Talking Point: Is Martinelli the answer to Arsenal's November woes?

By Patric Ridge 20 November 2019 13
Talking Point: Is Martinelli the answer to Arsenal's November woes?

Unai Emery is under increasing pressure at Arsenal, with the Gunners sitting sixth in the Premier League with just four wins to their name after 12 games.

A 2-0 defeat to high-flying Leicester City left Arsenal eight points adrift of the Champions League places, while they have a negative goal difference at this stage of a top-flight campaign for the first time since 1982-83.

The contrast between Brendan Rodgers' side and Arsenal was clear to see at the King Power Stadium, but struggling at this time of the year is nothing new for the Gunners.

Indeed, that loss meant they have now lost 34 Premier League games in November, which is more than in any other month across their time playing in the competition.

With Arsenal's defence looking leakier by the match, the onus is on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette to keep firing at the other end of the pitch.

However, there may be light at the end of the tunnel for Arsenal, who face struggling Southampton on Saturday, in the form of young forward Gabriel Martinelli.


If there is one major positive to come from Arsenal's season so far, it would be Emery's willingness to blood the Gunners' youngsters, and one player in particular has stood out.

Before breaking their transfer record to sign Nicolas Pepe or drafting in David Luiz in an attempt to patch up their defence, Arsenal brought in teenager Martinelli from Brazilian side Ituano.

Martinelli has wasted little time in showing Arsenal's fans what he has in his locker, scoring twice on his full debut in a 5-0 EFL Cup win over Nottingham Forest on September 24.

Nine days later, Martinelli followed up his double against Forest with another brace, this time in his first Europa League outing, a 4-0 home triumph over Standard Liege.

A further double against Liverpool in October's frantic cup clash at Anfield came on the back of a fine header against Vitoria Guimaraes, giving the 18-year-old seven goals from nine appearances in all competitions.

Martinelli's best work has come at Emirates Stadium, where he has the best shot conversion rate of Arsenal's attackers this season (29.41 per cent), averaging a goal every 65 minutes at home. Aubameyang has scored every 138 minutes in such matches.

But Martinelli is still waiting on his first Premier League start. It might now be his time.

Martinelli - cropped


Arsenal's record in November really is a sight to behold.

The Gunners have not only lost more games in this month than any other, but they also have their lowest win rate of 44 per cent.

They manage, on average, 1.6 points per game and 1.5 goals per game - lower than in any other month - while conceding 1.2 goals per game, a high.

To compound their frustrations heading into Saturday's clash, Emery's side are winless in their last four Premier League games. It is their longest such run since May to August in 2011, when they went six games without a triumph.

Their worst such run in a single season came in a five-match sequence of draws back in 2009.

Emery - cropped


November may be Arsenal's least favourite month but, in the form of Ralph Hasenhuttl's struggling side, they could just be about to go up against the perfect opponent.

Southampton sit 19th, without a win in their past seven league matches, while the Gunners are unbeaten in their past 24 home league games against the Saints. It is a run that stretches back to November 1987.

No side has scored fewer first-half goals in the Premier League this season than Southampton, while only Norwich City have conceded more times in the opening 45 minutes of games than the Saints.

However, Danny Ings could be the danger man for Southampton, having scored in five different league games so far this term, including in the 2-1 defeat to Everton last time out.

The good omens end there, though, considering Ings is yet to score in a Southampton win this season.

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Patric Ridge