'Really good': Gary Neville raves over 21-year-old Arsenal player v Newcastle
Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli earned praise from Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville during the Gunners’ Premier League meeting with Newcastle.
Mikel Arteta’s table-toppers hosted Eddie Howe’s high-flyers at the Emirates Stadium, with both sides hoping to build on their current form.
Arsenal dominated proceedings against Newcastle, but were unable to make their pressure count.
One of the Gunners’ main chances came in the 79th minute. Bukayo Saka whipped in a corner that Martinelli glanced in at the near post.
The Brazilian’s effort bounced just past the far corner of the net and behind.
As per Sky Sports, a few Arsenal fans were already celebrating, so close was Martinelli to breaking the deadlock.
“Martinelli made a really good run across the near post,” Neville said on commentary (3/1/23, 21:23).
“Pope was just hoping that was going wide. There was no Arsenal player following in at the back post.”
Martinelli was one of the busiest Gunners front-line players, registering over 50 touches during the match.
The 21-year-old also weighed in with four shots and three key passes, as per Whoscored.
The Evening Standard gave Martinelli a 6 out of 10 rating for his efforts against Newcastle.
‘Got one on one with Kieran Trippier a few times,’ they wrote. ‘But the England right-back dealt with him really well.
‘So nearly scored when he flicked a header just wide from a corner.’
Late on in the match, Arsenal thought they were going to be given a penalty when Granit Xhaka’s pass from the byline appeared to hit a Newcastle defender’s arm.
However, the officials opted not to review the incident, leaving Arteta fuming as Newcastle held on for a point.
Despite the controversial late decision and a decent enough performance from Arsenal’s front-line players, the Gunners certainly seemed to miss Gabriel Jesus.
‘Going to need that little bit more’
Speaking after the game, Neville felt that Arsenal didn’t have the options to change the flow of the game.
“In the end, Arsenal just didn’t really have the answers,” he said (3/1/23, 21:45).
“They couldn’t break them down, and they didn’t have the options to change the flow of the game.
“It became a frustrating, scrappy game. The Newcastle fans can be proud.
“I don’t think Arsenal played badly tonight but it’s a sign of where they’re at.
“If they get into these tight games at the top of the league, they’re just going to need that little bit more.”
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