Full Breakdown of Martinelli’s Return to Action for Arsenal

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Gabriel Martinelli made his first start since his injury on Tuesday, linking up with the Arsenal u21s for their match against AFC Wimbledon.

Ahead of Tuesday night’s game, reports suggested Gabriel Martinelli would start and get the chance to play 45-60 minutes of the Arsenal u21s’ EFL Trophy clash.

As expected, the long-term-injured forward made the starting lineup, playing the first half before coming off for Kido Taylor-Hart at half-time.

It only took a couple of minutes for the 19-year-old to get his first shot off, forcing a block from a defender, but he was a little rusty in the early minutes. He seemed a little too excited to be back, playing very directly but losing the ball a few times.

The teenager grew into the half, and he was Arsenal’s biggest threat as it went on. He met a Miguel Azeez cross well for the team’s best chance of the half, but couldn’t quite direct his header past the goalkeeper.

Martinelli almost created another great chance with a clever chipped pass. Catalin Cirjan only narrowly failed to latch onto it ahead of the goalkeeper.

As for his work out of possession, it was as if the young Brazilian had never been away. He was chasing down lost causes and making tackles and blocks like he did all of last season. His enthusiasm is clearly still there.

Now, Martinelli just needs the fitness for a full 90. He’s not there yet, and won’t feature for the first team until he’s made at least one more appearance for the academy. They next play against Leicester City on Friday, December 18th at 19:00.

It’s worth mentioning that the Leicester game is the only other academy match available to Martinelli this month. After that, it’s another three weeks until the u23s return from their winter break against West Ham on January 8th.

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