Mikel Arteta could be forced to start Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli tonight
Goal journalist Charles Watts has suggested that Mikel Arteta will be forced to start Gabriel Martinelli for Arsenal in the Europa League tonight.
The Gunners have travelled to Portugal ahead of their round of 16 clash against Sporting Lisbon.
Arteta would have been keen to rotate his side as much as possible as he bids to keep Arsenal in the hunt for the Premier League title.
But the Spaniard has been hit with a couple of injury blows over the past week, with both Eddie Nketiah and Leandro Trossard set to miss tonight’s clash.
Of course, Gabriel Jesus is back amongst the first-team in training, but it’s likely to be too early for the Brazilian to return to action against Sporting.
And with Arteta facing a headache in terms of his attacking options, it seems that Martinelli will have to start from the off.
Arteta could be forced to start Martinelli tonight
Speaking in his latest YouTube video, Watts says that Martinelli is likely to start tonight due to injuries to Nketiah and Trossard.
“I think Martinelli is going to have to play because of the injuries Arsenal have got up-front,” the journalist said.
“There’s going to be no Nketiah, Jesus, Leandro Trossard. So Martinelli is basically going to have to play.”
Martinelli has come back into form of late, having scored four goals in his last four games for the Gunners.
The ‘incredible‘ 21-year-old has been struggling since the turn of the year, but he’s improved dramatically since Trossard’s introduction to the side.
Of course, it would have been ideal for Arteta to be able to rest the Brazilian in Lisbon tonight, with games coming thick and fast in the league.
But the Spaniard will undoubtedly see the Europa League as another opportunity to pick up silverware and Martinelli could even lead the line for his side tonight.