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Analysing Gabriel Martinelli's strongest attribute that will take him right to the top

Arsenal’s young Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli has been through A LOT in the past year and that’s putting it mildly.During the pandemic stoppage, Martinelli was hard at work preparing for the restart with multiple videos and social media posts regarding his physical readiness and preparation.However, following the pandemic stoppage, he injured his knee on a freak contact play in training which required surgery to repair the damage and kept him out for Project Restart and into December of 2020. In the meantime, he missed out on crucial development time under manager Mikel Arteta during a crucial window in which the team began to evolve more into the vision the manager had for the team (specifically a 4-2-3-1 rather than the 3-4-3 they had played out of necessity) and building that critical chemistry and trust with teammatesUpon his return and playing well in December - showing his always effervescent personality and high energy levels, although at times a little too narrow focused on the pitch - he sprained his ankle in training with manager Mikel Arteta mentioning in the post-game that perhaps he had been brought Martinelli in too quickly and needed to be handled more carefully.He was only used sparingly after that point but did see a gradual uptick in his usage as the season progressed into the latter months. Regardless of those games, there were multiple accounts of how his head never dropped in training and he continued to ready himself as if he would be starting for the next match.For an under-21 player who had just been through multiple challenges and obstacles that would knock even the most seasoned pro off their confidence to continue to show that level of resolve, commitment, and professionalism is simply astounding.The player was rewarded for his professionalism and quality with a call-up for Brazil’s Olympics teams. Although he didn’t play much there, he did step-up and score a critical penalty during the semi-finals and earned himself and his country a Gold medal.With that as a stepping stone, he came into the season continuing to want more but his opportunities have been limited thus far. However, after coming on for the injured Bukayo Saka in the 65th minute in a 1-0 match, he made an instant impact:Darting across the face of Newcastles defense as the ball was played wide to Takehiro Tomiyasu and then adeptly pivoting and timing a superb run into the box. Tomiyasu delivered a one-touch cross that Gabriel impeccably tracked over his shoulder, kept his composure, tracked with laser focus, and delivered a volley with superb technique to give the Gunners a 2-0 lead and put the final nail in the coffin.Advert InsertedThe instant impact and activity again immediately speaks to Martinelli’s mentality - he does not allow his minutes or usage to impact his readiness. That very thing was echoed by manager Mikel Arteta in the post-match, perhaps his strongest public comments about Martinelli thus far (and there have been numerous):‘It is a big moment and I’m especially happy for him because how he behaves. ‘Some players are respectful when you make some decisions and some players are very respectful like he is – patient, but at the same time really pushy and challenging. It makes every decision that you make even harder because he deserves more.”That impact and resolve was rewarded with a start at left wing as Arsenal traveled to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United. Although the team struggled due to self-inflicted mistakes - dropping off the high block, numerous mistakes in high risk areas - Martinelli was clearly the standout of the match (along with Tomiyasu, again).His energy level never wavered, constantly up on the press and running into channels and battling for 50/50 balls. He showcased his impeccable technique yet again with a perfectly placed one-touch centering ball to Martin Ødegaard for the game-tying goal and then as Arsenal fell behind once again, there came a 5 minute spell that may be the best of Martinelli’s career.With the team trailing and lacking energy to find that game-tying goal, he took it upon himself to drive the engine. A self-starter by nature, he imbued that into the team - forcing himself into aerial 50/50’s, coming across zones to pick up the ball, beating two defenders with a great outside of the foot dribble to create a crossing channel, making a driving 40m run to setup Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang on the edge of the box for a shot that more confident version hits far post with conviction enough to beat Manchester United keeper David De Gea or have it potentially spill into the feet of Martinelli who had continued his run.That spirit and fight embodies who Martinelli is - relentless, constantly driving, constantly wanting more, constantly improving. Make no mistake, he will be a key member of this up and coming Arsenal team and he provides a level of resilience and competitiveness that you cannot teach.A mentality of “I might not win but I’m going to die trying”. A mentality that will serve him and Arsenal well.Fin. COYG.Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT, (@3cbperformance) is a physiotherapist, movement expert, fitness trainer, sports scientist and mindfulness coach. He runs the LA and online based physiotherapy and athletic performance clinic 3CB Performance, is an avid Gooner since 1995, and you can subscribe to his Youtube channel (which posts a variety of Gunners’ related content).