Arsenal hit with another Martinelli injury blow

Arsenal hit with another Martinelli injury blow

The 19-year-old was caught by a challenge from Zack Steffen and was unable to continue after attempting to stay in the game

Arsenal striker Gabriel Martinelli was removed from Tuesday’s Carabao Cup match against Manchester City with an injury, a bitter blow for a player who only just returned from a long-term knee problem. 

The 19-year-old assisted Alexandre Lacazette’s equaliser in the first half but just before the break, he was involved in a collision with City goalkeeper Zack Steffen that left him writhing in pain on the ground. 

Joe Willock picked out Martinelli with a through-ball but Steffen came far off his line to make a sliding clearance, catching the Brazilian’s leg in the process.

Martinelli eventually returned to the match but was clearly in some pain as the half-time whistle sounded. 

The striker started the second half but was quickly back on the ground, signalling he was unable to continue and was replaced by Nicolas Pepe. City would go on to score three in the second half in a 4-1 victory.

Speaking to the press after the game, Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta said Martinelli had suffered swelling in his shin after the collision with Steffen.

“It was just a really bad kick on his shin and it was swelling up, and he was in pain and came off,” Arteta said.

The Gunners boss also defended his decision to let Martinelli begin the second half.

“He was pushing, saying that he was completely fine, that he wanted to carry on and he wanted to try,” Arteta said of the forward.

“He had a scar that wasn’t open and he wanted to try so we gave him the possibility to try. And when he was on the pitch he wasn’t comfortable so it was an easy decision to take him out.”

The Gunners will now face a nervous wait on Martinelli, who was making his first start for the club since March after only just returning from a knee injury.

Martinelli made his mark in 2019-20, his debut campaign with Arsenal, scoring 10 goals in all competitions after joining the Gunners from Ituano in his native Brazil.

The teenager’s debut season came to an end in March, though, after he suffered a serious knee injury in training.

Martinelli was still rewarded in the summer when he signed a new long-term contract at the Emirates Stadium, which will reportedly keep him at the club until 2024.

After making his return for the club’s youth team, Martinelli made his season debut for Arsenal at the weekend when he played 19 minutes off the bench in his side’s 2-1 defeat at Everton.

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