’t win.
“If it’s not him, it will be someone else. If it’s not Gabi, it will be Lacazette, Willian or Pepe. It’s part of it.”
Arteta also pointed out the brewing connection between Martinelli and his teammates. His assist for Aubameyang shows the level of understanding growing between the pair.
“Yeah it is a connection [with Aubameyang],” said Arteta.
“Having Granit behind him helps him in a way because he’s more in the line, in the last line on the left where he is more comfortable. With Kieran it’s a little bit different.
“Those relationships are ones we have to built. If there are any doubts, I love Gabi so much. More than all of you together!”