Arsenal have been left sweating over the fitness of starlet Gabriel Martinelli, after the forward went down with an ankle injury in the warm-up for the Gunners’ FA Cup third round clash with Newcastle United.
The 19-year-old was originally named in the starting lineup for Mikel Arteta’s side to face the Magpies, with the Brazilian set to return to action having sat on the bench in the recent victory over West Bromwich Albion.
However, Martinelli’s name was erased from the Arsenal team sheet and replaced by that of Reiss Nelson, after he was forced to receive treatment for an injury he suffered during the warm-up.
He was in the middle of a ‘Rondo’ training drill, chasing the ball, when he lost his balance and rolled over on his ankle. Martinelli went to ground immediately, signalling for help and looking in severe discomfort.
This will come as a huge blow for both the player and supporters, immediately putting a dampener on the occasion.
The Gunners have enjoyed an impressive upturn in form over the past few games, largely down to Arteta’s willingness to place trust in his crop of exciting young starlets. Martinelli is one of a handful of players to have come into the fold and thrived over the winter period, after he starred in both victories over Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion.
Saturday’s FA Cup third round tie against Newcastle would have provided a perfect opportunity for the forward to really stake his claim for a regular starting place in Arsenal’s front line, which has spluttered and misfired on plenty of occasions this season.
Martinelli is highly rated by supporters, and news of his injury will cause great concern throughout the fanbase, given his fitness issues at the start of the season. He did not feature in Arsenal’s squad until the middle of December, missing a large portion of the campaign with a knee injury he suffered during a training session in June.