The injury to Alexandre Lacazette couldn’t have come at a better time really.
A layoff for our first choice Number nine and one of our most influential players is always a huge disappointment, but it has coincided with a red hot streak of form from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Sixteen goals in his last 16 games has lessened the impact that a Lacazette absence would normally bring. The Gabon striker has been at his very best and has been scoring in the more high profile games as well as all the rest.
It hasn’t papered over the fact that we are simply one injury away from an all-out striker crisis though.
Sending Eddie Nketiah on loan to Leeds left a few of us worried about our season prospects as in terms of striking options, we are a little thin on the ground.
Unai Emery knew better however – as he was aware that Gabriel Martinelli could plug the gap.
The teenage Brazilian featured heavily in our pre-season games and scored a decent amount, but he looked to be a prospect for the future, rather than a present-time asset.
So his virtuoso display was a welcome surprise.
The £6m buy from Ituano scored two and the goals showed two very different sides to the youngster. His first was a bullet header that tested his physical ability as he was closely marked, and his aerial ability. His second saw him swerve past a defender before unleashing a curling effort into the far top corner. Close control and a wicked shot showed he has the skills necessary to push on from here. His upbringing playing the highly technical Futsal was evident in spades.
Martinelli has spoken of his time at Arsenal and mentioned that Aubameyang and David Luiz have been helpful with the language barrier, and his humble comments highlight what a work ethic Martinelli has, and how hard he will continue to push to get where he wants to go.
We probably won’t see much of Martinelli in the League – if we do it means that injuries have bitten – but his opportunities in the cups and the Europa League mean we could be blooding the next big superstar at Arsenal.
It is early days but after his performance against Nottm Forest, Emery will no doubt use him more – and we can’t wait to see what he can do.