Mikel Arteta clings to lone spark Gabriel Martinelli while Alex Runarsson was beaten by soft goals

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Mikel Arteta’s decision to start Gabriel Martinelli was inspired, until his unfortunate injury


CHRIS SUTTON: Mikel Arteta clings to lone spark Gabriel Martinelli as Alex Runarsson was beaten by soft goals and Alexandre Lacazette appeared uninterested despite being named captain

Mikel Arteta’s decision to start Gabriel Martinelli looked an inspired one — up until the 19-year-old’s unfortunate injury. 

But his call to use 25-year-old goalkeeper Alex Runarsson in such a big match was distinctly uninspiring and a risk he should not have taken.

Arteta is clinging to his job and didn’t help himself. This is a competition which he could have used to strengthen his position. 

Mikel Arteta’s decision to start Gabriel Martinelli was inspired, until his unfortunate injury

The starlet was forced off during Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup quarter-final against City

The starlet was forced off during Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup quarter-final against City

Instead, Runarsson was beaten by soft goals, Arsenal are out and Arteta remains in trouble. Alexandre Lacazette is fortunate he had Martinelli on his left-hand side in the first half.

I like Lacazette, but he was looking uninterested despite being named captain. Martinelli, recently back from nine months out with a knee injury, was anything but uninterested. 

He introduced energy into an Arsenal side seriously lacking in confidence and produced a superb cross for Lacazette to make it 1-1.

Arteta's decision to use goalkeeper Alex Runarsson (above) was a risk he should not have taken

Arteta’s decision to use goalkeeper Alex Runarsson (above) was a risk he should not have taken

While, Alexandre Lacazette (left) looked uninterested despite being named captain

While, Alexandre Lacazette (left) looked uninterested despite being named captain

No amount of training after a long-term injury can prepare you for the intensity of a competitive match — especially against a City side who can make you feel as if you’re chasing shadows.

Martinelli tried to run off the collision with City’s goalkeeper but had to be removed. Arsenal cannot take chances with this young man. They need him fit.

Martinelli plays with heart. You might say that is the least you expect from a professional, but you could question the effort of some Arsenal players of late. Not of Martinelli.

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