In this article, we will take a look at some of the key takeaways as Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal made it three in a row in the Premier League after a 4-1 win against the walking-wounded of Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United at Elland Road.
Martinelli stars again for Arsenal
No Aubameyang? No Problem. Arsenal has another young gun firmly cementing his importance to the first team under Mikel Arteta in Brazilian starlet Gabriel Martinelli, as the wide forward once again put his name in lights with another stellar performance.
Gabriel Martinelli was an unused sub in seven of Arsenal’s first 12 league games.
He’s started five of their last six and has four goals and two assists in the process 🔑 pic.twitter.com/75VyxjARkW
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 18, 2021
The Brazilian youth international bagged his first Premier League brace for Arsenal as he continues to take his chances in the first team, with four goals and two assists in his last six appearances for the Gunners in the league.
His form on the left side of the front four has helped Arsenal improve in the absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, offering a serious goal threat from out wide of late in conjunction with the collective efforts of Alexandre Lacazette, Martin Ødegaard, Bukayo Saka, and Emile Smith Rowe. Martinelli and co. are showing week in week out that the club should be ready to move on from their Gabonese striker.
Mikel Arteta proves developmental track record with Arsenal youngsters
“Mikel Arteta is working many, many days after training sessions for the last action, for the control in the last moment. For his improvement, [Sterling] wants to stay there and shoot and improve with the goalkeepers.
He knows the striker has to score goals if you want to achieve the next step. You will not survive in the high-level teams as a striker or a winger if you don’t score goals. All the strikers and wingers have seven goals or more, it’s not just Gabriel [Jesus]and Sergio [Aguero]. That is so important for us.” – Pep Guardiola
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola’s former comments about Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and his credible work in bringing goals out of Raheem Sterling at the Etihad are proving to be a Nostradamus moment if there ever was one. Arteta’s young guns in Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, and Gabriel Martinelli have all come on strong in 2021-22 not just in terms of goals, but in their increased tactical understanding and technical proficiency.
With both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette struggling in front of goal, the young attackers have taken up the goalscoring mantel well this season. Smith Rowe tops the club’s charts with seven goals and scored off the bench today, while Martinelli (4), Ødegaard (4), and Saka (3) constitute four of Arsenal’s top-five goalscorers in the Premier League this season. Mikel Arteta’s impact is unquestionably clear.
Leeds’ lack of depth compounding frustrating season
There is no club more unlucky than Leeds United when it comes to injuries in 2021-22. Marcelo Bielsa’s squad has truly been under siege when it comes to fitness concerns which were compounded today against Arsenal when once again many key assets failed to pass fit for service to feature at Elland Road.
📋 Robin Koch returns, a first Premier League start for Cody Drameh, whilst Joe Gelhardt starts up front pic.twitter.com/fBLcMTZfPR
— Leeds United (@LUFC) December 18, 2021
Kalvin Phillips, Patrick Bamford, Junior Firpo, Rodrigo, and Pascal Struijk were all unavailable and among a cadre of players that could not be called upon by the iconic Argentine manager.
Poor luck indeed for Leeds, but it was still a situation that was somewhat avoidable if the club persisted in the summer window to address a lack of depth that showed warning signs last season. Leeds only possesses four midfielders in the first-team setup and no answer for when Phillips is unavailable, no legitimate backup for Firpo, and just three reliable wingers to call upon in wide areas.
The unfortunate reality is that Leeds could well struggle all season long, but they did not have to.
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Premier League table
|5||West Ham United||17||7||28|
|13||Brighton & Hove Albion||16||-3||20|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||15|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City||9|
|Jota, Diogo||Liverpool FC||9|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||7|
|Mount, Mason||Chelsea FC||7|
|Ronaldo, Cristiano||Manchester United||7|
|Smith-Rowe, Emile||Arsenal FC||7|
|Mane, Sadio||Liverpool FC||7|
|Silva, Bernardo||Manchester City||7|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||6|
|Gallagher, Conor||Crystal Palace||6|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur||6|
|Wilson, Callum||Newcastle United||6|
|Maupay, Neal||Brighton & Hove Albion||6|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||5|
|King, Joshua||Watford FC||5|
|Gray, Demarai||Everton FC||5|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal Palace||5|
|Watkins, Ollie||Aston Villa||5|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||0||6|
|Neves, Ruben||Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||6|
|Laporte, Aymeric||Manchester City||1||5|
|Salisu, Mohammed||Southampton FC||0||6|
|James, Reece||Chelsea FC||1||4|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||1||4|
|Canos, Sergi||Brentford FC||0||5|
|Ritchie, Matt||Newcastle United||0||5|
|Westwood, Ashley||Burnley FC||0||5|
|Cancelo, Joao||Manchester City||0||5|
|Tarkowski, James||Burnley FC||0||5|
|Duffy, Shane||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||5|
|Lascelles, Jamaal||Newcastle United||0||5|
|Bissouma, Yves||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||5|
|Firpo, Junior||Leeds United||0||5|
|Ward, Joel||Crystal Palace||0||5|
|Romeu, Oriol||Southampton FC||0||5|
|Skipp, Oliver||Tottenham Hotspur||0||5|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||0||3|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||8|
|Alexander-Arnold, Trent||Liverpool FC||7|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||7|
|Jesus, Gabriel||Manchester City||6|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||5|
|James, Reece||Chelsea FC||5|
|Kovacic, Mateo||Chelsea FC||5|
|Mount, Mason||Chelsea FC||4|
|Bowen, Jarrod||West Ham United||4|
|Saka, Bukayo||Arsenal FC||4|
|Doucoure, Abdoulaye||Everton FC||4|
|Redmond, Nathan||Southampton FC||4|
|Robertson, Andy||Liverpool FC||4|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||3|
|Gallagher, Conor||Crystal Palace||3|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||3|
|Maddison, James||Leicester City||3|
|Foden, Phil||Manchester City||3|
|Gundogan, Ilkay||Manchester City||3|
|Saint-Maximin, Allan||Newcastle United||3|