Talking Point: Is Martinelli the answer to Arsenal's November woes?

By Sports Desk November 20, 2019

Unai Emery is under increasing pressure at Arsenal, with the Gunners sitting sixth in the Premier League with just four wins to their name after 12 games.

A 2-0 defeat to high-flying Leicester City left Arsenal eight points adrift of the Champions League places, while they have a negative goal difference at this stage of a top-flight campaign for the first time since 1982-83.

The contrast between Brendan Rodgers' side and Arsenal was clear to see at the King Power Stadium, but struggling at this time of the year is nothing new for the Gunners.

Indeed, that loss meant they have now lost 34 Premier League games in November, which is more than in any other month across their time playing in the competition.

With Arsenal's defence looking leakier by the match, the onus is on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette to keep firing at the other end of the pitch.

However, there may be light at the end of the tunnel for Arsenal, who face struggling Southampton on Saturday, in the form of young forward Gabriel Martinelli.


If there is one major positive to come from Arsenal's season so far, it would be Emery's willingness to blood the Gunners' youngsters, and one player in particular has stood out.

Before breaking their transfer record to sign Nicolas Pepe or drafting in David Luiz in an attempt to patch up their defence, Arsenal brought in teenager Martinelli from Brazilian side Ituano.

Martinelli has wasted little time in showing Arsenal's fans what he has in his locker, scoring twice on his full debut in a 5-0 EFL Cup win over Nottingham Forest on September 24.

Nine days later, Martinelli followed up his double against Forest with another brace, this time in his first Europa League outing, a 4-0 home triumph over Standard Liege.

A further double against Liverpool in October's frantic cup clash at Anfield came on the back of a fine header against Vitoria Guimaraes, giving the 18-year-old seven goals from nine appearances in all competitions.

Martinelli's best work has come at Emirates Stadium, where he has the best shot conversion rate of Arsenal's attackers this season (29.41 per cent), averaging a goal every 65 minutes at home. Aubameyang has scored every 138 minutes in such matches.

But Martinelli is still waiting on his first Premier League start. It might now be his time.


Arsenal's record in November really is a sight to behold.

The Gunners have not only lost more games in this month than any other, but they also have their lowest win rate of 44 per cent.

They manage, on average, 1.6 points per game and 1.5 goals per game - lower than in any other month - while conceding 1.2 goals per game, a high.

To compound their frustrations heading into Saturday's clash, Emery's side are winless in their last four Premier League games. It is their longest such run since May to August in 2011, when they went six games without a triumph.

Their worst such run in a single season came in a five-match sequence of draws back in 2009.


November may be Arsenal's least favourite month but, in the form of Ralph Hasenhuttl's struggling side, they could just be about to go up against the perfect opponent.

Southampton sit 19th, without a win in their past seven league matches, while the Gunners are unbeaten in their past 24 home league games against the Saints. It is a run that stretches back to November 1987.

No side has scored fewer first-half goals in the Premier League this season than Southampton, while only Norwich City have conceded more times in the opening 45 minutes of games than the Saints.

However, Danny Ings could be the danger man for Southampton, having scored in five different league games so far this term, including in the 2-1 defeat to Everton last time out.

The good omens end there, though, considering Ings is yet to score in a Southampton win this season.

Related items

  • A-League Review: More misery for Wanderers and Victory as Sydney FC surge out of sight A-League Review: More misery for Wanderers and Victory as Sydney FC surge out of sight

    Western Sydney Wanderers suffered a fifth successive loss as Perth Glory's resurgence continued in a 2-0 win in the final game of the A-League's triple-header on Saturday.

    Glory defenders Gregory Wuthrich and Alex Grant scored from set-pieces either side of half-time to pile further pressure on beleaguered Wanderers boss Markus Babbel.

    His team went unbeaten through the opening four rounds but have now failed to gain a point since the beginning of November.

    Reigning premiers Perth, convincing 3-0 winners over Melbourne City last weekend, are up to fifth.

    Marco Kurz finds himself in a similar position to compatriot Babbel following Melbourne Victory's disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Wellington Phoenix in the early match.

    The signings of Robbie Kruse and Andrew Nabbout sparked excitement in pre-season but Kurz's men have been held to a single goal or less in all but one of their 10 games this term.

    It could have been worse for the hosts given they were forced to play with 10 men after Kristijan Dobras, who hit the post in the first half, was shown a straight red card on the hour for a high boot on Cameron Devlin.

    Luke DeVere headed against the crossbar for Wellington, who remain two points ahead of eighth-placed Victory.

    Meanwhile, at Jubilee Stadium, Sydney FC extended their lead at the top to a commanding eight points.

    The Sky Blues prevailed 1-0 over a plucky Central Coast Mariners side thanks to Kosta Barbarouses' fifth-minute goal, the striker converting Rhyan Grant's cross.

  • Rashford, Martial and James' fluidity like Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez - Solskjaer Rashford, Martial and James' fluidity like Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez - Solskjaer

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer compared Manchester United's current strike force to the combination of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez as he hailed the versatility of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James.

    Rashford and Martial were on target as United beat Manchester City in last weekend's derby at the Etihad Stadium, and Solskjaer believes the young England forward is showing signs he can follow in the footsteps of five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo.

    Solskjaer and Ronaldo spent four years together as players at Old Trafford, before the Norwegian worked with his former team-mate as a forwards coach, and few people are better placed to compare the Juventus star with Rashford.

    Speaking about the fluid movement and interchanging positional play of Rashford, Martial and James, Solskjaer told Sky Sports: "I think that's a big strength of ours as a team.

    "If Marcus runs in behind, Anthony will get some space because it stretches the opponent. It can be the opposite way around too, with Anthony and Dan running in behind and Marcus coming to feet to get on the ball.

    "I see this attack as being quite similar to the one we had with Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez, with the interchanging of positions and the fast, flowing football."

    Under Solskjaer, Rashford has equalled his best Premier League goal return in a single season within the first half of the 2019-20 campaign.

    Rashford's 10th league goal of the season came from the penalty spot against City and Solskjaer praised the 22-year-old's versatility while drawing comparisons with Ronaldo, who played on the wing and as a striker during his time in Manchester.

    "Of course it's hard to say with certainty that he's going to be as good as Cristiano, but you can see the similarities more and more in terms of Marcus' traits on the pitch," said Solskjaer.

    "He can play through the middle, he can play as a number nine, he can cut inside from the left and finish. He can even play on the right, as Cristiano did when he came here. He's got the same physical stature and more or less all of his attributes are very, very similar. Even their stats are similar, in terms of goals scored after a certain amount of games."

    "You have to remember that, as well as playing with Cristiano, I coached him in my first year as a forwards coach here," he added.

    "Both players are very professional, very dedicated, very in love with football. And you can see that Marcus is getting more of a taste for that now, both with us and with England. He is pushing himself and seeing the results."

  • Bayern Munich president opposes mooted European Super League Bayern Munich president opposes mooted European Super League

    Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich have no interest in joining a proposed European Super League, according to the club's new president.

    Preliminary plans for a revamped, larger-scale Champions League incorporating promotion and relegation reportedly emerged in a letter the European Club Association sent to its 232 members in April.

    The Premier League and Bundesliga oppose the proposals and Germany's most powerful club remains fully invested in the current state of play, according to president Herbert Hainer.

    "We stand for the Bundesliga! Without ifs and buts," Hainer told Suddeutsche Zeitung.

    "We are not interested in any Super League at all, that can be said very clearly.

    "We want to have international success, of course, but that's why there is the Champions League, which I think is a success story with a clear format."

    Former Adidas CEO Hainer formally succeeded Uli Hoeness as president in December as part of a changing of the guard at Bayern.

    Club great Oliver Kahn is due to step in as chief executive in 2022 after being hand-picked to replace Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

    The former Germany goalkeeper will first serve a 12-month apprenticeship on the supervisory board and Hainer affirmed his confidence in a smooth handover.

    "Rummenigge and Kahn are two intelligent people who can assess this situation well and want the best for Bayern," he said.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.