Martin Keown says Arsenal have a young player who just frightens defenders
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Martin Keown says Arsenal have a young player who just frightens defenders

Arsenal legend Martin Keown has heaped praise on Gabriel Martinelli and his ability to play as a centre-forward.

The Brazilian has mostly played on the left wing for Arsenal this season. Many view that as his best position, but Keown believes he’s a more natural centre-forward.

Martinelli started against Sporting Lisbon as a striker yesterday because of injuries to Gabriel Jesus, Leandro Trossard and Eddie Nketiah. He had a very decent game and could’ve easily scored two goals.

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Martin Keown says Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli frightens defenders

Arsenal‘s Martinelli is one of the most exciting players in the Premier League.

The Brazil international, still only 21, is a joy to watch when he’s in full flow. He’s rapid, can take players on and as he has shown this season, he’s fairly clinical in front of goal as well.

Martinelli made his debut for Arsenal as a striker back in 2019, but he has mostly played on the left flank under Mikel Arteta. However, Keown believes he’s much more suited to a number nine role and even went on to claim that he’s a better goalscorer than Gabriel Jesus.

The Arsenal legend told BT Sport: “I strongly believe he’s a natural goalscorer. He’s got everything in his game.”

When the host asked him if he thinks Martinelli is a more natural poacher than Jesus, Keown said: “I do, without a doubt. To watch out for his movement tonight, the way he sniffs out opportunities, he’s definitely a player on the move whenever the ball comes into the box, he’s never stood still.

“He’s very difficult to play against and I do feel that’s his natural position (striker). He’s not a player you go into and bounce off, but when the ball is in the wide areas, his movement is fantastic.”

Keown was then asked if he would have liked to play against Martinelli. He replied: “There wasn’t anyone I feared, but his pace… pace is an ingredient that frightens defenders to death, and he’s got pace in abundance.”

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TBR View:

Martinelli really is a fantastic player.

The Brazilian can do almost everything. He’s good with the ball at his feet, terrific in 1v1 situations and the fact that he’s still only 21 means he’ll only get better in the coming years.

As for his best position, we feel he’s more suited to the left flank. Once Gabriel Jesus is back, the two Brazilians can interchange positions as they did in the first half of the season, and that will make Arsenal much more dangerous than they’ve been in recent weeks.

Arsenal take on Fulham in a London derby next and it will be interesting to see where Martinelli will be deployed.

Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
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